Steve Shively (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) and Oscar Lomeli (Jalisco, Mexico/ [Bethel (Ind.)]) both tallied goals for Valparaiso Saturday evening in Cleveland, Ohio, but it was not enough for the victory, as Cleveland State defeated the Crusaders, 3-2.
“We played very well for long stretches of the night, but the fact of close and competitive games is that you can not gift another team goals,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “We gave away two goals and put ourselves in a hole. Cleveland State is a good side and to their credit, they took advantage of their chances.”
The Vikings went on top in the 28th minute, as Nenad Stojkovic took a feed through the middle from Marco DiFranco and converted from just inside the 18-yard box to give Cleveland State a 1-0 lead. Valpo answered with just two minutes remaining in the first half when Brett Bermes (Portage, Ind./Portage) found Shively up the sideline. Shively dribbled into the box and beat Viking netminder Nick Harpel for his third goal of the year.
But the tie was short-lived, as just 19 seconds after Shively’s marker, CSU’s Josh Williams found a loose ball in the box. Williams let fly a shot from 15 yards that found its way past Valpo goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West) to give the Vikings a 2-1 advantage to take into the half.
Shively had a great opportunity for his second goal of the match less than two minutes into the second half, as his shot hit the post to keep it a 2-1 game. Cleveland State then added to its lead in the 54th minute when the Crusaders committed a foul in the box to give the Vikings a penalty kick. Mitch Boyer stepped up and converted the spot kick to extend CSU’s lead to 3-1.
Valpo took advantage of a corner kick late in the game, as in the 82nd minute, Vasilios Kyriakopoulos (Darien, Ill./Shattuck-St. Mary’s [Minn.]) put the ball in the box where Andrew Stewart (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson) one-touched it over to Lomeli. The senior captain found the back of the net for his team-leading fifth marker of the year to cut the deficit down to 3-2. Valpo would get two more shot opportunities late, but one was blocked by a CSU defender and one was wide of the frame.
“We certainly feel a sense of frustration because our improvement is obvious to anyone who sees us play, yet we have not managed to get the results yet to fall our way,” said Avery. “I like our team a lot, though, and I still believe that good things are coming for this group this season.”
Valpo held a 15-10 shot advantage on the Vikings, but Cleveland State (5-6-2, 3-2-0 Horizon) put seven shots on frame to the Crusaders’ six. Harpel and Zobeck stopped four shots apiece for their respective sides.
Valparaiso (4-7-2, 0-4-1 Horizon) steps out of league play for its next match, as the Crusaders will face IPFW on Sunday, October 19 at 2:30 p.m. at Eastgate Field. The contest can be heard live on WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso and online at www.valpoathletics.com, which will also have a link for live stats.