Valpo Concludes Homestand Against Cleveland State and Akron This Weekend
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Game #3: Friday, Sept. 1, 4 p.m. CDT
Cleveland State (1-1, 0-0 Horizon) at Valpo (1-1, 0-0 Mid-Con)
Game #4: Sunday Sept. 3, 1 p.m. CDT
Akron (2-0, 0-0 MAC) at Valpo (1-1, 0-0 Mid-Con)

This Week in Crusader Soccer:
Valparaiso concludes its three-match homestand this weekend with a pair of non-conference contests. On Friday, Valpo will meet future Horizon League opponent Cleveland State, while entertaining Akron for the first time in school history on Sunday afternoon.

On the Air: Both Friday's and Sunday's matches will be carried live by WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at

Series Notes: Valparaiso and Cleveland State have met each of the past two seasons, with the Crusaders coming out victorious both times. In 2004, Valpo posted a 6-1 triumph over the Vikings at Eastgate Field while winning 5-2 last year in Cleveland. Valpo and Akron will be meeting for the first time ever on Sunday.

Scouting Cleveland State: The Vikings arrive at Eastgate Field 1-1 after splitting a pair of matches to start the season. Cleveland State posted a 6-1 victory over Delaware State on Sunday, the first victory in the program's history. Monday against Kent State, Cleveland State dropped a 2-1 overtime decision. Shayna Back and Ashley Walchack each scored three times in the first two matches, including Walchack's hat trick against Delaware State.

Scouting Akron: Akron enters the weekend a perfect 2-0 after capturing the Caroline Pardee Invitational which the Zips hosted last weekend. The Zips were a 4-0 victor over The Citadel then defeated New Mexico 1-0 in double-overtime on Sunday. Amee Thompson tallied two goals for Akron, including the match-winner against New Mexico. In goal, Krystin Wilson logged the majority of the minutes, leading back-to-back shutout victories.

Wrapping Up Last Week's Action: Valpo opened the weekend on Friday with its second straight season-opening victory, this one coming in overtime at Indiana State. Tiffania Giusti tallied the match-winner for her first collegiate goal while Sarah Jewell tied the contest midway through the second half with her first career goal as well. Last Sunday, Loyola (Chicago) spoiled Valpo's home opener with a 1-0 victory over the Crusaders. Mary Dale provided the match-winner for the Ramblers 19:38 into the contest.

Murray Sharp in Goal in the Early Going: Goalkeeper Erin Murray kept Valpo in both matches last week, allowing just one goal in each contest. The junior made 12 saves (.857 save percentage) on 14 shots in the two matches while posting a 0.97 goals against average in week one. Murray has lowered her career goals against average to 1.35, best in Valpo history.

Dishing Out the Assists: Laura Murphy received credit for assists on both Valpo goals in the victory over Indiana State. The sophomore registered just one helper in her freshman campaign, but utilized restarts, one a corner kick, to help the Crusaders score both times this year.

There's Always a First Time: Tiffania Giusti picked the best possible time to score her first collegiate goal. The sophomore, who appeared in just one match as a rookie, found the back of the net midway through the first overtime period for the match-winner against Indiana State.

More First Times: Sarah Jewell also scored her first career goal against Indiana State, and it was just as important. The freshman's tally midway through the second stanza tied the match at one, eventually leading to the extra periods.

At Least They are Accurate: Valpo has struggled to get shots off in the first two matches, tallying just 15 total against Indiana State and Loyola (Chicago). While you cannot score if you do not put the shot on goal, the Crusaders made the most of their shot attempts. Ten of the 15 shots either found the back of the net or were saved by opponent's goalkeepers.

Home Sweet Home: Valpo's home loss to Loyola (Chicago) was a rarity in recent years for the Brown and Gold. Since 2004, the Brown and Gold have posted a 12-4 mark at the friendly confines of Eastgate Field. In 2005, Valparaiso set a school record with a 7-1 home mark.

Brown Looking to Crack the Top 5: Sophomore Kendall Brown's next goal will give her 11 for her career and move her into a tie for fifth in school history.

Valpo Looking to Tie Best Start in School History: A 1-1 start to the season marks just the fourth time in the program's 14-year history Valpo has been at the .500 mark through two games. A win against Cleveland State would tie the 2005 squad for the best record through three matches (2-1) and two wins this weekend would tie that same team for the best start through two weekends (3-1).

Murray Leads the League in Saves: Erin Murray is tops in the Mid-Continent Conference after the first weekend of play having made 12 saves. The junior netminder pushed away a season-high nine shots in Valpo's match against Loyola (Chicago).

All-Conference Returnees: Valpo returns four All Mid-Con selections for 2005. Junior goalkeeper Erin Murray along with sophomore defender Jackie Thomas were each First Team selections while sophomore forwards Kendall Brown and Lori Johnson each earned Second Team accolades. Head coach Stephen Anthony also was named Mid-Con co-Coach of the Year.

Valpo Picked Third in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected third in the Mid-Continent Conference preseason poll conducted of the league's head coaches. Valpo earned two first place votes but finished one point behind Oral Roberts in the race for second. Oakland is the preseason favorite.