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GIRLS SOCCER

Experience, difficult schedule paying off for Aubrey Brown, Valparaiso

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Aubrey Brown, Valparaiso

Valparaiso’s Aubrey Brown (3) controls the ball late in the first half against Crown Point Tuesday evening.

CROWN POINT — Aubrey Brown is clear about what a Duneland Athletic Conference title would mean to her and her Valparaiso teammates.

“I want it bad. I said that all day today, sitting in class. It’s all I was thinking about. I want it bad,” the senior forward said. “From tonight’s performance, I think the rest of my team does, as well.”

The Vikings kept themselves in the conference race with a 2-1 win in Crown Point on Tuesday. Brown netted Valparaiso’s second goal late in the first half to ensure it.

“To have the opportunity in the Duneland Athletic Conference is definitely something that you have to try to get,” coach Rob Cespedes said. “To have still, this late in the season, the possibility of getting it means a boatload. It means a boatload to the girls.”

Brown is a clear spark for Valparaiso, using her speed to chase down balls in the corners and beat defenders to a touch. Her impact was evident when the teams returned to the pitch after a lightning delay about 10 minutes into the game Tuesday. The Vikings were the aggressor for the rest of the first half.

“Aubrey is a bundle of joy and high energy,” Cespedes said. “(She’s) everything for the team, wants to do what’s best for them and is just an all-around great girl.”

Elizabeth Fields put the Vikings (7-4-3, 5-1) up after the early break. The junior defender was in the right place for a rebound after a corner kick and found the net from about 20 yards in the 20th minute.

Aubrey Brown, Valparaiso

Valparaiso’s Aubrey Brown (3) with Crown Point’s Ryann Adzia (22) pursues the ball in the first half Tuesday evening at Crown Point High School.

Brown doubled that lead a little less than eight minutes later with her goal.

“During that delay, I feel like we sat down and reflected on how the game was,” Brown said. “We looked, we analyzed, talked through it and communicated and mainly what we said was ‘Let’s pick up the intensity and put it all out on the field because that’s what it’s about.’”

Ava Haluska got Crown Point’s goal with about 16 minutes left in the contest.

The Vikings win muddies the DAC waters.

The Bulldogs came into the game 5-0 in the DAC. Valparaiso was 4-1. Lake Central and Chesterton are each 4-1, as well, and were scheduled to play in St. John Tuesday but that game was postponed.

Crown Point beat Chesterton on penalty kicks last week and topped Lake Central 3-1 on Aug. 23. The Vikings lost to Chesterton and will play the Indians next week.

That one will be just another tough game which Brown said Valparaiso is accustomed to. Three of its four losses are to teams ranked in the latest Indiana Soccer Coaches Association poll.

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Crown Point’s Olivia O'Keefe (2) tries to get the ball out of the corner against Valparaiso’s Aubrey Brown (3) in the first half Tuesday evening at Crown Point High School.

“The way we have our schedule lined up is to definitely have competitive games,” Cespedes said. “The girls see that even though we’re playing against these top teams, we’re here to compete and we can definitely do it.”

The Vikings were the last local big school left last fall, advancing to the 3A regional final. They lost 12 seniors to graduation last year but many of the current players did have roles in 2021. That experience is vital to what they want to do this October, Brown said.

“We need to know the speed of play (in the postseason). It’s very important to get out on the field and experience that,” Brown said.

PHOTOS: Crown Point hosts Valparaiso in girls soccer

Valparaiso faced off with Crown Point on Tuesday night.

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Valparaiso’s Sofia Cox (8) gets tangled up up with Crown Point’s Ellie Prendergast (13) early in the first half Tuesday evening at Crown Point…

Aubrey Brown, Valparaiso

Aubrey Brown, Valparaiso

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Valparaiso’s Aubrey Brown (3) controls the ball late in the first half against Crown Point Tuesday evening.

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Valparaiso’s Hailey Stemple (16) puts the ball in play on a throw in against Crown Point in the first half Tuesday evening at Crown Point High…

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Valparaiso’s Roselyn Gonzalez (17) directs the ball away from Crown Point’s Izzy Sainato (24) in the first half Tuesday evening at Crown Point…

Aubrey Brown, Valparaiso

Aubrey Brown, Valparaiso

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Valparaiso’s Aubrey Brown (3) with Crown Point’s Ryann Adzia (22) pursues the ball in the first half Tuesday evening at Crown Point High School.

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Crown Point’s Ryann Adzia (22) controls the ball against Valparaiso’s Aubrey Brown (3) in the first half Tuesday evening at Crown Point High School.

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Crown Point’s Emma Charles (19) takes the header against Valparaiso in the second half Tuesday evening at Crown Point High School.

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Valparaiso’s Sofia Cox (8) celebrates with Aubrey Brown (3) after her goal in the first half gave the Vikings a 2-0 against Crown Point Tuesda…

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Valparaiso’s Delaney Aardema (13) tries to stop Crown Point’s Emma Charles (19) early in the first half Tuesday evening at Crown Point High School.

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Crown Point’s Olivia O'Keefe (2) tries to get the ball out of the corner against Valparaiso’s Aubrey Brown (3) in the first half Tuesday eveni…

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Valparaiso’s Kate Weber (20) tries to get inside on Crown Point’s Ava Haluska (6) in the first half Tuesday evening at Crown Point High School.

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Valparaiso’s Claire Brown (10) controls the ball against Crown Point’s Emma Charles (19) in the first half Tuesday evening at Crown Point High…

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Valparaiso’s Delaney Aardema (13) and Crown Point’s Emma Charles (19) go for the ball in the second half Tuesday evening at Crown Point High School.

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Crown Point’s Makayla Basoski (4) tries to hold off Valparaiso’s Fiorella Cespedes (7) in the second half Tuesday evening at Crown Point High School.

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Crown Point’s Izzy Sainato (24) moves the ball with Valparaiso’s Hailey Stemple (16) in pursuit in the first half Tuesday evening at Crown Poi…

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Crown Point’s Makayla Basoski (4) tries to hold off Valparaiso’s Fiorella Cespedes (7) in the second half Tuesday evening at Crown Point High School.

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Valparaiso’s Hailey Stemple (16) clears the ball away from Crown Point’s Braelyn Witte (9) in the second half Tuesday evening at Crown Point H…

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Crown Point’s Izzy Sainato (24) tries to get the ball away from Valparaiso’s Kate Weber (20) in the first half Tuesday evening at Crown Point …

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Crown Point’s Sofia Oliva (7) throws the ball in against Valparaiso Tuesday evening at Crown Point High School.

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