Valparaiso (2-4-1, 0-0-0 MVC)
Sunday, Sept. 16 - at IUPUI (2-4-2, 0-0-0 Horizon) - noon CT
This Week in Valpo Soccer: The Valparaiso University women’s soccer team faces its final tune-up before the start of Missouri Valley Conference play as it makes the trip to Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon for a non-conference meeting with IUPUI.
Previously: Valpo dropped a pair of road matches last weekend in the state of Tennessee, falling 4-0 at Middle Tennessee State and 1-0 at Belmont.
Looking Ahead: Valpo opens MVC play at Brown Field on Sunday, Sept. 23 as it hosts last season’s regular season champion in Drake.
Following the Brown and Gold: Sunday’s match is scheduled for live broadcast on ESPN+. Live stats will be available as well, with links for all the live coverage available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach John Marovich: The 2014 Horizon League Coach of the Year, John Marovich holds an 93-76-28 (.543) record both overall and with Valpo entering his 11th season at the helm of the Brown and Gold. Just the third head coach in program history, Marovich holds Valpo’s all-time records for victories and winning percentage.
Series Notes: The third-most common opponent in program history, Valpo and IUPUI will be meeting for the 20th time on the pitch on Sunday. Valpo holds an 11-4-4 advantage in the all-time series, including a 2-0 win last season at Brown Field, and is 8-1-3 against the Jaguars in the last 12 matchups. The teams have met every season since 1998, except for the 2015 campaign.
Valpo Picked Sixth in Preseason Poll: Valpo has been chosen to finish in sixth place in the MVC preseason poll, as voted on by the conference’s head coaches. Valpo totaled 24 points in the preseason polling. Loyola picked up five first-place votes en route to topping the poll, while Missouri State (two first-place votes) and UNI (one first-place vote) were tabbed second and third, respectively.
Looking Back at 2017: Valpo is coming off of a 9-10-0 record in 2017 and posted a 3-4-0 mark in Missouri Valley Conference play, good for a tie for fifth place. Cory Griffith was a First Team All-MVC selection and earned Third Team All-Region honors after matching Valpo’s single-season record with 11 goals scored. Five Valpo players in all received postseason recognition from the MVC, as Sydney Griffin, Kelsey Jahn and Grace Rogers were Honorable Mention All-Conference and Keegan Maris earned a spot on the conference’s All-Freshman Team.
Snap the Skid: Valpo will be attempting to avoid a three-match losing streak when it takes the field on Sunday in Indianapolis. The program hasn’t suffered a three-match losing streak since opening the 2009 season with consecutive losses to Morehead State, Michigan and Northern Illinois. In fact, that losing streak is the only time Valpo has lost three straight since the start of the 2004 campaign.
Grab the Momentum: With Sunday’s contest serving as the program’s final match before the start of MVC action, Valpo looks to enter conference play on a high note. The last three seasons, Valpo is 0-2-1 in its final match before the beginning of conference action. The last time Valpo claimed a victory in its final pre-conference fixture was the 2014 season, when the Brown and Gold defeated Eastern Illinois to kick off a 12-match winning streak.
The Record-Setting Performance: Cory Griffith broke Valpo’s single-match record by scoring an NCAA D-I season-high four goals in the win over Robert Morris, carrying Valpo to a 4-2 victory. She scored all four of her goals in a 28-minute stretch spanning the two halves, netting a first-half perfect hat trick before closing out her scoring with a 48th-minute goal. Griffith, who is the only player in Valpo history with multiple hat tricks during her career and also broke the program’s single-match record for points, now owns Valpo’s career match-winning goals record with 11 and ranks second in program history in career goals (26) and third in career points (58).
Bringing in the Honors: With her record-setting performance against Robert Morris came a pair of accolades for Griffith. She was named the MVC Offensive Player of the Week - her first weekly award from a league office since being named Horizon League Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 31, 2016. Griffith was also named to the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week, the first Valpo player to be represented on the 11-player weekly squad since the website’s inception.
Iron Woman: Another weekend with two matches meant another 180 minutes of action for junior Ali Quillen last weekend. Quillen continued her run of consecutive minutes played in the pair of games in Tennessee, going the full 90 in both fixtures. She has played all 650 minutes for Valpo this year over the season’s first seven matches. Quillen has now gone the distance in 41 of 45 career matches and is currently on a streak of 1,287 consecutive minutes played.
Making the Step Up: Valpo faced a giant step up in conference competition last season as it made the move from the Horizon League to the Missouri Valley Conference. The Crusaders jumped from the nation’s 28th-ranked league in 2016 to the nation’s 12th-ranked conference in 2017. The average team RPI in the MVC in 2017 was 85 spots better than the average team RPI in the Horizon League the previous year. This upgrade in competition allowed Valpo to finish the 2017 campaign 57 spots higher in the RPI despite posting the same win-loss record as the previous season.
An Experienced Group: Valpo welcomes back nine of its 11 regular starters from last year’s campaign and 20 letterwinners in all, including players who combined for 26 of the Crusaders’ 28 goals last season and every minute at goalkeeper.