The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team led for much of the match but saw a quality effort come up shy in a season-closing 2-1 overtime defeat to Drake on a frigid Wednesday afternoon at Loyola Soccer Park. The Bulldogs tied the match in the 87th minute on a shot that came from nearly the midfield stripe, then won it on a golden goal in the second overtime. Valpo’s goal was a beauty from Mason Marcey (Charlotte, N.C. / Charlotte Christian [Radford]) in the first half.
How It Happened
- The first shot on goal of the match came in the sixth minute as Demar Rose (Kingston, Jamaica / Wolmer’s Boys School) tested Drake keeper Luke Anderson, who came up with the save.
- Valpo broke through in the 17th minute, as Marcey tucked an impressive goal inside the right post to put the Brown & Gold ahead 1-0. A one-touch pass from Michael Cushing (Orange, Calif. / Villa Park) on a feed from Rose set up the goal. Both were credited with assists.
- A strong defensive effort by the Valpo backline limited Drake to three shots in the opening half, none on goal. Two of Valpo’s three first-half shots were on frame and one found the back of the net, accounting for the difference in the match through 45 minutes.
- Valpo (4-15-1) fended off Drake (8-8-1) possession in the early stages of the first half, clinging to the 1-0 lead. The Brown & Gold had opportunities to decrease the drama over the final 10 minutes, but shots by Chris Villalobos (Richardson, Texas / J.J. Pearce) and Dylan Waugaman (Houston, Texas / Friendswood [Oregon State]) were saved by Anderson.
- With time winding down, Valpo appeared to be on its way to an MVC semifinal date with Missouri State after a sound team effort throughout the match. However, Lucas Bartlett scored an improbable goal in the 87th minute to tie the match at one. The shot was booted from nearly 50 yards, just inside the midfield stripe.
- Edvin Holst (Stockholm, Sweden / Viktor Rydberg Gymnasium Jaraplan) did great work in the first overtime period, fending off a trio of Drake shots on goal. That kept the match deadlocked at one through 100 minutes of play.
- The golden goal came in the 103rd minute, as Leroy Enzugusi took advantage of an opening in the lower-left corner of the net and scored the golden goal, sending the Bulldogs into the semifinal round.
Inside the Game
- Marcey’s goal was his fifth of the season, representing a team-high. This marked his sixth career goal. He is one of eight players in the Missouri Valley Conference with five or more goals this season.
- Rose and Cushing each notched their first assist of the season.
- Holst made several commendable stops and was credited with three saves to finish his season with 68 saves, a total that leads the conference.
- This marked Valpo’s fourth overtime defeat of the season, tight matches that altered the season’s complexion.
- The two teams’ shots on frame were on par with one another throughout the match, with Drake owning a slight 5-4 edge in that area.
- This marked the final collegiate fixture for six Valpo seniors – Rose, Villalobos, Waugaman, Adan Garcia (Dallas, Texas / Episcopal School of Dallas), Julien Bertho (Plumelec, France / Richland CC) and Jorn-Jan van de Beld (Balkbrug, The Netherlands).
- Garcia appeared in 70 of the team’s 72 matches over his four-year career and ended the tenure with 11 goals and 11 assists. His career assist total ranks 10th in program history. Rose, a captain, saw the pitch in 66 Valpo matches and has been a mainstay with the program since the 2015 campaign.
Thoughts From Head Coach Mike Avery
“This was a hard end to what has been a challenging season, and an ending that somehow doesn’t feel deserved because I thought we played very well today. You’ve got to give credit to Drake though; it looked like the game was pretty well settled in regulation, yet they kept putting balls in dangerous areas and finally broke through. I do think that last gap goal broke our collective heart a bit and we never quite recovered.”
“I knew that this would be an uphill climb this year. We lost 15 players off last year’s team and five of those guys played professionally this season. We played a young and inexperienced group all year long, and while the process can be trying at times, the lessons learned on the way have been invaluable. Already you can see how far the team has come from August until now. We played probably our best game all year today, and had some incredible performances from guys set to return next year.”
“We also had a handful of seniors play their final game today and they were incredible. Demar Rose, Adan Garcia, Dylan Waugaman, and Chris Villalobos led the team today with class and distinction - exactly the way they have their entire Valpo careers.”
“The bad news is this season ends now, but the good news is that the future of the team is very, very bright.”