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The Valparaiso women's soccer team defeated Detroit, 1-0, on Saturday afternoon to improve to 7-0 in the Horizon League and clinch the regular season title and No. 1 seed in the postseason tournament.

The Crusaders will play host to the women's soccer tournament semifinals on Thursday, Nov. 6 and the championship match on Saturday, Nov. 8.

Women's Soccer Scoreboard (Oct. 25)
Green Bay 2, Youngstown State 0
Oakland 2, Cleveland State 1
Valparaiso 1, Detroit 0
Wright State 2, UIC 0

Green Bay 2, Youngstown State 0
Celebrating senior day in shutout fashion, the Green Bay women’s Soccer team defeated Youngstown State 2-0 on Saturday afternoon at Santaga Stadium. The Phoenix improved its record to 10-5-2 overall and 4-3-0 in Horizon League play while clinching a spot in the Horizon League Tournament in the process for the first time since 2009.

As if it was scripted, both goals scored by the Phoenix came off the feet from two seniors. Rhiana Stelter and Abby Juzwik both scored less than 10 minutes into the game, tallying goals in the 7th minute and 9th minute.

Stelter took advantage of a one-on-one opportunity against the Youngstown State (7-7-2, 3-3-1 HL) goalkeeper, sliding one into the back of the net to give the Phoenix the only goal it would net. Karina Fredette was credited with the assist on the goal, deflecting one to the open Stelter.

Fellow-senior Juzwik scored her fourth goal of the season from around 20 yards outside the net, receiving a perfect feed from forward Heidi Hartmann. Juzwik sailed one over the head of the keeper to put Green Bay up 2-0, which would hold true the remainder of the match.

Senior Alisha Maciewjewski notched the secondary assist on the goal, giving the senior class seven of nine points totaled on Senior Day. Goalkeeper Nastacia Behle picked up the clean sheet in goal, giving Green Bay its fifth shutout of the season after finishing with two saves.

Green Bay dominated the stat sheets, outshooting YSU 10-2 on goal and 25-5 overall.

Oakland 2, Cleveland State 1
Alice Palmer scored two goals to lead Oakland (5-10-1, 3-3-1) to a 2-1 win over visiting Cleveland State (8-8-2, 3-4-3) Saturday night on Blackout Night at the Oakland Soccer Field. Joan Sieja set up Palmer's game-winner helping the Golden Grizzles remain unbeaten at home in conference play. Alison Holland made two saves to lead the defensive back line to a second half shutout to preserve the win.

"Everyone knew how important this game was and with two home matches to finish out the regular season, we knew there is pressure but are relishing the opportunity and really looking forward to it" said head coach Margaret Saurin. "We created enough chances tonight and put two away to win the match and that was the difference. In the second half after our goal, we didn't want to open ourselves up to be countered and scored on and it was important stop any offense they could create. That was our job and it didn't just start with our backline, it started with our forwards and across our midfield that did a wonderful job of closing down their midfield."

Oakland wasted little time to get on the board as Cleveland State was called for a penalty inside the box just 1:58 into the game. Palmer consequently buried the penalty shot giving the Golden Grizzles a 1-0 lead.

CSU got the equalizer in the 36 minute off a corner kick set piece. Erin O'Toole sent the cross inside the box through traffic where Kaila Sargema put a shot past Holland to tie the game at 1-1.

Once again, Oakland stuck quickly to begin the second half at the 46:15 mark. Sieja took the ball deep down the left side and turned hard at the backline towards the goal. As the defenders committed, she slid a pass across the front of the goal where Palmer fired a shot from five yards out to beat CSU goalkeeper Sarah Wood.

Valparaiso 1, Detroit 0
It was only appropriate that the Valparaiso women’s soccer team would clinch the first Horizon League regular season championship in program history with a match so representative of the season as a whole.  The Crusaders combined a stifling defensive effort with timely goal scoring, as Sarrah Ludwig (Downers Grove, Ill./South) headed one home in the 70th minute off a flip throw from Abby Kenyon (Canton, Ohio/Jackson) to send Valpo to the 1-0 victory over Detroit and clinch the regular season crown.

The win was the ninth straight victory for the Crusaders, setting a new program record, and improved Valpo to a perfect 7-0-0 in Horizon League action.  The victory came over the second-place Titans, putting the Crusaders six points ahead of Detroit in the standings with just one fixture date left to secure the regular-season title.  It is the women’s soccer program’s first title of any sort as a member of the Horizon League, and the third regular season championship overall in program history, joining the 2005 and 2006 Mid-Continent Conference championship squads.  Valpo will now host the Horizon League Championship on Brown Field, with the semifinals on Thursday, Nov. 6 and the title match on Saturday, Nov. 8.

“It’s just great for our players,” said Crusader head coach John Marovich on clinching the program’s first Horizon League regular season title.  “They’re the ones that go through the season-long journey.  This is why you train, for opportunities like today, and to watch our players come out and consistently battle and compete all season long makes it so rewarding to see them win the title.”

The win came on a windy and unseasonably warm day at Brown Field.  The Crusaders were heading into the wind in the first half, but dealt with it quite well, limiting Detroit to just three first-half efforts, none of which were on frame.  But Valpo was unable to get much going offensively in the opening 45 minutes either, attempting just six shots and forcing Titan goalkeeper Marina Manzo to make just one save.

Heading into the second half, the Crusaders got the wind at their backs and pushed forward with a quick flurry, earning a corner and firing off three shots in the first 74 seconds of the period.  But none of them found their way into the back of the net, and Valpo’s lone shot on goal of the half over the first 23 minutes was a header from April Cronin (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South), an effort easily saved by Manzo.

Kenyon’s entry into the game in the 69th minute would end up making all the difference, however.  The senior had played just once since September 7, but showed no signs of rust when the Crusaders almost immediately won a throw in the attacking third.  Kenyon, who entered the match with three career assists directly off her throw-ins, took the ball and unleashed a gorgeous flip throw from 35 yards out, getting plenty of air under it.  Ludwig had all the time in the world to run underneath it at the edge of the six-yard box and nodded it home inside the near post.

“We’ve talked about as a team how each person has special qualities – they all bring something unique to the team which makes the team as a group who we are,” said Marovich.  “We also always talk about how the game will present an opportunity for you to do what you do best.  Today, I think it’s so fitting that Abby comes in and helps win a league title for her team with her special quality, stepping up when the game presented an opportunity with the flip throw.”

The Crusaders continued their push over the next ten minutes, looking for an insurance tally, but were unable to put another goal on the board.  The Valpo defense, which has been strong all season long, did its job though, limiting Detroit to just one shot on goal for the match, a shot from Haley Burtraw in the 88th minute following an extended scramble about ten yards out from goal.  But Sydney Galvez-Daley (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick [Creighton]) was positioned perfectly to make the save, preserving the clean sheet and the victory.  The shutout was the tenth of the season for Galvez-Daley, matching a program single-season record.

“I thought Detroit played a really nice game – they’re a very good side,” said Marovich.  “I felt like the wind had a bit of an impact on the game.  For us to come out of the first half without giving away many opportunities was a really big deal – it allowed us to get into the second half and try and to get the ball out of the air and keep it on the ground going with the wind.  Again, it just comes down to persistence in games like that against a quality side – you have to keep pushing and find a half chance and do something with it.  I thought we had a couple of good chances off of corners, but then it turns out to be the throw from Abby which makes the difference.”

Wright State 2, UIC 0
The Wright State women's soccer team closed out the home portion of its regular-season schedule Saturday with a 2-0 Horizon League win over UIC at Alumni Field.

Freshman forward Bryce Hueber opened the scoring just 7:11 into the contest as after being fouled just outside the box, she connected on the resulting free kick for her third goal of the season.

Despite dominating the first half by outshooting the Flames 17-1, the Raiders maintained just that 1-0 edge at the break.

WSU added an insurance goal at the 83:51 mark of the second half and, again, Hueber was involved as she headed a pass to junior forward Natalie Sedlock, who beat UIC goalkeeper Annie Dicanio for an open shot and goal.  It was the team-leading fifth goal of the year for Sedlock while Hueber was credited with her first collegiate assist.

Junior goalkeeper Halle Pyle posted her fourth shutout of the season and fifth overall by the team as she recorded two saves.

Tags: Green Bay - Women's Soccer · Horizon League - Women's Soccer · Oakland - Women's Soccer · Wright State - Women's Soccer
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