MUNSTER | It took nearly 85 minutes, but Munster’s offense woke up when it was needed most Thursday night.
Allyson Goodrich scored her second goal of the night with 2:31 remaining, leading to a 3-3 tie with Times No. 3 Valparaiso.
Trailing the Vikings late, the No. 6 Mustangs controlled the ball like a team possessed. Multiple runs at the goal in the final five minutes wore down the Valpo defense, then Goodrich flipped a rebound into the net.
“I think it just shows that we can do what we want to do when we put our mind to doing it,” Mustangs head coach Valerie Pflum said. “It’s unfortunate that it took so much of the game to get to that point, but we woke up in the last five minutes – which was enough, at least (Thursday).”
The first two minutes of the second packed almost as much action as the rest of the game combined with both offenses firing on all cylinders.
“I think my (halftime) message to them was that they need to wake up,” Pflum said. “You need to go to the ball, you need to win the ball and if you don’t want to win then you’re not going to win.”
Munster scored less than a minute into the half when Lexie Lyons went to the far post against new Valparaiso goalie Cami Holford. The Vikings answered less than a minute later, however, as Lexie Ferguson scored on an assist by Grace Withrow to put Valpo ahead 3-2.
“I think part of it was a realization that if Munster starts to turn it up a notch then we have to turn it up a notch,” Valparaiso head coach Rob Cespedes said. “We can’t just rest on our laurels. We need to continue to do what is an effective play for us, and I think we might have gotten frazzled a little bit.”
Thirty-six scoreless minutes later, Ferguson’s goal had the looks of a game-winner, but the Vikings could not stave off Munster’s late rally.
Valparaiso carried a 2-1 lead into halftime on a long goal from the top of the penalty area by Ashley Thomas. Munster attempted three corner kicks in the final 17 seconds of the first half but could not get a shot off.
After a defensive miscommunication led to a Munster own goal at the 22:10 mark to give Valparaiso the lead, the Mustangs briefly tied the game at 1-1 when Goodrich went to the lower-right corner with a penalty kick. Jessica Flores had drawn the penalty when she was taken down at the 4:25 mark.
“There were a lot of times that we were just letting them win the ball and then attacking,” Pflum said. “You can’t possess the ball if you don’t have it. Those are the basics.”