VALPARAISO | Given that it was his senior night at Viking Arena, Luke Kovar decided to ramp up the degree of difficulty on his shot attempts.
The Valparaiso senior barely missed a bicycle kick midway through the first half, but recovered for an impressive double-header goal that helped give the Times No. 2 Vikings a 7-0 win over Duneland Athletic Conference foe Lake Central on Wednesday night.
Kovar headed a shot that bounced off the arms of Lake Central keeper Jason Lionberg and directly back toward Kovar who was able to head the ball into the net.
"I was very fortunate to have the ball come right back at me," Kovar said. "That doesn’t happen very often."
The Viking faithful honored the seniors with a long ovation before the match, and the seniors honored the crowd with an offensive explosion. Thomas Walsh got the scoring started early, finishing a pass in the fourth minute for the first goal of the night.
Valparaiso gained a man advantage in the 13th minute when Lake Central keeper George Turjilo was given a red card for tackling senior Brendan Sutherland on a breakaway. Sutherland needed assistance to leave the field and didn’t return to the match.
"That made the match very difficult for us," Lake Central coach Jereme Rainwater said. "George is one of our leaders, and he is the glue in the back for us."
Jacob Wallace scored twice for the Vikings (8-2-2, 5-1 DAC), including the final goal of the first half when he took a slick pass from Michael Deedrick and drilled the ball to the back of the net. Wallace added his second goal midway through the second half after a pass from Kovar in the middle of the field.
Cory Fox, Bennett Van Schouwen and Caleb Neal also added goals for the Vikings as five of the seven goals were scored by seniors in their final DAC home match.
"On senior night, either you’re hot and come out well, or you’re sluggish," Valparaiso coach Danny Jeftich said. "These seniors carry the torch for us."
Austin Chuckaluck took over in goal for the Indians (3-8-1, 1-4) in the second half and registered four saves.
"I’ve been coaching for 15 years, and I’ve never been in this position before," Rainwater said of Lake Central’s struggles this season. "I’ll see if I can reflect on something I’ve done. We’ll watch the video and meet with the guys to talk about tonight."