VALPARAISO, Ind. - After a scoreless first half controlled by the Fighting Leathernecks, Valparaiso scored twice in the second 45 minutes. The 2-0 loss puts Western Illinois at 4-4-1 in 2013.
"Their hunger to win was deeper and more passionate than ours. Period," said head coach Ted Flogaites. "I squarely accept and maybe even deserve the idea that I am doing a poor job with this year's squad. Our run of form is my responsibility and right now what I am seeking to teach and coach is not resonating on any level. Never before have I felt so low with regards to having an impact on our team. We have great human beings on the team, whom I care about a great deal and am disgusted that I continue to let them down. The players are working hard in matches and in trainings, it is up to me to work significantly harder to bring about the changes we need to start winning matches again. I lost this match for us with poor preparation and I need to take a hard look in the mirror."
Laura Atkinson and the Fighting Leatherneck defense withstood five shots in the opening 15 minutes of play before controlling the remainder of the first half. Sarah Hall, Gina Scaffidi and Amber Davis all tested the goalkeeper during that span.
Hall's effort was saved by Kristen Manski in the 19th minute and Scaffidi's header off a corner by Jordan Walgren nearly put the Leathernecks in front but it went just wide of frame 11 minutes later. Western continued to press as Davis got forward and tested the Crusader goalkeeper, but Manski was up to the task, keeping the match scoreless in the 33rd minute.
Valparaiso (5-4-1) broke through in the second half on an unfortunate bounce for Western, as a free kick deflected off a Leatherneck defender and into the net to put the Crusaders in front 1-0 after 61 minutes.
With the momentum in favor of Valparaiso, Atkinson was called upon to keep Western in the match, making a crucial save and keeping the deficit at one, just minutes later.
Western Illinois had a chance to grab an equalizer in the 72nd minute, but Sarah Wright's shot was blocked.
The Crusaders then doubled their advantage when Allegra Godfrey headed home Amanda Ulin's cross with nine minutes remaining in the match.
Tiara Herron nearly pulled one back for the Leathernecks late but her shot was denied by Manski.
Western Illinois heads north from Valparaiso to Kalamazoo, Michigan to close out the weekend with a Sunday matinee match against Western Michigan at 11 a.m.