Four games against 2007 College Cup participants, including two against teams that reached the Elite Eight, highlight the 2008 Valparaiso men’s soccer schedule, as released today by Crusader head coach Mike Avery.
“We are very excited about the 2008 schedule,” said Avery. “This year’s schedule is a balanced slate of games in terms of home and away contests, and because Eastgate Field is becoming a real home advantage for us, the opportunity to play there more frequently was a high priority. We were also able to space our games more realistically compared to last year’s schedule, allowing us more training time and the proper rest to give us the most realistic competitive chance to play well.”
The Crusaders will play two exhibition games, including a game versus Indianapolis at Eastgate Field on August 16, before kicking off the regular season at Eastgate against Eastern Illinois on August 29. Other non-league action over the course of the season includes home games against Western Illinois, Western Michigan and IPFW. The Crusaders will travel outside of league play to DePaul, IUPUI, the ProRehab Aces Soccer Classic hosted by Evansville, Missouri State and Michigan State.
The Horizon League slate begins September 26 when Valpo hosts Milwaukee at Eastgate Field. The Crusaders will also host Wright State, UIC and Detroit, while hitting the road to take on Butler, Loyola, Cleveland State and Green Bay. The Horizon League Championship will begin on November 7, with the championship match to be held November 16. The winner of the championship receives an automatic bid to the 2008 College Cup.“We have maintained a challenging group of opponents this year,” said Avery. “Outside of the competitive Horizon League, our non-conference schedule puts us up against some of the best teams in our region. Michigan State and DePaul were both ranked among the top-25 for portions of last season and reached the College Cup, so to play them on the road will be a test. We also face Bradley and UIC, both of which advanced to the Elite Eight last year. These are teams that have been where we want to go, so they provide a great measuring stick for our program that is building into a nationally competitive side.”