Girls soccer: Third time’s the charm for Valpo vs. CP in regional final
By Gregg Schwartz Star correspondent October 22, 2013 1:16PM
Crown Point's Kartrina Ornelas and Valparaiso's Ingrid Wagner chase down the ball in Valparaiso on Saturday, October 19, 2013. | Jim Karczewski\Sun-Times Media
VALPARAISO — Valparaiso’s Grace Withrow tallied the only goal as the Vikings defeated Crown Point 1-0 to win the Valparaiso Regional championship.
This was the third straight regional final meeting between the two schools. Crown Point had won the last two finals, as well as the regular-season meeting 3-2 in September.
“It’s been a long time coming, but we’re excited to get the win,” Valparaiso coach Rob Cespedes said. “It’s been a frustrating thing.”
The Bulldogs provided a lot of offensive pressure early, but couldn’t muster a shot on goal.
A Vikings corner kick in the 10th minute provided the spark for a nine-shot onslaught over the next 20 minutes. Valpoaraio’s Grace Withrow connected from the top right side of the box in the 24th minute. Her goal was unassisted.
“We played well the first 10 minutes of the first half and in the second half,” Crown Point coach Chris Mikrut said. “But they capitalized on an opportunity.”
Crown Point goalkeeper Meghan Morason kept the Bulldogs alive throughout the game, making 15 saves.
“Meghan gave the girls a chance to win, but we couldn’t find the back of the net,” Mikrut said.
Said Withrow: “We knew Crown Point was going to come out and play hard early, so we had to come out harder than them. We had to win the 50/50 battles.”
Mikrut said the game was decided in the middle of the field.
“Transition is where they were going to hurt us,” Mikrut said. “And once they scored, I didn’t know where we’d score our goal.”
Saddled with trying to get the proverbial Bulldog off their back, the Vikings veterans shared their personal struggles with their younger teammates.
“We talked to the underclassmen and told them stories about how much the losses hurt us,” Vikings goalkeeper Kristina Veljovic said. “In the end the underclassmen wanted it as much as the seniors.
“Each part of the tournament is a step. Sectionals was a step. Tonight was a step. And we’re going to keep climbing until we get to the top.”