Valparaiso men’s soccer head coach Mike Avery announced today his side’s schedule for the upcoming 2011 campaign, a slate which includes a pair of home matches against teams which finished among the top-20 in the nation in 2010. The Crusaders enter 2011 looking to continue their winning tradition, as they have finished with a winning record in each of the last two seasons for the first time in program history.
The Crusaders’ 2011 non-conference schedule is highlighted by a visit from powerhouse Ohio State, which earned a spot in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament last year and finished the season ranked 17th nationally, on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 1 p.m. Valpo will also take on major conference foes at each of its two early-season tournaments, facing Pittsburgh (Sept. 4) in addition to Duquesne (Sept. 2) at the Duquesne Invitational. The next weekend sees the Crusaders take on Northwestern (Sept. 11) and Northern Illinois (Sept. 9) at the NIU adidas Invitational.
Play kicks off for the Crusaders with an exhibition contest against Oakland at Brown Field on Aug. 20. The regular season begins six days later, as Valpo hosts Calumet College on Friday, Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Other non-league meetings include home fixtures with IUPUI (Sept. 16), Oral Roberts (Oct. 9) and IPFW (Oct. 18), while the Crusaders will travel to face Western Michigan (Sept. 18) and Western Illinois (Oct. 2) as well.
The Horizon League portion of the schedule, in which Valpo faces each of the other eight league schools once, starts on Sept. 24 as the Crusaders visit Cleveland State. Valpo will also hit the road to take on Wright State (Oct. 7) and Loyola (Oct. 26), while hosting Detroit (Sept. 30), Milwaukee (Oct. 22) and UIC (Oct. 29). The regular season home finale at Brown Field will be Wednesday, Nov. 2, when the Crusaders host Butler, which closed the 2010 campaign ranked 11th nationally, while the regular season wraps up for Valpo at Green Bay on Nov. 5. The top six teams in the league’s regular season standings will make the 2011 Horizon League Championship, which begins Nov. 8.