Valparaiso (2-2-1, 0-0-0 Horizon)
Friday, Sept. 16 - 7:30 p.m. - IUPUI (1-4-1)
Sunday, Sept. 18 - 1 p.m. CDT - at Western Michigan (1-4-0)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso men’s soccer team returns home for the first time since the season opener Friday evening, hosting former Mid-Con foe IUPUI at Brown Field. The Crusaders then travel to Western Michigan for a Sunday afternoon game, the last before the start of Horizon League play.
Wrapping Up Last Week: The Crusaders took second place at the NIU adidas Invitational in DeKalb, Ill. last weekend, splitting a pair of games. Valpo fell on Friday to host Northern Illinois, which entered the weekend ranked 20th nationally, 1-0, but rebounded for a win by the same score on Sunday over Northwestern.
Following the Crusaders: Friday's match against the Jaguars is slated to be the first of six video webcasts, including four from Brown Field, broadcast live on the Horizon League Network this season. Live stats for both matches this weekend will be available through www.valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach Mike Avery: Mike Avery returns for his fifth season at the helm of the Crusaders’ men’s soccer program after leading Valpo to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in program history. Avery, who currently owns 31 victories as head coach at Valpo, led the Crusaders to a 9-8-2 record last season, matching the second-most wins in a single season all-time at Valpo.
Series Notes: IUPUI - Crusaders lead series 10-6-1 (2-1-0 under Avery); last meeting 1-0 Valpo @ IUPUI 9/17/10 (Zack Stivers 93’ [Kevin Miller assist]; Kyle Zobeck 45 minutes, 1 save; Ryan Schwarz 48 minutes, 1 save, W)
Western Michigan - Crusaders trail series 7-11-1 (3-1-0 under Avery); last meeting 4-0 Valpo @ Valpo 10/20/10 (Stivers 27’, 73’ [Roby Del Giudice, Chadd Sult assists], Adrian Ortiz 66’ [Jake Freisinger assist], Guy Shabtay 74’ [Lior Avisror assist], Schwarz 2 saves)
Scouting the Opposition: IUPUI - The Jaguars enter this weekend at 1-4-1 and have not won since a season-opening victory over Liberty. Four different IUPUI players have scored the squad’s four goals this year, with Kyle Hyland and Perez Agaba tied for team-high honors with three points apiece. Tyler Keever has played every minute in goal and owns a 1.83 GAA.
Western Michigan - The Broncos enter this week with a 1-4-0 record, but are coming off a victory over Loyola last Sunday. The game against the Crusaders will be the third straight against Horizon League foes for Western Michigan. Shane Lyons has found the back of the net three times to pace the Broncos, who have tallied eight total goals this year. Matt Murrell and Sean Lewis have each appeared in three games in goal, with the former having a 1.73 GAA.
Better Late Than Never: Valpo’s winning goal against Northwestern came just in the nick of time, as senior Chadd Sult found the back of the net on a feed from sophomore Todd Vervynckt with just 17 seconds remaining. For Sult, it was his second career tally, while Vervynckt now owns a team-best five points on the season through five games.
All-Tournament Selections: Both Sult and Vervynckt earned a spot on the NIU adidas Invitational All-Tournament Team after teaming up for the match-winner against the Wildcats, and were joined on the squad by fifth-year senior Stefan Antonijevic. It marked the third career All-Tournament honor for Antonijevic and second in as many weeks, as both he and junior Kevin Miller received All-Tournament recognition at the Duquesne Invitational.
Spreading the Wealth: Sult’s goal made him the ninth different Crusader to find the back of the net already this season as Valpo has tallied 11 goals, tied for 27th nationally in scoring offense. Only Vervynckt and junior Jaymie Bullard have scored multiple times for Valpo so far this year. The nine different goal scorers already has surpassed the number of unique goal scorers the Crusaders had in 2010.
Record-Setting Performance: The Crusaders opened the season with a bang on Aug. 26, scoring eight goals in the 8-0 victory over Calumet. The eight goals marked a new program record for goals in a single game; previously seven, which was accomplished twice, most recently in 1995. The eight-goal winning margin also set a new team record in that category.
A First Time For Everything: Five of Valpo’s eight goal scorers against the Crimson Wave tallied their first career goals. Gerardo Avelar, Charles Barden, Clayton Lyons, Todd Vervynckt and Stipo Zeba all netted for the first time in their careers against Calumet, with Avelar getting off the mark in his debut. In addition, a trio of Crusaders picked up their first career assist in Zeba, Jordan Lewis and Andy Lynn.
Looking Back at 2010: The Crusaders continued their momentum moving forward as a program on the rise in 2010, finishing last season with a 9-8-2 record. By finishing a game above .500, Valpo secured back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in program history. It was also a historic season defensively for the Crusaders, as they matched a program best by surrendering just 16 goals in the 19 contests.
Crusaders Picked Fourth in Preseason Poll: The head coaches selected Valparaiso to finish in a tie for fourth place in the Horizon League this season according to the preseason poll. Only Butler, Cleveland State and Milwaukee were projected ahead of the Crusaders.
Plenty of Experience Returns: The Crusaders bring an experienced side into the 2011 season, as 19 letterwinners return from a season ago. The majority of the starting XI returns intact as well, while there are also plenty of upperclassmen for the underclassmen to learn from, as Valpo has nine seniors and ten juniors on its roster.