Valparaiso (8-6-3, 2-3-2 Horizon)
Crusaders return to Detroit for second time in two weeks
Tuesday, Nov. 5 - at Detroit (10-7-1, 4-3-0 Horizon) - 1 p.m. CT
This Week in Crusader Soccer: Valparaiso kicks off the 2013 Horizon League Championship on Tuesday afternoon, as the fifth-seeded Crusaders travel to Detroit to take on the fourth-seeded Titans in first-round action.
Previously: After learning earlier in the day that it had secured a berth into the Horizon League Championship, the Valparaiso women's soccer team closed out the regular season on Friday night at Brown Field by battling to a 1-1 (2ot) draw with Green Bay. Freshman April Cronin netted her first career goal in the 23rd minute to tie the match.
Following the Crusaders: Links for live stats and live video via the Horizon League Network will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach John Marovich: John Marovich holds a 52-41-20 record both overall and with Valpo in his sixth season at the helm of the Brown and Gold. Just the third head coach in program history, Marovich has the best winning percentage (.549) ever at Valpo, and ranks second in total victories.
Series Notes: The Titans own a 7-3-0 advantage in the all-time series over the Crusaders, and it was Detroit which won the regular season meeting between the two sides on Oct. 26, 2-0, on the strength of two first-half goals. Tuesday’s meeting will be the first between the two squads in postseason play.
Scouting the Opposition: Detroit enters the Horizon League Championship with a 10-7-1 overall record and finished the league slate at 4-3-0, good for a tie for third place. The Titans tallied 32 goals during the regular season, led by six goals from Alyssa Riley and five apiece from Kaitlyn Quarrell and Jennifer Borawski. Martha Dunbar played most of the minutes in goal for Detroit this season, posting a 1.15 GAA and seven shutouts.
Crusaders Picked Fifth in Preseason Poll: The head coaches selected Valparaiso to finish in fifth place in the Horizon League this season according to the preseason poll. Detroit was picked to win the league, while Valpo was just seven points behind second-place Wright State.
Looking Back at 2012: Last season’s Crusader squad posted a 10-6-3 record, including a 3-2-2 mark in Horizon League action, en route to not only becoming the stingiest team in program history, but also pacing the nation defensively. Valpo’s team GAA of 0.51 led all Division I programs, the first national statistical championship for the women’s soccer program, while the Crusaders also set a new program single-season record with 11 shutouts.
Crusaders in the Championship: Since joining the Horizon League, Valparaiso is 2-3-2 in the Horizon League Championship, but has advanced past the first round just once, when it made the title game in 2009 following wins over Green Bay (2-0) and Wright State (2-1) before falling to Milwaukee. The two times the Crusaders have drawn their first round game (2008, 2011), they have failed to advance on penalty kicks. Last season, the Crusaders hosted Loyola in the opening round, but fell by a 1-0 final.
Manski Leads the League: Senior goalkeeper Kristen Manski ended the regular season atop the Horizon League in both goals against average (0.78) and shutouts (8), leading the league in both categories for the second straight season. Both marks rank third on Valpo’s single-season charts as well. Manski will end her Crusader career with at least 30 shutouts, pending tournament play, which ranks second all-time in the Horizon League annals, while her career GAA of 0.85 currently ranks fifth in league history.
Pushing Forward: While Manski is the only Crusader to rank among the league leaders individually, Valpo does pace the circuit in a pair of team offensive categories. The Crusaders earned 96 corner kicks over their 17 regular season matches, the average of 5.75 corners/match nearly a full corner per contest more than the second-place team. Valpo also leads the league in offsides, getting caught off 32 times over 17 games.
Spreading the Wealth: While the Crusaders have scored just 16 goals in 17 games this season, numerous players have gotten in on the scoring. Ten different players have scored the 16 goals, including most recently freshman April Cronin finding the back of the net for the game-tying goal against Green Bay on Friday, the first career goal for Cronin. The Crusaders have also had 15 total assists on the 16 markers, which have come from 11 different players. In all, 16 of the 23 Crusaders who have played this year have at least one point.
Youth Shall Be Served: Senior Hailey Chmela has scored two goals for the Crusaders this year, but take her pair of tallies away, and all 13 of the remaining goals (not counting an own goal) have been scored by underclassmen for Valpo. Sophomores have scored seven goals for Valpo, led by three from Jenny Fassbinder, while five different freshmen have combined for six goals.
Staying on the Field: While just four Crusaders have started every game in 2013, two of them - goalkeeper Kristen Manski and defender Tara Ellis - have not come off the park for a single second, playing all 1,613 minutes this season. In fact, Ellis, after playing just 342 minutes combined in her first two seasons at Valpo, has sat for just 45 minutes over the last two years while playing over 55 hours of soccer.
Big Victories: The Crusaders have won a pair of games over BCS opponents this season. Valpo lifted the lid on the 2013 campaign with a win over DePaul, the Crusaders’ first-ever win over a team from any power conference (Big East). Then, Northwestern came to Brown Field on Sept. 5 and left 1-0 losers, as Valpo won its first-ever game over a Big Ten squad.