2006 Valpo Men's Soccer Season in Review
LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN: Valparaiso came out victorious seven times in 2006, the most wins by a Crusader team in nearly a decade. The seven wins tied for the third-best single-season total in program history, and is the most wins since the 1997 squad won eight matches. In addition, the Crusaders started the season with three consecutive wins, matching the 1987 team for the most victories to start a season in program history, and went 4-1-0 through their first five games, the best mark through five games in Valpo history.
ON THE AIR: WVUR, The Source 95.1 FM, Valparaiso University's campus radio station, carried eight men's soccer matches in 2006 live over the airwaves and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.
FINAL WEEK: The Crusaders missed out on a chance to participate in their second consecutive Mid-Continent Conference Championship, falling 5-1 to Western Illinois in the regular season finale. D.J. Catrow netted Valpo's lone goal in the game. Earlier in the week, Valpo closed out its home campaign with a non-conference matchup at Eastgate Field, losing 1-0 to Eastern Illinois. The Crusader seniors were honored before the game.
PROGRAM REACHING NEW HEIGHTS: Valpo recorded a program-first this season, as the Crusader men's soccer team broke into the Great Lakes Region top-10 on September 5. The Crusaders spent six weeks in the rankings, from their debut through October 10, and peaked at number six on the poll.
GETTING IT DONE OUT OF CONFERENCE: The Crusaders tallied five non-conference victories in 2006, including wins over teams from the Big East (DePaul), Missouri Valley (Evansville) and Mid-American (Western Michigan). Valpo's five out of conference wins match its best non-conference output since joining the AMCU, the predecessor to the Mid-Continent Conference, prior to the 1988 campaign.
ONE FINAL TIME: Valparaiso finished its final season as a member of the Mid-Continent Conference in 2006, as the Crusaders are moving to the Horizon League for the start of next season. The Crusaders registered two regular season championships and one tournament title during their years as a member of the Mid-Con. Valpo's final conference slate was highlighted by a victory over Oral Roberts, the Crusaders' first since 1998.
DYNAMIC D.J.: D.J. Catrow played just three seasons as a Crusader, but his performance over those three years has left its mark on the Valpo record books. Catrow became the first Crusader in five seasons to earn first team All Mid-Con accolades after leading Valpo with six goals, 15 points, and 50 shots in 2006. His six goals ranked seventh in the Mid-Con, while his 15 points was good for eighth and 50 shots was third-best in the league. Catrow, who was named to the Mid-Con second team in each of his previous two seasons, became the first Crusader since Aaron Rhame (1995-98) to earn at least three All-Conference accolades. Catrow ends his Crusader career with 13 assists, third most in program history, and 41 points, tied for eighth-most all-time at Valpo.
LEITELT EARNS NATIONAL RECOGNITION: Sophomore midfielder Paul Leitelt enjoyed one of the best weekends a soccer player could envision on Valpo's opening weekend of the season. Leitelt kicked off the season with a goal and an assist on the match-winner in a 2-0 victory over DePaul, but that was just a warmup for what was to follow. Against Evansville, Leitelt twice brought the Crusaders back from deficits and sent the match into overtime with his third goal of the game. In the extra session, Leitelt assisted on the match-winner for the second straight match, giving the Crusaders a hard-fought 5-4 victory. His hat trick was just the seventh such effort in Valpo history, and the first since 1995. In addition, Leitelt's seven points for the game matched a Crusader record. For his outstanding weekend, Leitelt was honored by both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and Soccer Times as their national Player of the Week, was placed on the College Soccer News National Team of the Week, and earned Mid-Con Offensive Player of the Week accolades.
TIMELY SHIVELY: Steve Shively closed out his prep career with a match-winner in the final 30 seconds of the Indiana state championship match, and showed during his freshman year with the Crusaders that he can make a habit of scoring the match-winning goal. Shively found the back of the net four times during his debut campaign, tied for second-most on the Valpo squad, and all four goals ended up being match-winners, most on the team and tied for second in the Mid-Con. Shively kicked off his collegiate career with deciding tallies in the Crusaders' first two games, against DePaul and Evansville. He also notched the only goal of the game in a crucial 1-0 conference win over Oakland, and added the match-winner in a win over IPFW.
SHUTOUT SCHWARZ: Another Crusader freshman, Ryan Schwarz, owned the net for Valpo in his debut in the Brown and Gold. Schwarz started 15 of the 17 matches Valpo played on the season, earning six victories, including four shutouts, while making 77 saves. His four shutouts set a Crusader freshman record and is tied for third on Valpo's single-season chart, while he also finished second in the Mid-Con in saves per game, averaging 5.13 stops per contest.