Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
First-Place Valpo Entertains Chicago State; Nieves Continues Hot-Shooting

Friday, January 17, 2003

VALPO (7-7, 2-0) vs. CHICAGO STATE (3-13, 0-3)

WHEN: Saturday, January 18 - 7:05 p.m. CST

WHERE: ARC, Valparaiso, Indiana

TV: (tape-delay) - Channel 43 in Valparaiso - Dick Harlan and Paul Curtis announcing. Airs Jan. 21 at 7 p.m.and Jan. 22 at 12:30 p.m.

RADIO: WEFM (95.9, Michigan City), WVUR-FM (95.1, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow and Drew Wolf announcing.

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Scott Drew, who has a career record of 7-7 in his 1st season. Chicago State is led by Bo Ellis, who has a career mark of 23-103 in his 5th season.

SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 19-1
LAST MEETING: 2001-02 - Valpo won 81-50 in first round of Mid-Con Tournament.

LAST GAME: Valpo defeated Southern Utah 74-44 on Thursday in Valparaiso. Chicago State lost to Western Illinois 75-73 in overtime on Thursday in Macomb, Illinois.

NEXT UP: Valpo travels to play at IUPUI on Thursday at 6 p.m. CST (7 p.m. EST).

Valpo concludes a three-game homestand on Saturday by hosting Chicago State. The Crusaders (7-7, 2-0 Mid-Con) took over first place in the Mid-Continent Conference with Thursday's 74-44 victory over Southern Utah. The win extended Valpo's homecourt win streak to 18.

The Crusaders' defense held Southern Utah scoreless for nearly an eight-minute stretch in the second half and forced the Thunderbirds into 23 total turnovers. Roberto Nieves led Valpo with 15 points, which included three, 3-point baskets. Raitis Grafs added 13 points and nine rebounds, while freshman Dan Oppland tallied a career-high 10 points and grabbed six rebounds.

The Cougars (3-13, 0-3 Mid-Con) are coming off a 75-73 overtime loss at Western Illinois on Thursday.

HOMECOURT WIN STREAK RANKS 9th NATIONALLY: Valpo's homecourt win streak of 18 ranks 9th nationally through games of Jan. 16. Brigham Young owns the nation's longest Division I homecourt win streak (43).

SHARING THE WEALTH: In Thursday's win over Southern Utah, Valpo had assists on 22 of 25 baskets. Greg Tonagel dished out seven assists and Ali Berdiel passed for six.

NIEVES IGNITES CRUSADERS: Roberto Nieves has played a key role during Valpo's last three games. In Thursday's win over Southern Utah, he led the Crusaders with 15 points. Last Saturday, he scored a career-high 16 points and grabbed five rebounds in the win over Western Illinois. Nieves has been red-hot from 3-point land, draining seven of his last 11 treys. The 6'3" junior from Yabucoa, Puerto Rico scored eight of his 11 points in the second half to help Valpo to a strong comeback in a 55-53 loss to Notre Dame on Jan. 4.

VALPO'S SCHEDULE ONE OF NATION'S BEST: Valpo has played the 18th most competitive schedule in the nation, according to the Sagarin Ratings, through games of Jan. 16, and the 28th most difficult slate in the nation, according to the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) on ESPN.com, through games of Jan. 12. The Crusaders have an RPI ranking of 93, the highest in the Mid-Con.

GRAFS HOT AT CHARITY STRIPE: Over the last nine games, Raitis Grafs has made 84.3 percent (43 for 51) of his free throws.


Softball Northern Illinois 6 VU Softball Field
Apr 8 Valpo 8
Baseball Valpo 5 Evanston, Ill.
Apr 8 Northwestern 12
Softball Northern Illinois 3 8 inn.
Apr 8 Valpo 4
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 11:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
W Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 5:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26 Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo