Valpo at Western Illinois - Friday, Sept. 21 - 4 p.m.
*Butler at Valpo - Sunday, Sept. 23 - 2 p.m.
The Matchups: After kicking off the Horizon League slate last weekend, Valparaiso closes out a four-game road trip with a non-conference tilt at Western Illinois Friday. The Crusaders then return to Eastgate Field for the start of a two-game League homestand on Sunday against Butler. Valpo owns a 5-15-1 record against the Leathernecks, its most common opponent in program history, while the Crusaders are 1-9-0 in 10 matchups versus the Bulldogs.
Last Meetings: The Brown and Gold closed out its 2006 season with a 5-1 loss at Western Illinois on October 27. D.J. Catrow took a pass form Clifton Brown and found the back of the net in the 37th minute for Valpo’s goal. Sean McGinnis stopped five shots, allowing just one goal while playing the last 45 minutes.
Butler defended its home field against Valpo on Sept. 9, 2005, defeating the Crusaders 2-1. Catrow tallied the lone Valpo goal in the 74th minute off of a feed from Jeremy Stacy to get back to within one goal. Jeff Oleck made two saves in net for the Crusaders.
Last Weekend: Valparaiso dropped a hard-fought 1-0 decision to DePaul last Friday before kicking off the Horizon League slate with a 1-1 (2ot) tie against Loyola on Sunday at Toyota Park. Crusader goalkeeper Ryan Schwarz made 10 saves on the weekend, including eight stops in the tie with the Ramblers. Steve Shively netted his first goal of the season versus Loyola, getting assists from Jake Freisinger and Adrian Ortiz.
On The Air: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) will not carry Friday’s game at Western Illinois, but will provide live cut-ins to Sunday’s game against Butler. WVUR is planning on carrying seven men’s soccer games this year over the airwaves, as well as any matches as part of the Horizon League Championships. The games will also be carried online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.
Scheduling Quirk: Valparaiso’s game against Loyola last Sunday was the first Horizon League contest by any Crusader team. Starting with Valpo’s contest on Sunday against Butler, the Crusaders will play four League games in a span of 10 days. Valpo will have played five of its eight games in the League loop before any other squad has played two. In addition, after Valpo’s October 3 match versus Detroit, the Brown and Gold will not see another League foe until October 28.
Staying in Games: The Crusaders have not trailed at halftime in any of their six games this season. Four of the six contests have been scoreless ties at the half. Valpo was up 3-0 after 45 minutes against IPFW, and was tied 1-1 with N.C. State after the opening stanza. The Crusaders have not given up a goal in the first half since the opener against the Wolfpack, a span of 254 minutes. During that time, Crusader goalkeepers have stopped 12 shots on goal.
Starting League Play Strong: Valpo is no stranger to positive results at the start of the league slate. With the tie against Loyola on Sunday, the Crusaders have now recorded a tie or a victory in their league opener in four out of the past six seasons. Last year, Valpo defeated Oral Roberts to begin conference play. In 2004, the Crusaders fought to a scoreless tie with the Golden Eagles, while in 2002, the Crusaders defeated IUPUI.
Helping Hand: Just six matches into his freshman campaign, midfielder Adrian Ortiz is just one assist shy of breaking into Valpo’s single-season top-10 in the category. Ortiz has already racked up four helpers this season, tallying one against N.C. State and two versus IPFW. Most recently, the freshman registered the secondary assist on Valpo’s goal against Loyola. Ortiz currently leads the league with his four assists and is tied for 15th in the nation with 0.67 assists/game.
Immediate Impact: Freshman midfielder Jake Freisinger made his first career start Sunday against the Ramblers, and had a direct effect on the outcome of the game. It was Freisinger’s shot that led to the rebound that the Crusaders pushed across for their goal, his first career assist.
Shively Scores Again: Sophomore defender Steve Shively found the back of the net four times during his freshman campaign, all four of which were match-winning goals. His goal Sunday, his first of the season, did not turn out to be a match-winner, but it was just as important, as it helped Valpo to a 1-1 tie against Loyola in the League opener. Shively’s five career markers is second-best among current Crusaders.
Last Line of Defense: Sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Schwarz has already made 30 saves through five matches this season, most recently stopping eight shots in Valpo’s 1-1 tie against Loyola. Schwarz currently ranks 16th in the nation with his 6.00 saves/game. His backup, Sean McGinnis, also has proven to be capable in net, registering his third career shutout earlier this year against IPFW, making three saves while lowering his career GAA to 1.40.