Score: Evangel 2, Missouri Valley 1
Records: Evangel (11-5-2), Missouri Valley (11-6-2)
Location: Coryell Field | Springfield, Mo.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Evangel women's soccer team won the program's first postseason game on Saturday with a 2-1 defeat of the Missouri Valley Vikings.
"What a special day!!" Head coach Bruce Deaton had to say after the final whistle. "I am so dang proud of these ladies as they dug down deep throughout this match and especially in that second half."
The first half started as a back-and-forth affair with neither team really able to establish any rhythm on offense. Then in the 12th minute, Bianca Biffert was passed the ball about 25 yards out by Alyson Reinold and noticed that the Vikings keeper was off her line, so she fired a shot that snuck in over the keeper's head. The Vikings were able to equalize in the 28th minute when Nicole Rubio fired home a shot from outside the box off a rebound from a corner kick.
In the second half, both teams started to gamble a little more in order to find a game-winner. Amber Ellis and the Crusaders were able to find that goal when, in the 59th minute, she was able to complete a breakaway after a brilliant pass from Reinold.
The rest of the half saw the Crusaders playing defense, but they buckled down and held on to win the game.
"With a little adjustment to our play in the second half, we were able to push for a historic goal by Amber Ellis to give us a victory in our first-ever conference tournament appearance," Coach Deaton continued. "The heart and work these ladies displayed today was incredible. Seeing how hard they played for one another was amazing to watch. Looking forward to our semi-final match next week!"
Evangel was led offensively by Biffert, who had 4 shots on goal. Reinold had two shots on goal, while Ellis had one.
Defensively, Caitlyn Cox kept the Crusaders in the lead by making seven saves, including one that initially bounced through her hands, off the post, and off another Vikings player in the dying minutes of the game before she was able to corral it.
The Crusaders will play in a semifinal game in the Heart of America Conference Tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 13. More information about the game will be made at a later date.
For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EUAthletics or go to www.EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Go Evangel Front Row App at EvangelAthletics.com/FrontRow available on Google Play and in the App Store.