*Green Bay at Valparaiso - Wednesday, Sept. 26 - 4 p.m.
*Valparaiso at Milwaukee - Saturday, Sept. 29 - 7 p.m.
The Matchups: Valparaiso continues its first season of Horizon League play with the middle portion of a four-match League stretch, hosting Green Bay on Wednesday before traveling to Milwaukee on Saturday. The Phoenix own a 7-1 record in the all-time series against the Crusaders, while the Panthers won the only previous matchup between the two institutions. However, Valpo has not faced either team since 1993.
Last Meetings: Green Bay downed the Crusaders 7-0 at Eastgate Field in Mid-Con action on Nov. 3, 1993. Valpo goalie Craig Schemahorn made four saves in the losing effort.
Milwaukee defeated Valpo in the Crusaders’ Mid-Con opener on Oct. 17, 1993 at Eastgate Field, 7-0. Schemahorn stopped eight shots for the Brown and Gold, while striker Steve Robertson fired three shots to pace the Crusaders offensively.
Last Week: The Crusaders downed former Mid-Con foe Western Illinois in Macomb on Friday, 2-1, before falling to Horizon League rival Butler on Sunday, 4-1. Valpo came from behind against the Leathernecks, as Eniola Solomon scored in the 44th minute and Steve Shively took a feed from Zack Stivers for the match-winner in the 58th minute. Ryan Schwarz made four saves to earn his first win of the season. Against the Bulldogs, the Crusaders trailed by just one goal at the half, but Butler would add two more goals before Stivers converted on a penalty kick for Valpo’s only goal.
On The Air: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) will carry both of the Crusaders’ games this weekend live over the airwaves. 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.
League Games on Horizon: Already two games into the Horizon League slate, Valparaiso has three more League contests coming up in the next eight days, culminating with an October 3 trip to Detroit. The Crusaders will be five games into their eight-game League slate before any other squad has played two loop contests. Valpo will then have a 25-day break from League play in which they will play three non-conference games, before closing out the regular season with three HL contests in a six-day span.
First-Half Defense: Valparaiso has excelled defensively in the opening 45 minutes of its games this year. Through eight games, the Crusaders have given up just three goals in the first half of play: one apiece to N.C. State, Western Illinois and Butler. Against the Wolfpack and the Leathernecks, the Crusaders responded with a goal prior to halftime to knot up the game. Valpo trailed the Bulldogs 1-0 at the half, the first time Valpo has trailed at halftime this season.
Shively Keeps Scoring: Sophomore defender Steve Shively has been a big part of the Crusader offense over their past few matches. Shively, who scored four goals as a freshman, registered his first tally of the season against Loyola on four shots. He followed last Friday against Western Illinois with three shot attempts, all on goal, the third of which found the back of the net in the 58th minute for the eventual match-winner, the fifth such goal of his career. He is currently tied for the team lead with four points and leads the Crusaders with 12 shot attempts, seven of which have been on frame.
Helping Hand: Halfway through his freshman campaign, midfielder Adrian Ortiz is just one assist shy of breaking into Valpo’s single-season top-10 in the category. Ortiz has already racked up four helpers this season, tallying one against N.C. State and two versus IPFW. Most recently, the freshman registered the secondary assist on Valpo’s goal against Loyola. Ortiz currently ranks second in the league with his four assists and is among the nation’s top-40 in the category.
Stivers Steps Up: Freshman midfielder Zack Stivers had a good week on the offensive side of the ball for the Crusaders last week. Stivers registered his first career point on Friday, assisting on Shively’s match-winner at Western Illinois. He followed on Sunday with a successful conversion on a penalty kick for his first career goal. His three points on the season is third-best on the team.
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 36 matches in the midfield in his three years as a Crusader, tallying his first goal in a Valpo uniform earlier this year at IPFW.