CHESTERTON | In anticipation of the annual rivalry match with Valparaiso, the Chesterton girls soccer team had shirts printed that said "Keep Calm and Beat Valpo."
The Times No. 2 Trojans took their own advice Tuesday night.
Katie Green added a late goal to give Chesterton and 2-0 lead and after the No. 1 Vikings cut the deficit in half with less than six minutes to go, Kristen Homme delivered an insurance goal to give Chesterton a 3-1 victory.
"Things got a little tight when Valpo scored there," Chesterton coach David Galloway said. "They came out and really attacked the ball, which is something we pride ourselves on doing. I got a little nervous."
While Galloway was pacing on the sidelines, a trio of Trojans kept calm and finished the job. It started with senior Savannah Watson, who followed the game plan of attacking the net if Valparaiso goalie Kristina Vejovic was going low to pick up the ball.
"We knew that when the ball went back that we needed to attack because there was a chance that she could bobble the ball," Watson said.
Watson paid the price with her goal in the 20th minute as the senior fell into the goal after scoring and got her feet tangled on the net.
"I hit the metal at the bottom of the goal and I heard my knee pop," Watson said. "It was totally worth getting the first goal and helping my team."
Chesterton star Bridget Brendza sacrificed her own stats as she ran all over the field and frustrated Valparaiso's Grace Withrow and Lauren Reineke.
"Stats don't mean anything," Galloway said as he addressed his team. "Getting the win is all that matters."
Veljovic scored and Valparaiso had several opportunities for the equalizer, but Homme delivered the dagger in the 77th minute. The senior, playing with a torn ACL, took a pass from Kaylee Lindahl and punched the ball past a diving Cami Holford.
"I couldn't imagine not playing my senior year," Homme said. "I just want to help my team in any way that I can."
Valparaiso coach Rob Cespedes could only shake his head at a match that was there for the taking in the closing moments. The Vikings (2-2-1) missed a golden opportunity to take an early lead when Withrow hit the post in the third minute.
"We had a lot of opportunities to get a goal in, but we just couldn't get it done (Tuesday)," Cespedes said. "We'll go back (today) and we'll grow from this."