Men’s Soccer Starts MVC Slate on Saturday
The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team faced a tough test to begin the 2018 Missouri Valley Conference schedule, going on the road to face the league’s defending regular season champion on Saturday. Nacho Miras (Ubeda, Spain / Nuetra Semora del Pilar) registered four saves and Rafael Mentzingen (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / Bryan) placed a pair of shots on goal, but host Missouri State defended its home field with a 1-0 victory to remain undefeated this season.
How It Happened
- The Bears (5-0-2) got off to a quick start, finding the scoreboard in the 18th minute on a penalty kick by Josh Dolling.
- Valpo (2-4-1) tested Missouri State goalkeeper Michael Creek on several occasions. One of those occurred in the 55th minute, when Creek made a significant stop on a quality shot by Jonas Engler (Illingen, Germany / Georg Kerschensteiner Scule).
- Mentzingen had two shots on goal in the fixture, the second of which came in the 89th minute. Creek again made a quality save, preventing the equalizer from finding the back of the net.
- After succumbing the early PK, Miras saved every shot that Missouri State placed on goal for the game’s duration.
Inside the Game
- Dolling has hurt opponents all season long, as the goal was his eighth of the season. He leads The Valley in points (17), goals (8) and game-winning goals (4).
- Miras lifted his season save total to 19 with another strong showing in goal.
- Valpo has allowed one goal or fewer in six of its seven games this season including each of its last five. In the last five games, the Valpo defense has permitted just one goal to each of the following quality sides – Northwestern, Wisconsin and Missouri State – while shutting out its other two opponents – Milwaukee and Western Illinois.
- Missouri State placed five shots on goal, while Valpo had three on Saturday. Mentzingen hit a team-high four shots, while Engler had two.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
“It was a really good game tonight. Both teams played well and gave the fans an exciting match. I’m disappointed for our boys because I thought we did enough to get at least a point out of the game, but life on the road can be hard sometimes. This trip especially can be a challenge. It’s a long bus ride to face a very good team that doesn’t lose often at home. You have to get almost everything perfect to win this trip – and while we got many, many things right, we gave them just enough room and they took advantage.”
“On the plus side for us, we put in a performance that felt good. We were very sharp in our efforts to change the point of attack, and we created four or five really good goal-scoring chances. If the team can keep its confidence and continue to play at the level we played at tonight, we’ll be fine.”
Valpo will step back outside of Valley action to start a string of three straight nonconference fixtures on Tuesday night against SIU Edwardsville at Brown Field. The kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. CT. A live broadcast will be available on ESPN3, which comes at no charge with a cable subscription.