Junior Cory Griffith (Lemont, Ill./Providence Catholic) notched her second goal of the game in the 86th minute to give the Valparaiso University women’s soccer team a 2-1 victory at Indiana State Sunday afternoon as the Crusaders clinched a berth in the MVC Tournament. Griffith’s goal tied Valpo career and single-season records for match-winning goals, while earlier in the game, senior Grace Rogers (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury) matched the program record for assists in a career.
How It Happened
- The teams played through a scoreless opening 45 minutes on a windy, humid day in Terre Haute. Both sides had six first-half shot attempts, but the Crusaders placed four on frame to none for the Sycamores.
- Valpo finally broke through in the 66th minute for the game’s first goal. A foul by the Sycamores gave Valpo a free kick opportunity 50 yards from goal. Rogers stepped up and delivered a long free kick with the wind that floated into the box to the back post, where Griffith got free to head it home to give the Crusaders the lead.
- The lead proved to be short-lived, however, as Indiana State answered less than five minutes later. Alina Steffen got free in the box and equalized in the 72nd minute, tying the contest at 1-1.
- A golden opportunity for Griffith to return the lead to the Crusaders came in the 83rd minute, as the junior rifled a shot from the edge of the 18 which pinged off the crossbar.
- But just over three minutes later, Griffith made sure that Valpo would clinch the spot in the tournament in its penultimate match of the regular season. Redshirt sophomore Natalia Kontul (Solon, Ohio/Solon) took a shot from outside the box which was blocked by an ISU defender and ricocheted to sophomore Maria Broecker (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester).
- Broecker took one touch in the box and then sent an effort towards the right post with the outside of her right foot. In the middle of the box, Griffith made sure there was no doubt about whether it would find the back of the net, giving the shot a deflection and sending it in as the Crusaders took the 2-1 lead.
- Valpo successfully killed off the game from there, not allowing Indiana State to gain meaningful possession in its attacking third over the final few minutes.
Inside the Match
- Rogers’ assist on the game’s first goal was her 13th career helper, tying Lindsay Holley (2001-04) for most in program history. The senior now is tied for team-high honors with five assists this season – her personal best, tied for third in a single season in Crusader history and just one off the Valpo single-season record.
- Griffith scored multiple goals in a game for the fifth time in her career, as she now owns one hat trick and four braces.
- The match-winner was Griffith’s fifth of the season, matching her own single-season program record from last year. The junior’s 10 career match-winners jointly top Valpo’s all-time record book along with Lori Moore (1999-2002) and April Cronin (2013-16).
- Griffith has scored five times in the last six matches and now has tallied nine goals on the year, tied for sixth-most in a season in program history. She also ranks fifth on the Crusaders’ career charts with 19 career goals, just one shy of fourth position and two out of third place.
- Broecker’s primary assist on the match-winner was her second helper of the year, while Kontul has picked up four assists this season.
- Valpo out-shot Indiana State on the game, 17-12, and put eight shots on frame to the Sycamores’ four. ISU goalkeeper Brianna Riscossa made six saves in the losing effort, while junior Drew Moulton (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore) stopped three shots to improve to 7-4-0 on the season.
- The victory not only secures a spot in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament for the Crusaders – a bracket which takes the top-six of the conference’s eight teams – but it also keeps Valpo alive for a potential first-round home game as the third or fourth seed. The Crusaders currently sit in a three-way tie for fourth on nine points, with Missouri State just one point ahead of the trio.
- Sunday’s victory was Valpo’s ninth of the year, leaving the Crusaders just one win shy of reaching double-figure victories for the 10th time in program history.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
"I'm really proud of our group. In games like today where so much is on the line, they can be highly stressful contests with a lot of tense moments throughout the match. We got up in the second half, Indiana State fought back and equalized, and I'm just so proud of how we responded and fought and found a goal at the end."
"I was really excited about the commitment from our players who didn't start today. Every player who came in made some kind of contribution to our performance, whether it was Maria with the assist on the game-winner or Lauren with some important minutes in the attacking third, or even Ava who started and played some big minutes in the middle of the park to allow us to save some minutes with some other players. It may seem small, but those are some really big moments that played in our being able to get the result today."
"Everyone who stepped on the field today made an impact, and made sure to step up when it was their time to step on. I feel like today showed the amount of pride our players have in the jersey, and what makes me most proud is our players showed the traits and attributes that we want them to show not only on the field, but off the field as well."
Valpo (9-8-0, 3-3-0 MVC) closes out the regular season on Thursday afternoon from Brown Field as the Crusaders kick off against Evansville at 4 p.m. Links for live coverage will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.