Valparaiso (3-6-1, 0-2-0 MVC)
Wednesday, Oct. 3 - UIC (2-11-0, 1-3-0 Horizon) - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 7 - at Illinois State (6-5-2, 1-1-0 MVC) - 1 p.m.
This Week in Valpo Soccer: The Valparaiso University women’s soccer team closes out non-conference play on Wednesday at Brown Field as it hosts UIC at 7:30 p.m. The match against the Flames will be the program’s annual pancreatic cancer awareness match, with the team auctioning off purple uniforms to raise money for the fight against pancreatic cancer.
Valpo then starts a five-match MVC run to the end of the regular season on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Illinois State.
Previously: For the second straight match to open MVC play, the Valparaiso University women’s soccer team came out on the wrong end of a 1-0 decision, this time falling by one goal at Evansville Saturday night.
Looking Ahead: Three of Valpo’s final four matches of the year will be at Brown Field, starting with a Saturday night match on Oct. 13 against Missouri State.
Following the Brown and Gold: Both matches this week will be broadcast live 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 94-78-28 (.540) record both overall and with Valpo in 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: UIC - Valpo owns a perfect 3-0-0 record against the Flames, who added women’s soccer prior to the 2014 season. Valpo earned a 3-1 win in 2015 in the only previous meeting on Brown Field.
Illinois State - Valpo is 0-6-0 all-time against the Redbirds, but the two sides hadn’t met for a decade until last season’s MVC contest - a 1-0 victory for Illinois State.
Valpo Picked Sixth in Preseason Poll: Valpo was picked 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.
Looking For a Conference Win: Valpo fell to 0-2-0 in MVC play with the loss at Evansville on Saturday, just the third time in the tenure of head coach John Marovich that Valpo has started conference action with consecutive losses. The 2008 and 2010 sides both won their third league match of the year after starting league play 0-2-0.
Snap the Skid: Valpo will be attempting to avoid a three-match losing streak when it takes the field on Wednesday for its non-conference finale against UIC. 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.
Plenty of Chances: While Valpo has scored just nine goals through its first 10 matches this season, it hasn’t been for lack of trying. Valpo is averaging 13.60 shots per match, totaling 136 shot attempts so far this year - 66 of which have been on goal. Valpo is out-shooting its opponents by better than three shots per match and has only been out-shot by its opponents in two of 10 matches.
Multiple Match-Winners: Senior Ava Porlier has made both of her goals this season count, as she has now tallied the match-winning goal in Valpo’s wins over Green Bay and IUPUI - both of which came in the final 10 minutes of regulation. Prior to this year, Porlier had scored in just one match in her career - a two-goal game against Western Michigan in 2016.
The Record-Setting Performance: Senior 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.
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: Junior Ali Quillen made it 928 minutes played this season as she went the full 90 at Evansville, as she has not come off the park in any of Valpo’s 10 matches this year. Quillen has now gone the distance in 44 of 48 career matches and is currently on a streak of 1,565 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.