The Missouri Valley College men's soccer team came up with a pair of impressive victories during the past week.
The 12th-ranked Vikings got their first shutout of the season Sunday with a 6-0 home win over No. 25 Ashford (Iowa), with sophomores Alberto Linan Gomez -- the Heart of America Conference "offensive player of the week" -- and Nicholas Alexander each scoring three goals.
Valley out-shot the Saints (2-1) by a 15-7 margin, allowing only one on-target attack which was stopped by senior goalkeeper Adria Borras.
The Vikings won their first road game Wednesday at Missouri Baptist, 3-1. Alexander opened the scoring midway through the first half, but the Spartans (0-2) tied the contest five minutes into the second period on a goal by senior Ivan Milicevic.
Borras saved the other two attempts during the half and Valley connected on two of nine on-target boots -- starting with sophomore Miguel Jiminez' go-ahead penalty kick. Senior Eduardo Da Silva added an insurance goal 10 minutes later.
The Vikings (3-0) will travel to Park for a non-conference match Tuesday.
The Valley women's soccer team suffered its first loss of the season Sunday at No. 15 Oklahoma City, 2-1, but bounced back three days later with a 1-0 home win over Lyon (Ark.).
The Stars (3-0) scored both of their goals during the first half, on shots by freshman Allie Glazner and sophomore Meghan McMahon, but sophomore 'keeper Nicole Goad held them there with three second-half saves.
The Lady Vikings were held to two shots on goal after the break, with junior Yessica Hernandez connecting in the seventh minute.
Valley's defense limited the Scots (1-4) to three attempts on the net, which Goad turned aside for her first career shutout. The only goal the Lady Vikings needed was provided by junior Maya Natori late in the first half.
Next up for Valley (2-1-1) will be a non-conference contest Saturday at William Woods.
The Lady Vikings split four matches last weekend at the Judson (Ill.) Tournament, but then were swept in their Heart of America Conference opener by Baker.
Senior Dustina Bitten led MVC with nine kills, 10 digs and three aces during Friday's 25-21, 26-24, 25-22 victory over the host Lady Eagles, but the Lady Vikings couldn't knock down shots later in the day -- posting a .168 attack percentage -- during a tight 25-12, 26-24, 26-24 loss to Marian (Ind.).
Valley beat NCAA Division III foe Grinnell (Iowa) on Saturday, 25-17, 25-23, 19-25, 25-16, behind Bitten's 11 kills and 23 saves. Cornerstone (Mich.) finished the Lady Vikings' meet by beating them in three sets, 25-20, 25-17, 25-9.
The Lady Wildcats (4-5, 1-0 HAAC) played strong defense against Valley, coming up with 72 digs and limiting the home team to a .051 attack efficiency, during their 25-20, 25-16, 25-19 victory. Senior Christina Delladio knocked down 14 shots and blocked four for Baker, while Bitten topped the Lady Vikings with 10 kills.
Valley (5-5, 0-1) is scheduled for a doubleheader Saturday at Southwestern (Kan.).
The Heart of America Conference has named Valley sophomore Tyler Davis as its "special teams player of the week" for his performance in Saturday's 47-10 victory over defending KCAC champion McPherson (Kan.).
An all-HAAC first team return specialist last year, the St. Louis product had two interceptions and return a punt 54 yards for a touchdown to give the Vikings a 34-3 third-quarter lead.