by: Tommy Mantice
The dramatics were running high at Brown field on Friday and the men’s soccer team topped Western Illinois by a score of 2-1 thanks to two goals by Jordan james. This incredible win in just another day in the park for the Crusaders as they keep on rattling off great results against top competition. The Crusaders tied Davidson and NC State and earned the best result in team history when they beaten #7 Michigan State on the road.
“This is our expectation,” said Eric Nieto after the game. “Last year, we would have thought it was a fluke if we won some of these games. Now we expect to win these games.” Forward Sulimon Thomas added, “ I feel like we expect to win against everybody that we play.”
The Crusaders, down 1-0 thanks to a incredible long shot by Alejandro Pacheco, equalized in the 68th minute off a lose ball in the box that was put away by Jordan James. Then four minutes in to the second overtime scored off a defensive mistake and excellent ball control from James, skating through two defenders and the goal keeper Yves Dietrich to place the ball in the lower third of the goal, winning the game for Valpo.
“Coach Avery game the opportunity.” Said Jordan James. “I read exactly what the defenders did. I’m grateful for the opportunity and I couldn’t be happier.”
The Crusaders were down in the first half, but in the second half they came out firing. Jordan Gandarilla, Zane Wold, Nick Suker and Ramone Howell all had quality chances to equalize but couldn’t. One main difference about this years team and last was this team never gives up.
Nieto said after, “We didn’t play well early but we dug deep. We would have put our heads down last year if we suffered a goal like that, but this year is different. We know we could beat this team. We kept our chins high.”
One of the main differences for the Crusdsader men this season could be their One Valpo campaign. “It has done a lot.” Said Nieto. “It’s helped bring us together. We have a lot of different cultures and styles of play on this team. Once we bought One Valpo into the equation, everything has cliqued.”
This win comes of a loss to Northwestern in which they started the game at 9:30 because of the Wildcats freshman orientation being at 7. Valpo arrived late due to bus and traffic issues and didn’t get to warm up until 9 p.m. They suffered a goal early and couldn’t come back. Friday night was different.
The Crusaders next game will be home against Loyola University on Tuesday September 23.