Coming off of their first Mid-Continent Conference regular season and tournament titles, along with their first trip ever to the NCAA Tournament, the Valparaiso Crusaders have announced their 2006 women's soccer schedule.
The Brown and Gold will host eight regular season contests in addition to an exhibition match.
Valpo will open exhibition play on August 16 in East Lansing, Mich. against the Spartans of Michigan State, an NCAA Tournament team from one year ago. The Crusaders will then entertain Drake in the final tune-up for the regular season just four days later.
The 2006 regular season will kickoff on August 25 at Indiana State before the Crusaders return to Eastgate Field for three straight contests beginning with the home opener against Loyola (Chicago) on August 27. The match-up against the Ramblers, and the following match against Cleveland State, will be a preview for Valpo of Horizon League competition, which the Brown and Gold will move to beginning in 2007.
After closing out the homestand against Akron, Valpo will take to the road for four straight, including a pair of matches in Nashville, Tenn. against Belmont and Lipscomb. Mid-Continent Conference action begins on September 15 in Macomb, Ill. against Western Illinois.
The Crusaders' home Mid-Con opener is slated for a week later against Oral Roberts, part of a two-match homestand that also will also see Evansville visit Eastgate Field.
Valpo will host Lewis on October 8 for Senior Day, the only home match in a six-game swing for the Crusaders. Following a road match at Centenary, the Brown and Gold will remain in Shreveport, La. for a non-conference neutral site tilt against McNeese State before returning to Valparaiso for the final two matches of the year against conference foes IUPUI and Southern Utah.
The Brown and Gold will look to defend its Mid-Con Tournament title in early November as Oakland, the Mid-Con regular season co-champion with the Crusaders, hosts the league's premier event.
Head coach Stephen Anthony's squad is coming off of a 12-8-1 mark overall in 2005, as well as a 4-2 record in Mid-Con play. Valpo will begin its fall training camp on August 9.