Junior Cory Griffith (Lemont, Ill./Providence Catholic) netted the sixth hat trick in the history of the Valparaiso University women’s soccer program on Sunday afternoon as the Crusaders scored four unanswered second-half goals to earn a 4-1 road victory over Fort Wayne.
Fort Wayne led for just 70 seconds, as sophomore Adi Johnson (Rockford, Ill./Rockford Christian) found the back of the net in the 50th minute to level the match at 1-1. Less than three minutes later, Griffith tallied the first of her three goals to put the Crusaders ahead for good.
How It Happened
- The teams played through a scoreless opening 45 minutes, despite Valpo out-shooting Fort Wayne 7-3, but once the second half kicked off, the offenses kicked into gear.
- The Mastodons got on the board in the 49th minute on a goal from Hannah Kroger, but the Crusaders would not trail for long, as senior Grace Rogers (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury) set up Johnson for the equalizer in the 50th minute.
- Valpo claimed the lead in the 53rd minute on Griffith’s first goal, a header off a feed from junior Natalia Kontul (Solon, Ohio/Solon).
- The Crusaders maintained the one-goal advantage for much of the second half, until Griffith scored two more in a six-minute span late in the half to complete the scoring. The junior beat Fort Wayne goalkeeper Haley Lydon in the 77th minute, set up by sophomore Maria Broecker (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester).
- Griffith completed her hat trick in the 82nd minute, chipping a shot past Lydon to close the scoring. Rogers picked up her second assist of the game on the goal.
Inside the Match
- Griffith set a new career high with the hat trick, as she had previously scored a pair of goals on three occasions.
- Griffith’s hat trick was the sixth in program history. April Cronin was the last Crusader to record a three-goal game, doing so early last season at Loyola. Prior to last year, no Valpo player had registered a hat trick since 2005.
- Griffith’s first goal was the eventual match-winner, giving her seven career match-winning goals – tied for fourth-most in program history. The junior also moved into Valpo’s all-time top-10 in goals scored, as she now owns 14 career goals, good for a tie for ninth position.
- With her two assists on Sunday, Rogers also moved up among Valpo’s all-time best in career assists. The senior has totaled 11 career helpers, tied for third in program history and just two shy of the program record of 13 held by Lindsay Holley.
- Johnson scored her second career goal to get Valpo on the board Sunday. The sophomore’s only previous goal came over a year ago against Kansas on Sept. 4, 2016.
- Kontul registered her third assist of the season, while Broecker’s assist was the first of her career.
- The four goals was the highest output by the Crusader offense since a 6-0 win at Youngstown State on Sept. 26, 2015.
- Freshman Kezia Gesell (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Glenlawn Collegiate Institute) earned her second victory of the year, making three saves in the winning effort.
- Valpo earned its first victory away from Brown Field this year, as it had entered the game 0-3-0 away from home.
Thoughts From Head Coach John Marovich
"Overall, I was very happy with the performance of our team today, especially in regards to the way we responded to Friday night's game. I felt our movement of the ball and our soccer decisions were very good, and our overall understanding of our movement in the attacking third was better."
"We created a lot of attacks in the first half, but just didn't get the results we were looking for. But the intensity and the urgency of our group were much better today, and we carried that over into the second half, which led to us getting two goals back-to-back and a third and fourth late. The pressure that we maintained over the entire 90 minutes was a big difference in today's game."
"It's of course awesome to see Cory get a hat trick - she had two goals that were quite excellent. Grace did a good job as well - really anybody that went on today brought that intensity, and I'm most proud of that coming out of today."
Valpo (5-3-0) continues its stretch of matches away from home next Friday afternoon, making a short trip to Kalamazoo, Mich. to face Western Michigan. Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m. CT, with live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.