The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team put together its best defensive outing of the season in Saturday’s regular-season road finale, topping Evansville 1-0 in Missouri Valley Conference play. A Ryan Madondo (Franklin, Tenn. / Franklin Road Academy [East Tennessee State]) goal was the difference as goalkeeper Jorn-Jan van de Beld (Balkbrug, The Netherlands / University of Twente) led Valpo to its first clean sheet of 2019.
How It Happened
- After Valpo’s first shot on goal of the match came courtesy of Jonas Engler (Illingen, Germany / Georg Kerschensteiner Scule) in the 22nd minute, the team created a great chance in the 25th minute. A save by an Evansville field player deflected the Madondo effort away, keeping the match scoreless.
- Vukasin Bulatovic (Elmwood Park, Ill. / Elmwood Park) got a quality chance in the box in the 39th minute after collecting a loose ball, but Frederik Reimer made a sharp save. That started a flurry of Valpo opportunities. Bulatovic had a shot blocked off a corner, then Engler had another one on goal in the 40th minute that was stopped.
- The two teams went into the halftime break nil-nil. Valpo outshot Evansville 8-5 and placed four of those shots on goal to two by the Purple Aces (2-13-1, 0-9-0 MVC).
- Valpo had another string of chances early in the second half, producing three corners in a three-minute window. Those led to a blocked shot, one just wide and a header shot that squirted off the mark.
- Madondo got past the backline of Evansville after a long kick downfield on a through ball and sneaked it by the keeper for the first goal of the match, which came in the 81st minute. Madondo had just returned to the pitch four minutes prior, and his fresh legs proved pivotal.
Inside the Game
- Madondo scored his fourth goal of the season, boosting his point total to nine in the process. He became the second Valpo player to hit the four-goal mark in 2019, joining Mason Marcey.
- Madondo has scored goals in consecutive games, also drawing net in Wednesday’s 3-2 defeat against Missouri State. He tallied his first game-winning goal in a Valpo kit on Sunday.
- Van de Beld made just his fourth appearance of the season at the goalkeeper spot and became the first Valpo keeper to earn a shutout this year. The Brown & Gold last held the opponent off the scoreboard on Nov. 3, 2018 – exactly a year ago on Sunday – topping Drake 1-0 at Brown Field. The senior faced eight shots and made three saves.
- The triumph allowed Valpo to sweep the regular-season series with Evansville. Valpo has grabbed a 4-3-2 edge in the all-time set after winning a road game with the Purple Aces for the first time ever. The Brown & Gold were previously 0-3-1 when visiting their instate foes from down south.
- Sunday’s victory was a well-earned result as the visitors created chances throughout the fixture, outshooting the Purple Aces 18-8 and owning a 6-3 edge in shots on goal and 6-2 in corner kicks. Valpo held the upper hand in the second-half shot count 10-3. Engler was credited with a game-high six shots.
- Valpo has played well over its last four games, producing two wins and a pair of one-goal losses, including an overtime defeat to the No. 9 team in the nation.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
“Winning in the MVC is never easy, especially away from home, so I’m very happy for the guys. We put in a pretty solid performance from start to finish, and at the end of the day were rewarded for the effort.”
“With any team, new things take time to bake in. Youth, inexperience, new coaches, whatever it is - all these factors need time and experience to settle. This team has had many good moments and has also received lots of lessons throughout the season. We’re young and have lots of new players and the highs and lows come with the territory. But over the last few weeks you can really see some consistency emerging. We are playing better and for longer stretches. The goal has always been to be playing our best in November, and that looks to be happening.”
“We are excited to honor our seniors next week in the finale against Loyola and hopefully build some momentum heading into the MVC Tournament.”
Valpo (4-11-1, 3-7-0 MVC) will host Loyola on ESPN+ on Saturday night at Brown Field to close out the regular season. Valpo will play its final home match of the season and its final tune-up prior to the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Saturday evening against the Ramblers.