Valparaiso (2-0-0, 0-0-0 Horizon)
at Marquette Invitational (Milwaukee, Wis.)
Friday, Sept. 10 - 5 p.m. vs. Santa Clara (1-1-0, 0-0-0 WCC)
Sunday, Sept. 12 - 2:05 p.m. vs. Florida Gulf Coast (2-1-0, 0-0-0 A-Sun)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: Valpariaso looks to match and/or surpass the best start in program history this weekend as it travels to Milwaukee to compete in the Marquette Invitational. The Crusaders face Santa Clara on Friday afternoon before taking on Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday.
Wrapping Up Last Week: It was a historic weekend for the Crsuader men’s soccer program, as they claimed their first in-season tournament title in team history at the UNLV Nike Invitational. Valpo defeated the host Rebels by a 1-0 score to open the season before claiming a 2-1 overtime victory over UC Riverside to complete the 2-0 weekend. Crusader goalkeeper Ryan Schwarz tied Valpo’s career shutout record and earned Horizon League Player of the Week honors for his performance in net against UNLV.
Following the Crusaders: There will be no live audio from Milwaukee this weekend, as WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) coverage of Valpo men’s soccer will begin Sept. 19 against Bowling Green. Live stats will be available for both of this weekend’s matches through www.valpoathletics.com, however.
Head Coach Mike Avery: Mike Avery is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Crusaders in 2010 after guiding the Crusaders to a school record 10 victories and a third-place Horizon League finish in 2009. In his first three seasons, Avery has led Valpo to three of the best defensive seasons in school history, including allowing just 21 goals a year ago, second-fewest in program history. Avery has already coached a pair of Goalkeeper of the Year selections and 10 All-League honorees in his three seasons.
Series Notes: Yet again, it’s a pair of new opponents on the pitch for the Crusaders, as after opening the season with two first-time foes last weekend, Valpo will take on both Santa Clara and Florida Gulf Coast for the first time in Milwaukee this weekend.
Scouting the Opposition: Santa Clara enters the Marquette Invitational at 1-1-0, with a 2-1 loss to Wisconsin and a 1-0 win over fellow Horizon League squad Loyola (Chicago) on the ledger. Alex Fitschen and Harrison Hanley have both found the back of the net for the Broncos, while Kevin Klasila has five saves over the first two matches in goal.
Florida Gulf Coast is 2-1-0 to date this year, including an impressive 2-1 victory over then-#13 USF. Last weekend, FGCU defeated VCU 2-1 in double overtime before falling 2-0 to Old Dominion. Deion Jones has led the Eagles’ offense, netting two goals and also tallying an assist already this year. Adam Glick has played all three games in goal, making 11 stops to date.
Taking Aim at Best Start: With one more victory, the 2010 Crusader squad would match the program record for the best start in school history. Both the 1987 and 2006 teams won their first three games of the season, while the 1984 and 2008 sides are the only other teams to win their first two games.
Cutting It Close: Neither one of Valpo’s wins last weekend came easy, however. The Crusaders’ lone goal against UNLV came off the foot of Guy Shabtay at the 87:05 mark, while Valpo needed a goal from Roby Del Giudice at 87:53 to send its match against UC Riverside to overtime.
No Margin for Error: The pair of one-goal games at the UNLV Invitational were nothing new for the Crusader side. A year ago, 13 of Valpo’s 19 contests were either ties or one-goal decisions. In Avery’s three seasons, an incredible 21 of 24 Horizon League matchups have either been one-goal games or ties.
Celebratory Debuts: Shabtay’s marker in his first game as a Crusader makes him the third current Valpo player to net a goal in his debut. Jaymie Bullard scored twice in his first career game, the 2009 season opener at Eastern Illinois, while Kevin Miller debuted mid-season last year and was on the pitch a mere 50 seconds before scoring against St. Francis (Pa.).
Schwarz Posts Another Clean Sheet...: A six-save effort by redshirt junior goalie Ryan Schwarz was enough to keep UNLV off the scoreboard on Saturday, giving Schwarz his 14th career shutout to tie current Crusader assistant Jeff Oleck. Schwarz, who already holds the school’s career GAA record and single-season GAA and shutout marks, posted four clean sheets as a freshman and two as a sophomore before tossing up seven 0’s last season.
And Receives Honors: For his record-tying shutout, Schwarz was named the Horizon League’s Player of the Week, his first career weekly accolade from the Horizon office despite twice being the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year. However, back on Oct. 2, 2006, the then-freshman Schwarz was named the Mid-Continent Conference Defensive Player of the Week for a shutout of Oakland.
Del Giudice Doubles Up: Senior midfielder Roby Del Giudice doubled his career goal total after netting both Crusader tallies in the win over UC Riverside. The two-goal game was the first by a Valpo player this season after five such efforts a year ago.
Looking Back at 2009: The 2009 campaign was a season full of milestones for the Crusader men’s soccer team. Valpo set a new program standard with 10 victories and finished above .500 for just the second time in team history. Defensively, the Crusaders surrendered just 21 goals in 19 games, the second-fewest goals allowed in a single year in team history, behind only the 1987 squad. Valpo also set a new record for longest unbeaten streak, going undefeated (5-0-1) in a six-match stretch from Oct. 11-Nov. 10.
Crusaders Picked Third in Preseason Poll: The head coaches selected Valparaiso to finish in a tie for third place in the Horizon League this season according to the preseason poll. Only Butler and Green Bay, both NCAA Tournament squads a year ago, were picked to finish ahead of the Crusaders.