*Valparaiso at Detroit - Wednesday, Oct. 3 - 3 p.m. CDT
Valparaiso at Eastern Illinois - Sunday, Oct. 7 - 3:30 p.m.
The Matchups: Valparaiso concludes its first swing of Horizon League opponents with a game at Detroit Wednesday and follows with a non-conference tilt at Eastern Illinois on Sunday. The Crusaders own a 3-8-0 record all-time against the Titans, and are 1-9-1 in 11 meetings with the Panthers.
Last Meetings: D.J. Catrow took a feed from Jon Brighton in the 37th minute and found the back of the net to give Valpo a 1-0 lead, but Detroit tied the match in the 86th minute and scored the match-winner in the opening seconds of the second overtime session to beat the Crusaders, 2-1, on Oct. 12, 2005. Jeff Oleck made 10 saves in net for Valpo.
Eastern Illinois pushed across a goal in the 57th minute and made the lone tally stand up, downing the Crusaders 1-0 at Eastgate Field on Oct. 25, 2006. Valpo fired nine shots, but only two of them were on frame. Sean McGinnis stopped five shots in the losing effort.
Last Week: The Crusaders went 0-1-1 in two Horizon League battles, falling on Wednesday to Green Bay, 1-0, before earning a tie Saturday evening at Milwaukee, 1-1. Ryan Schwarz made 13 saves over the two matches, allowing just one goal in each match. Steve Shively tied the match at Milwaukee with his team-best third goal of the season in the 78th minute.
On The Air: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) will not be carrying either of this week’s men’s soccer matches. The next men’s soccer broadcast is set for Oct. 21 against Michigan State. 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.
League Games on Horizon: Valpo’s match against Detroit on Wednesday afternoon will be its last taste of League play for a while. Due to a quirk in the scheduling this year, the Crusaders will have played their fifth League game before some teams have even played one loop game. After the game against Detroit, the Crusaders have a 25-day break from HL play before resuming the league slate Oct. 28 at Wright State. During that period, Valpo will play three non-conference games.
Shutting Down Opponents: The Crusaders have proven quite proficient at keeping opponents off of the scoreboard in the first half this year. Valpo has given up just four first-half tallies through 10 games, all four of which have been in the opening 15 minutes of the match. The Crusaders are one of just four Horizon League schools that are outscoring their opponents in the first half of play this year, as Valpo holds a 5-4 edge over the opening 45 minutes.
Shively Keeps Scoring: Sophomore Steve Shively has paced the Crusaders offensively this season. After scoring four goals as a freshman, all of which were match-winners, Shively has found the back of the net three times this season. The sophomore tallied his first goal of the 2007 campaign in Valpo’s league-opening 1-1 tie with Loyola, and followed five days later with the fifth match-winner of his career, scoring against Western Illinois to secure a 2-1 Crusader victory. His most recent goal was a big one, as Shively pushed one across in the 78th minute at Milwaukee to secure a 1-1 tie.
Helping Hand: Halfway through 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 is tied for third in the league with his four assists.
Schwarz With the Save: Sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Schwarz finished his freshman campaign 21st in the nation in saves per game with 5.13. This season, he has been even more proficient in net, stopping 5.67 shots/match, good for 20th in the nation. Schwarz has also improved his save percentage from .700 to .750 and lowered his goals against average from 2.25 to 1.80, which if maintained would be the second-lowest GAA in Crusader history for a single season.
Two Fifth-Year Seniors: The Crusaders do not have a large contingent of seniors, with just two on their 32-man roster, but both seniors are in their fifth year of collegiate soccer. Sean McGinnis has filled the backup goalkeeper position well in his time at Valpo and has already registered a shutout in 2007, while Tyler Pagano has started 38 matches in the midfield in his three years as a Crusader, tallying his first goal in a Valpo uniform earlier this year at IPFW.