The Valparaiso men’s soccer team has earned the third seed for the 2009 Horizon League Championship and will host sixth-seeded Milwaukee in quarterfinal action at Brown this Tuesday, November 10 at noon CST, as announced by the league office today.
Valpo finished the 2009 Horizon League regular season slate with a 4-2-2 mark (14 pts.), finishing in a tie for third place with Cleveland State. The Crusaders earned the tiebreaker by virtue of their 2-1 victory on Saturday over the Vikings in the regular season finale. Milwaukee was awarded the sixth seed after finishing the league schedule with a 2-4-2 record (8 pts.).
The Crusaders defeated the Panthers 1-0 earlier this season on Oct. 24 in Milwaukee, taking advantage of an own goal off a cross by Clayton Lyons (Louisville, Ky./Trinity) in the 76th minute for the match-winner. Goalkeeper Ryan Schwarz (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) made six saves in the game for the shutout.
On the season, Valpo owns a 9-6-2 overall record and has matched a program record for wins in a single season, previously done by the 1987 squad. The Crusader offense has netted 23 goals on the season, getting tallies from nine different players, including a team-high five goals from Steve Shively (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) and Zack Stivers (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg). Shively also owns a team-best four assists, while Lyons, Rodolfo Lucas (Mogi Mirim, Brazil/ [Coffeyville C.C.]) and Ken Perkins (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy) all have registered three assists.
In goal, Schwarz has come back after missing the entire 2008 season due to injury and has been better than ever. The redshirt-junior has played every second in net for Valpo this season and is on pace to shatter the Crusader single-season GAA record as he currently carries a 1.02 GAA. His six shutouts this year have matched Valpo’s single-season clean sheets record, while his save percentage sits at a career-high .786.
With a win on Tuesday, the Crusaders would travel down to Indianapolis to face off against second-seeded Green Bay (13-2-2, 6-2-0) in the semifinals on Friday at 11 a.m. CST. The championship match will also be played in Indianapolis on Sunday at noon CST.
Tickets for Valpo’s first round match with the Panthers are $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and children. Horizon League institution students will be admitted free of charge with valid ID.
If you can’t make it to the game, Chris Kleinhans-Schulz and David Schroeder will be calling all the action Tuesday live on WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso. Their call will also be available online at www.valpoathletics.com, which will also have a link for live stats.