Ryan Schwarz (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic), Valpo's sterling freshman keeper, was named the Mid-Continent Conference's Defensive Player of the Week today after shutting out preseason conference favorite Oakland Saturday at Eastgate Field.
The rookie has played every second of the 2006 season between the posts for the Crusaders, matching a Valpo freshman record with four shutouts this season. In three conference matches, Schwarz has shutout both Oakland and Oral Roberts, picked first and third in the conference, respectively, before the season.
In 10 matches this year, Schwarz has made 52 saves, 16th in the country, and his four shutouts are two shy of the school record set by Kevin Hughes in 1987. The Valpo Division I shutout record is five, set last season by Jeff Oleck. Schwarz's four shutouts also rank him sixth on the Crusaders career shutout list.
Schwarz is the fourth Valpo player to earn a Mid-Con Player of the Week award, but the first to do so for his defense. D.J. Catrow (Springfield, Ohio/Catholic Central), Paul Leitelt (Munster, Ind./Munster) and Jeremy Stacy (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) were all named Offensive Players of the Week earlier this year. The Crusaders have already matched their win total from a season ago, and are three wins shy of the program record, set in 1987.
Valpo (6-4-0, 2-1-0 Mid-Con) will take a week off from conference play to battle Northwestern on the road Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. before traveling to Fort Wayne, Ind. to meet IPFW Sunday at 12:00 p.m.