Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Battle in 2-1 Loss to #22/23 Michigan
Zack Stivers put Valpo ahead with a goal in the 40th minute Sunday. (Ray Acevedo)
Zack Stivers put Valpo ahead with a goal in the 40th minute Sunday. (Ray Acevedo)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

In front of a program-record crowd of 789 fans Sunday evening, Valparaiso took the lead late in the first half against #22/23 Michigan and held it for over 30 minutes, but a pair of Wolverine goals in a two-minute span midway through the second half were the difference, as Michigan came out on top by a 2-1 count.

“I want to thank the crowd for coming out to support the TOCO benefit game,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery.  “We had a really good environment in Brown Field today, and hopefully that is the kind of thing we can continue to grow and make into an advantage for our program.”

The Crusader program teamed up with TOCO on Sunday to kick off its “Sneakers Not Wheelchairs” campaign to help target the diabetes crisis in St. Lucia.  A wrapup of the proceeds netted from the game will be available later, and the Crusaders will continue to accept donations all season long.

“I thought that we played hard and were very competitive today,” said Avery.  “It was not our best soccer of the year, but we certainly showed that we can compete with a team that’s a legitimate top-25 program.  I felt like in the first half, we were very aggressive and created a lot of goal-scoring chances.  But in the second half, it felt like Michigan turned up the heat on us, and I thought at the end of the day, it was a fair result because they were better in the second half.”

The Crusaders and Wolverines played to a pretty even first half, and the game looked like it might head into the break scoreless.  But in the 40th minute, Brendan Roth (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) gained possession in his offensive end and tried to send a through ball towards the goal.  The ball was deflected by a Wolverine defender, but it ended up right at the feet of Zack Stivers (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg), who found himself one-on-one with the Michigan netminder.  The keeper came out to try to cut down the angle, but the junior found the back of the net from about 15 yards out to put Valpo ahead 1-0.

The Crusader lead endured well into the second half despite multiple Michigan chances.  Valpo goalkeeper Ryan Schwarz (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) made a great save on a Michigan attempt into the match’s second hour to keep the Wolverines off the board, coming out of his net on a Michigan 2-on-1 and deflecting the shot attempt to the right of the goal mouth.

Michigan broke through with its first goal of the game in the 71st minute.  Hamoody Saad had possession for the Wolverines on the far side of the field deep into the 18-yard box and attempted a shot that was blocked by a member of the Crusader back line.  But the ricochet went directly to Mauro Fuzetti, who lined up a strike from 12 yards out to the left-hand side of the goal to knot up the match at one apiece.

Less than two minutes later, the Wolverines would tally the eventual match-winner.  Fuzetti found Justin Meram on the right-hand side with space to maneuver and just Schwarz to beat.  Schwarz came out of the net to again try to cut down the Angle, but Meram rattled the ball into the top-left corner of the net to make it 2-1 Michigan.  Valpo had a couple late opportunities for the equalizer, most notably inside the final two minutes on a very nice cross to the middle of the box by Steve Shively (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central), but the Crusaders could not get the ball on net.

Schwarz made five saves in net for the Crusaders, while his Michigan (2-1-0) counterpart, Chris Blais, made two stops for the win.  Nine different Valpo players accounted for its 12 shot attempts, led by three from Roth, while the Wolverines attempted 17 shots and held a 7-3 advantage in shots on goal.

“The great part about this game is that Michigan showed us a lot of things we still need to improve on,” said Avery.  “Because of our schedule, we don’t have much time to worry about tonight’s result, as we’ll be on a plane tomorrow morning to take on another very good side in USF.  So I hope our guys have a short memory and are mature and professional about tonight and use it to prepare for Tuesday’s game.”

Valparaiso (1-1-0) returns to the pitch in less than 48 hours, traveling down to Tampa, Fla. to take on its second ranked foe in three days, as #11/10 South Florida awaits the Brown and Gold.  Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. CDT, and live stats will be available at www.valpoathletics.com.

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 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
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
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
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
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Green Bay
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Valpo