Valparaiso at IPFW - Tuesday, Oct. 20 - 6 p.m. CDT
Valparaiso at Milwaukee - Saturday, Oct. 24 - 7 p.m.
Coming Up for the Crusaders: Valparaiso steps out of league play to begin a three-game road trip on Tuesday, taking on IPFW, before traveling to Milwaukee on Saturday for a key Horizon League battle against the Panthers.
The Matchups: Valpo (6-6-1, 2-2-1 HL) owns an 11-3 edge in the all-time series over IPFW (4-9-2) and downed the Mastodons last year at Eastgate Field on Oct. 19 by a 3-1 count. Steve Shively notched the eventual match-winner for the Crusaders, who also got tallies from Zack Stivers and Jake Freisinger during the match.
The Crusaders are just 0-1-2 all-time against Milwaukee (3-8-2, 2-2-2 HL), but the two matchups since Valpo joined the Horizon League have both been draws, including a 2-2 tie in Valparaiso last year on Sept. 26. Andrew Stewart and Oscar Lomeli scored the goals for the Crusaders, who looked on their way to a victory until the Panthers scored with 54 seconds to play to force overtime and the eventual draw.
Previously: Valpo became just the second side this season to defeat Horizon League leader Green Bay, as the Crusaders bounced back after giving up the equilizer late in regulation to score the match-winner in the 98th minute for a 3-2 victory. Brendan Roth came up with the deciding goal for Valpo, which also got scores from Sam Haines and Roby Del Giudice. Del Giudice tallied an assist as well, one of five Crusaders to record a helper on the day, while Ryan Schwarz stopped six shots in net in the winning effort.
Following the Crusaders: The sports staff at Valparaiso’s campus radio station, WVUR 95.1 FM, will not be broadcasting either of the Crusaders’ games this week. However, both contests will have live stats available, with links on the Crusader official website at www.valpoathletics.com.
No Margin for Error: All five of Valparaiso’s Horizon League games this year have either been ties or one-goal games, continuing a trend the Crusaders have seen since joining the league prior to the 2007 campaign. Valpo has played 21 league matches over the past two and a half years, 18 of which have ended as either ties or one-goal decisions.
Fighting for Tournament Position: This year, for the first time, only the top six teams in the Horizon League standings will advance to the league championship, making each league contest that much more important. The Crusaders currently are in a three-way tie for fifth place with seven points, just one point out of third place.
Plenty of Depth: The depth within the Crusader program can be seen tangibly with just a quick glance at this year’s statistics. 23 players have seen time on the pitch this season for Valpo, with 18 of those players appearing in at least ten of the Crusaders’ 13 games. In addition, 20 players in all have earned at least one starting assignment on the season.
Shively Moving Up the Chart: Senior forward Steve Shively broke into Valpo’s all-time top-ten in goals scored with his goal earlier this season against Butler. Shively entered his senior year with 13 goals, and combined with a two-goal effort at Wright State, now has 16 career markers, putting him in a four-way tie for eighth place on the Crusaders’ all-time goals scored chart. The senior has also matched his career best with ten points on the season, and is just four points shy of breaking into Valpo’s all-time points chart as well.
Roby Wreaks Havoc: Junior Roby Del Giudice had the best match of his career for the Crusaders in their victory over the Phoenix. Del Giudice, who entered the game with just one goal in Valpo’s first 12 games, tallied his second marker of the season early in the second half against Green Bay and then picked up the primary assist on the match-winner in overtime.
Haines Finds the Net: Freshman Sam Haines scored his first career goal against Green Bay on Saturday late in the first half on a header in the box. He became the eighth different goal scorer for Valpo this season, six of whom had not scored in a Crusader kit entering the year.
Stivers Leading the Way: Junior Zack Stivers has led the Crusader offense this year. Stivers, whose most recent tally came on a PK against Bowling Green, has five goals on the season, tied for fourth among all Horizon League players. He has also registered a pair of assists on the season, giving him a team-high 12 points, good for fourth in the league.
Plenty of Helpers: Five different Crusaders registered assists on Valpo’s three goals against Green Bay Saturday. In addition to Del Giudice and Shively, Rodolfo Lucas, Clayton Lyons and Chadd Sult all tallied helpers in the win over the Phoenix. It was the first time that five Valpo athletes had tallied assists in the same game since a quintet of Crusaders achieved the feat in a 5-4 win over Evansville on Aug. 27, 2006.
Iron Men: Two Crusaders have been a part of Valpo’s 11 men on the field every second this year to date. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Ryan Schwarz and junior Adrian Ortiz, who has shifted between defense and midfield this season, have both stayed on the pitch for all 1207:44 of Crusader action this year.