Valparaiso (6-3-1, 0-0-0 Horizon)
Crusaders open Horizon League play on the road
Friday, Sept. 28 - 6 p.m. CDT - at Cleveland State (3-7-0, 0-1-0 Horizon)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso women’s soccer team opens up the 2012 Horizon League slate as it concludes a four-match road trip at Cleveland State Saturday evening. Seven of the Crusaders’ final eight games will be Horizon League contests.
Previously: Valpo earned a split of its California road trip, falling to San Francisco last Friday night before defeating Saint Mary’s (Calif.) on Sunday afternoon, both by identical 1-0 scores. Freshman Jordyn Ryfiak netted the Crusaders’ lone goal of the weekend, while Kristen Manski made four saves in goal over the two matches.
The Road Ahead: The Crusaders start off a stretch of five home games over the next six on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 6 as Valpo hosts Milwaukee in league play. Three days later, on Homecoming Saturday, the Crusaders will take on Detroit at Eastgate Field.
Following the Crusaders: Live stats for the Cleveland State match will be available through a link on www.valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach John Marovich: John Marovich holds a 40-32-15 record both overall and with Valpo in his fifth season at the helm of the Brown and Gold. Just the third head coach in program history, Marovich has the best winning percentage (.546) ever at Valpo, and ranks second in total victories.
Series Notes: Valparaiso owns a 7-1-0 advantage in the all-time series over Cleveland State, winning the first six meetings before the Vikings won in 2010. Valpo earned the most recent result, a 1-0 victory last season in Valparaiso, on the back of an 88th minute goal by Mikki Nuccio. Backup goalkeeper Rachel DeFrank started and made three saves to earn the shutout.
Scouting the Opposition: Cleveland State enters Friday night’s contest at 3-7-0 on the season, and opened Horizon League play two games back with a 1-0 loss to Loyola. The Crusaders and Vikings faced three common opponents in non-league play (IUPUI, Kent State, Bowling Green), a group Valpo went 2-0-1 against and CSU 2-1-0. The Vikings’ offense, which has found the back of the net 14 times through ten games, is led by Vickie Havas (4g, 4a) and Jaime Avona (3g). Sarah Wood has played just shy of 70% of the minutes in goal and boasts a 1.71 GAA.
Crusaders Picked Third in Preseason Poll: The head coaches selected Valparaiso to finish in third place in the Horizon League this season according to the preseason poll. Only Detroit and Milwaukee, which shared the top spot in the poll, were projected ahead of the Crusaders.
Looking Back at 2011: Last season’s Crusader squad posted an 8-6-5 record, including a 4-2-2 mark in Horizon League play to finish in third place in the league. Defense was Valpo’s calling card, as the Crusaders surrendered just 19 goals in 19 games, including nine shutouts, just one shy of the program single-season record. The Crusaders finished with a winning record for the seventh time in the last eight years.
Keeping Opponents Off the Scoreboard: Valparaiso ranks among the nation’s best teams in keeping the opposition from finding the back of the net. The Crusaders have posted six shutouts in 10 matches, good for a shutout percentage of 60%, which is tied for 17th nationally. Valpo’s team GAA of 0.59 ranks inside the top-20 nationwide as well. Individually, Kristen Manski’s 0.59 GAA is good for 24th in the nation. Valpo has stepped up the defense recently, surrendering just one goal in its last five matches.
Manski Earns Honors, Moving Up Charts: Manski was named the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 10, her first career weekly honor, after posting a pair of shutouts between the pipes. Manski stopped six shots in the win over Western Michigan and made a pair of saves against Bowling Green. Her shutout last Sunday of Saint Mary’s was her sixth of the season, already tied for fourth-most in a single year in program history and giving her 18 career clean sheets, just two shy of the career record.
Ryfiak With the Winner: Freshman Jordyn Ryfiak came up with the match-winning goal in just the eighth minute of the game at Saint Mary’s on Sunday, finishing a rebound from tight range. It marked the second career goal for Ryfiak, who also tallied earlier this year versus Bowling Green, and her first career game-winner. Fellow rookie Jenny Fassbinder picked up the assist on the winner for her first career point as well.
Golden Goal for Craven: Freshman Rita Craven made her first career goal a memorable one, as she tallied the match-winner in the overtime win over the Mastodons on Sept. 16. Four of the five goals scored by Crusader freshmen so far this year have now been either match-winning or tying tallies, as Sarrah Ludwig earned the match-winner versus Bowling Green and knotted up late in the draw with Kent State.
Playing Every Game: Valpo has maintained a fairly consistent starting lineup through the first half of the 2012 season, as nine players have been part of the Starting XI every time out for the Crusaders. In all, 14 players have seen action in each of the first 10 games for Valpo this season. Three players - defenders Tara Ellis and Janine Lytle and goalkeeper Kristen Manski - have not come off the pitch at all, playing all 922 minutes to date. For Lytle, it extends an impressive streak, as the senior has come off the field for just 31 minutes total through her first 3 1/2 years.
Desario Leads the Offense: The first Crusader to score multiple goals on the season, senior Luisa Desario found the back of the net for the third time in 2012 with an insurance goal in the win over Western Michigan. Desario, who picked up the match-winning goal in the season opener against IUPUI and also scored against Iowa, continues her march up the Crusader career charts in a number of categories, as she is now alone in fourth in career points (41), fifth in career goals (17) and tied for fifth in match-winning goals (6).