Valparaiso University women’s soccer senior Grace Rogers (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury) set a new program record for career assists and matched the single-season assists record as the Crusaders leveled their regular season finale Thursday with Evansville in the 23rd minute, but the Purple Aces struck less than 90 seconds later for the decisive goal as Valpo fell 2-1. The Crusaders will be the sixth seed for the upcoming MVC Tournament and will travel to third-seeded Loyola to open tournament action on Sunday afternoon.
How It Happened
- Evansville opened the scoring Thursday in the 13th minute, as Montana Portenier took a shot from the left flank and found the upper-right 90 to put the Purple Aces on top. Jayme-Lee Hunter picked up the assist on Portenier’s goal.
- The Crusaders evened the match just about 10 minutes later in what was seemingly a replay of their first goal at Indiana State last time out. Rogers delivered the free kick from around midfield into the area, and junior Cory Griffith (Lemont, Ill./Providence Catholic) freed herself up enough to head it inside the left post to make it 1-1.
- But just over a minute later, the Purple Aces found the back of the net again, as Sierra Pagan connected on a shot from the right side of the box inside the far post.
- Valpo pushed forward throughout the second half in search of the equalizer, but despite 12 shot attempts in the final 45 minutes, the Crusaders were unable to find a second goal.
Inside the Match
- Rogers’ assist – her second in as many matches – was the 14th of her career, breaking the tie with Lindsay Holley atop the Crusaders’ all-time chart in the category.
- Rogers also tied the single-season assist record with her helper on the Crusaders’ goal. The senior now has tallied six assists on the year, matching Holley’s 2003 campaign and Laura Murphy’s 2006 total for the most in a season in program history.
- As a team, the Crusaders have recorded 29 assists on 27 goals this season, matching the 2005 squad for the program record for assists as a team in a single season.
- Griffith found the back of the net for the third time in the final two matches of the regular season, giving her a final total of five goals within MVC play and 10 total entering the MVC Tournament. With 10 goals on the year, Griffith is now tied for third in a single season in program history and just one shy of the record of 11.
- Griffith’s 23 points this year rank fifth in a season in Crusader history.
- The junior continues to climb the all-time charts as well, as she is now tied for fourth with Kendall Brown for goals in a career with 20 – just one out of third position. With 46 career points, Griffith now ranks fifth in program history.
- Valpo more than doubled up the Purple Aces in shot attempts, finishing with a 19-9 edge – including a 12-5 advantage in the second half. Valpo placed a total of seven shots on goal, with Evansville goalkeeper Julie Rabe making six saves to earn the win.
- The final three of Valpo’s four losses in MVC play all came by one goal. In fact, six of the Crusaders’ seven conference matches were one-goal decisions.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“It’s unfortunate - we had some really good opportunities in the second half to equalize, and we just didn’t finish. But now we’ve got to move forward – we’re excited about being a part of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, and we’re looking forward to traveling to Loyola to start the tournament on Sunday.”
Valpo (9-9-0) opens up MVC Tournament play on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. with a short trip to third-seeded Loyola. The Crusaders took down the Ramblers in Rogers Park by a 2-1 final during the regular season. Sunday’s match can be seen live on The Valley on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app, and links for the live coverage will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.