An entertaining 110 minutes of soccer at Brown Field Sunday afternoon resulted in a tie, as Valpo battled with former Horizon League foe Wright State to a 2-2 draw in non-conference action. A pair of Valpo freshmen scored their first career goals in the fixture.
How It Happened
- Valpo opened the scoring in the 33rd minute. Freshman Natalie Graf (Williamsburg, Mich./St. Francis) took a corner kick from the right side and lofted a perfect ball into the box. Fellow rookie Nicole Norfolk (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels) found herself unmarked on the play at the edge of the six-yard box and easily nodded the ball home to give Valpo a 1-0 lead.
- Wright State responded less than seven minutes later. Josie Krupp won a 50-50 challenge in the attacking third, took a couple touches, and beat Valpo goalkeeper Kezia Gesell (Winnipeg, Man./Glenlawn Collegiate Institute) inside the right post.
- The match remained even at 1-1 into halftime and for over a quarter of an hour on the other side of intermission, until freshman Kiley Dugan (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) single-handedly regained the lead for Valpo. Dugan took a pass on the left sideline about 50 yards from the goal line, carried it in 20 yards, cut inside to get an angle for her effort, and hit a bending shot from 30 yards out that drilled the back of the net for a golazo to give Valpo a 2-1 lead.
- Valpo carried that advantage into the final minutes of regulation, but Wright State would equalize just six minutes from time. Krupp went on a long run up the middle of the field and sent a lead pass between the Valpo backs for Destiny Johnson, who found the back of the net from 15 yards out with a first-touch shot to make it 2-2.
- Valpo had one final effort on goal in regulation, but WSU goalkeeper Maddie Jewell made the stop in the 87th minute to force extra time. Valpo dominated the first extra session with five shots, but was kept off the board, and WSU’s best golden goal chance came early in the second overtime, as the Raiders sent a free kick from straight on off of the crossbar in the 102nd minute.
Inside the Match
- The draw was the fourth straight tie between the two sides when playing in Valparaiso, dating back to 2011.
- Valpo’s goals were their first as a team this season. Norfolk and Dugan each scored for the first time in a Valpo uniform, while Graf’s assist was her first point as well.
- Redshirt freshman Alexis Gaffney (Broomfield, Colo./Legacy) made her Valpo debut off the bench, going 75 minutes.
- Redshirt sophomore Kiera Pratt (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield Central) and freshman Cierra Welch (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) both earned their first career start on Sunday afternoon. With the insertion of the duo into the starting XI, eight of Valpo’s 10 starters in the field were underclassmen.
- Gesell saw her first action of the year in goal after missing the first three games due to injury. She stopped one shot, while Valpo forced Jewell to stop seven shots for WSU.
- Valpo out-shot Wright State 17-12 and put nine shots on frame to the Raiders’ three. Valpo also earned four of the six corner kicks in the match.
- Sunday’s tie came against a previously perfect Wright State squad, as the Raiders entered the match 3-0-0 on the year. In fact, when Norfolk scored in the first half, it marked the first time the Raiders had trailed this year.
- The draw was Valpo’s first result of the season, but still leaves the Brown and Gold winless in their first four. The only other time under head coach John Marovich that Valpo failed to win one of its first four matches, the 2014 squad proceeded to reel off wins in 14 of the next 15 matches and capture Horizon League regular season and tournament titles.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“Our group has battled all year, and today is the day they took a step towards understanding the culture and tradition of our program with the level of their fight. I think we’re learning how our team is going to be successful. It was thoroughly enjoyable to coach this group today.”
“We still have some areas to grow in and develop to make sure we come out of games like today with the full result. But we scored two goals, one of them on a great set piece, and got two freshmen their first career goals.”
“I think the spirit and grit of our group really showed through today. We have to now continue to build off of this as we did the last three games, as we continue to approach MVC play.”
Valpo (0-3-1) will play its next three matches away from home, starting with a swing through western New York next weekend. The two-match trip opens at St. Bonaventure Friday night at 6 p.m. CT.