Soccer Victorious in Home Opener

Soccer Victorious in Home Opener

It was a simple formula for a Valpo soccer victory in the Beacons’ home opener Sunday — a goal in the 74th minute from senior Kiley Dugan (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) plus another clean sheet from the Valpo defense equaled a 1-0 win over Youngstown State at Brown Field.

How It Happened

-        Valpo nearly had a dream start to the match, getting an open look in the box inside the first minute from freshman Molly O’Rear (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central), but the rookie was unable to hit the target.

-        That proved to be a harbinger of how the first half played out, as the Beacons controlled play and kept the pressure on. Valpo earned nine first-half corner kicks, seven of which came in the first 20 minutes, and had seven first-half shots, but was unable to find the back of the net.

-        Meanwhile, on the other end, Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) dealt well with YSU’s lone shot on goal in the first half — a close effort in the 34th minute from Chloe Weiland — to keep the Penguins off the scoreboard.

-        The second half was more of the same, as Valpo had the better of possession and out-shot YSU over the final 45 minutes, 10-5.

-        The breakthrough finally came in the 74th minute. The Beacons won the ball in the midfield and got it to Kelsie James (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) 45 yards out from goal. James turned and hit a pass out left to a sprinting Dugan, who took it at the top of the 18-yard box. Dugan continued her run until the edge of the six-yard box, where she cut the ball onto her left foot and slotted a sharp-angle effort past the YSU keeper inside the far post.

-        From there, Valpo was able to see the game out successfully, giving up no shot attempts over the final 10 minutes of the victory.

Inside the Match

-        Valpo is unbeaten through two matches for the fourth time in the last six seasons.

-        This marks the third time in program history Valpo has opened the season with back-to-back clean sheets, joining the 2012 and the 2017 squads.

-        Coryell made two saves on Sunday in the shutout effort, the 14th clean sheet of her career — tying her with Sydney Galvez-Daley for fourth-most in program history.

-        Dugan’s goal was the third of her career, her first since March 19, 2021 and her first career match-winner.

-        James now owns seven career assists, five of which have come on match-winning goals.

-        Sophomore Sam Gountounas (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) made her first career start on Sunday, while Andrea Garcia (Aurora, Ont./Cardinal Carter Catholic [Hartford/FDU]) and Sarah Epstein (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) made their respective Valpo debuts.

-        After going just three-deep into the bench on Thursday, the Beacons used 18 players on Sunday. Defenders Nicole Norfolk (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels) and Abby White (Commerce Township, Mich./Walled Lake Central) were the only Valpo field players to play the full 90 minutes.

-        Dugan and Norfolk extended their starting streaks to 52 consecutive matches apiece.

-        Valpo out-shot YSU 17-9, put six shots on goal to the Penguins’ two and held a 12-3 advantage in corner kicks.