VALPARAISO | If this season’s Valparaiso boys soccer program is going to have the same kind of success as teams in years past, the Times No. 2 Vikings will have to respond to adversity in a positive manner.
Coach Danny Jeftich’s squad passed its first test on Wednesday night, scoring two quick goals after LaPorte cut into a 2-0 deficit early in the second half. The No. 9 Slicers barely had time to get set on defense when the Vikings answered just two minutes later.
Valparaiso went on to score three more second-half goals as the Vikings opened the 2013 season with a 6-1 win over LaPorte at Viking Field.
“That’s a sign of leadership right there,” Jeftich said of the quick answer to LaPorte’s goal. “Everyone knows that 2-0 is the most dangerous score in soccer at halftime. The third goal changes the match and we had to answer.”
Luke Kovar registered a hat trick on Wednesday night, including an impressive goal in the second half when he dribbled through the LaPorte defense from midfield and beat a diving Carter Huber. Kovar scored the first goal of the season, converting a free kick from senior teammate Bennett Van Schouwen in the 18th minute.
“I can’t take any of the credit because my teammates set me up with some wonderful shots,” Kovar said. “Bennett put the ball right where it needed to be.”
The Vikings took advantage of set piece opportunities against LaPorte, scoring on a corner kick when Jose Apollo delivered a beautiful shot that Ryan Miles headed past Huber late in the first half that gave Valparaiso a 2-0 halftime lead.
The conference rivals were two contrasting programs on Wednesday night as the Vikings started all but two seniors and the Slicers (0-1, 0-1) had just two seniors on the field when the match began. Sophomore Jon Aaron scored LaPorte’s lone goal early in the second half.