*Valparaiso at Wright State - Sunday, Oct. 28 - 3 p.m. CDT
The Matchup: Valparaiso begins its final stretch of Horizon League play on Sunday as the Crusaders travel to Wright State to take on the Raiders. Wright State and Valpo have not met on the pitch since the 1993 season. The Raiders hold a 4-0 advanatage in the all-time series against the Crusaders.
Last Meeting: Wright State scored one goal in the first half and put three more across the goal line in the second half, pulling away for a 4-0 victory over Valparaiso on Nov. 10, 1993 at Eastgate Field. Craig Schemahorn stopped eight shots in net for the Crusaders, while Dennis Wiebe paced the Valpo offense with two shot attempts.
Last Time Out: Valparaiso returned to Eastgate Field for the first time in nearly a month on Oct. 21 and gave the crowd of 488 fans an exciting match, coming back from an early deficit to force a 1-1 (2ot) draw with #19/17 Michigan State. The Spartans’ Kenzo Webster struck early, beating Ryan Schwarz just 28 seconds into the match, but Steve Shively tallied his team-best fourth goal of the season in the 28th minute to knot the match up for the final score. Michigan State out-shot the Crusaders 22-7 and took 19 corner kicks to Valpo’s two, but Schwarz stopped eight shots to earn the hard-fought tie in net.
On The Air: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) will not be broadcasting this Sunday’s match against Wright State. WVUR is planning on carrying seven men’s soccer games this year over the airwaves, as well as any matches as part of the Horizon League Championships. The games will also be carried online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.
Playoff Positioning: While currently in seventh position in the Horizon League standings, the Crusaders are in good position to earn one of the top six seeds in the HL Championship and host a home game at Eastgate Field. Valpo currently has one game in hand on both UIC and Wright State, who sit fifth and sixth, respectively, and have two games in hand over fourth-place Butler.
Fit to Be Tied: With the tie against Michigan State, Valpo matched a program record for draws in a season. The Crusaders, who now have three ties this year, also registered three draws in 2004, 1996 and 1988.
Success Against Top Teams: The Crusaders have now earned a positive result each of the last two times that they have hosted ranked teams. Valpo’s tie last Sunday against #19/17Michigan State was the first time it had played host to one of the nation’s top-25 teams in over five years. The Crusaders had previously defeated #22 Wisconsin, 2-1, on Sept. 13, 2002.
Schwarz With the Save: Sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Schwarz moved into the top-20 in the nation in saves/game this week. Schwarz is now averaging 5.23 saves/game, good for 19th among all Division I goalkeepers, after making eight saves in the tie with Michigan State. Three of Schwarz’s saves came in a 90-second span late in the second half, including two diving stops to keep the game knotted up at a goal apiece.
Making His Goals Count: Sophomore Steve Shively has found the back of the net eight times in his career, most recently against Michigan State for the game-tying goal. All of Shively’s goals has been big ones, as he has registered five match-winners in his career. Each of the other three goals, including Sunday’s marker against the Spartans, have come in 1-1 ties.
Give These Guys an Assist: Freshman Adrian Ortiz continued to serve as a playmaker for the Crusaders out of the midfield against Michigan State, earning an assist on Shively’s goal. For Ortiz, it was his League-best sixth assist of the season, and he now is tied for third in a single season in Crusader history with six helpers. Ken Perkins received the primary assist on Shively’s goal, his first collegiate point.
Two Fifth-Year Seniors: The Crusaders do not have a large contingent of seniors, with just two on their 32-man roster, but both seniors are in their fifth year of collegiate soccer. Sean McGinnis has filled the backup goalkeeper position well in his time at Valpo and has already registered a shutout in 2007, while Tyler Pagano has started 38 matches in the midfield in his three years as a Crusader, tallying his first goal in a Valpo uniform earlier this year at IPFW.