Valpo at DePaul - Friday, Sept. 14 - 4 p.m.
Valpo vs. Loyola (Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.) - Sunday, Sept. 16 - 3:30 p.m.
The Matchups: Valparaiso continues play this week with the middle portion of a four-game trip away from home, as the Crusaders travel to Chicago twice. Valpo will face off against DePaul on Friday afternoon before becoming the first Crusader team to play in a Horizon League contest in any sport, taking on Loyola at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. on Sunday afternoon. Valpo is 6-10-3 all-time against the Blue Demons and 2-10-1 versus the Ramblers.
Last Meetings: Valparaiso kicked off the 2006 season with a 2-0 victory at Eastgate Field over DePaul on Aug. 25, 2006. In his first collegiate match, Steve Shively notched the eventual game-winner in the ninth minute. Paul Leitelt, who assisted on Shively’s marker, added an insurance tally in the second half. Freshman Ryan Schwarz made four saves for the shutout in his first game.
Loyola took a hard-fought 1-0 game against the Crusaders at Eastgate Field on Oct. 31, 2003. The teams played a scoreless first half before the Ramblers found the back of the net early in the second stanza. Jeff Oleck made seven saves for Valpo, which tallied 16 shots on the day.
Last Weekend: The Crusaders split a pair of matches last weekend, opening the five-match Eastgate Field home slate with a 3-0 victory over IPFW before falling at Evansville, 4-0. Yuuki Guzman tallied a goal and an assist against the Mastodons, while Adrian Ortiz helped on two of the three goals. Sean McGinnis made three saves in the win for his third career shutout.
On The Air: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) will carry Sunday’s matchup against Loyola at Toyota Park, with Matt Engelbrecht and Adam Amin on the call. 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.
Scheduling Quirk: Valparaiso’s game against Loyola on Sunday will be the first of five Horizon League games in a 17-day span for the Crusaders. Valpo will have played five of its eight games in the League loop before any other squad has played two. In addition, after Valpo’s October 3 match versus Detroit, the Brown and Gold will not see another League foe until October 28.
Helping Hand: Freshman midfielder Adrian Ortiz has already made a significant impact on this year’s Crusader squad. Ortiz assisted on Mario Diaz’s tally in the opener against N.C. State, and followed last Friday with helpers on Valpo’s first and third goals in the win over IPFW. With the three assists, Ortiz is already just two helpers shy of breaking into Valpo’s single-season top-10 in the category. He currently leads the Horizon League with his three helpers, and is tied for ninth in the nation with 0.75 assists/game.
Back of the Net: Fifth-year senior Tyler Pagano scored two goals while playing at UMass in 2004, but in his first two seasons as a member of the Crusader team, had not been able to find the back of the net out of the midfield. That changed last Friday against IPFW, as Pagano collected a loose ball in the box after a corner kick in the 11th minute and put it across the line for the eventual game-winner.
Stepping In: Junior midfielder Yuuki Guzmán, who started just two matches in his first two seasons, has been a part of the starting 11 in each of the last three games. Guzmán had a career game Friday against IPFW, starting with an assist on Oscar Lomeli’s insurance goal and adding a goal of his own, only his second career tally, in the 37th minute. It was the first three-point game by a Crusader since J.J. Eschenburg had a goal and an assist on Sept. 8, 2006 against Western Michigan.
Big O: Junior forward Oscar Lomeli, who transferred to Valpo from Bethel [Ind.] prior to this season, has made his mark on the Crusader offense through four matches. Lomeli scored his first goal of the season Friday against IPFW. He is currently tied for the team lead with three points and leads all Crusaders with six shots.
Last Line of Defense: Sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Schwarz, who recorded four shutouts and six victories in his freshman campaign, has already made 20 saves through three matches this year, including nine saves against #4/3 Duke, and ranks 11th in the nation with his 6.67 saves/game. His backup, Sean McGinnis, also has proven to be capable in net, registering his third career shutout last Friday against IPFW, making three saves while lowering his career GAA to 1.40.
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 while Tyler Pagano has started 30 matches in the midfield in his two years with the Crusaders.