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Crusaders Win Season Opener in Style
Friday, August 25, 2006Freshman Steve Shively's (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) first career goal was a match-winner, giving the Crusaders a season-opening win for just the second time in the last 16 years, and leading Valpo to a 2-0 win over DePaul Friday night at Eastgate Field.
The Brown and Gold last won a season opener in 2001 after dropping the first nine under Head Coach Mis' Mrak. But Valpo reversed the trend Friday, picking up right where the 2005 team left off, with a shutout. Last season, the Crusaders set a school record by posting six shutouts.
Shively's winning goal came in only the ninth minute, when Paul Leitlet (Munster, Ind./Munster) found Jon Brighton (Warner Robins, Ga./Houston County) on the wing and Brighton played a perfect cross into the box for the freshman. Shively, who drew a starting assignment in his collegiate debut, scored on the first, and so far only, shot of his career.
The Crusaders struck again the 54th minute when Tyler Pagano (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein) bluffed on a free kick from just outside the box and Leitelt snuck in from behind to power the ball past DePaul keeper Brian Visser. Leitelt, just a sophomore, now has five career goals, the third highest total among all active Crusaders.
Another freshman, Ryan Schwarz (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic), played all 90 minutes between the pipes, earning the victory, and made four saves for the first shutout of his young career.
The Blue Demons (0-1-0) out-shot Valpo 18-9, but put only four of their 18 shots on goal and lost on the road for the 21st straight match. Visser made two saves and took the defeat in goal.
Valpo (1-0-0) will be back in action on Sunday in the first half of a Crusader soccer doubleheader. The men will take on Evansville at 12:30 p.m. at Eastgate Field, and the women will follow with a 3:00 p.m. match against Loyola (Chicago). Both contests can be heard live on 95.1 FM, WVUR, and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.