Valparaiso at Bowling Green - Tuesday, Oct. 6 - 2 p.m. CDT
*Butler at Valparaiso - Sunday, Oct. 11 - 12:30 p.m.
Coming Up for the Crusaders: Valparaiso concludes a three-game road trip with a non-league contest at Bowling Green on Tuesday before returning home to Brown Field for the first time in two weeks for a key league matchup with regionally-ranked Butler.
The Matchups: Valpo (4-5-1, 1-1-1 HL) has never faced Bowling Green on the soccer pitch, while the Crusaders trail the all-time series with Butler (6-1-1, 2-0-1 HL) by an 11-1 margin. It looked like Valpo had an opportunity to earn its second win in the series against Butler last year in Indianapolis on October 3, as Oscar Lomeli scored off a feed from Adrian Ortiz to break a scoreless tie in the 82nd minute. But the Bulldogs’ Kyle Pateros tied the game less than three minutes later, and Butler earned the 2-1 overtime win on a goal by Frank Patano in the 97th minute.
Previously: The Crusaders took on their third ranked opponent of the year on Wednesday, outshooting #25 Michigan State by a 7-1 margin in the second half, but was unable to overcome an early two-goal deficit as the Spartans took a 2-0 victory. Valpo then traveled to Wright State on Sunday for a Horizon League matchup which the Crusaders led 2-0 at halftime on the strength of two Steve Shively goals. But the Raiders put up three unanswered tallies, including the game-winner less than 90 seconds into overtime, to win 3-2.
Following the Crusaders: The sports staff at Valparaiso’s campus radio station, WVUR 95.1 FM, will be broadcasting the home contest wtih Butler live over its airwaves and online at www.valpoathletics.com. Both contests will also have live stats links available through the official Crusader website.
Shively Hits Paydirt: Senior forward Steve Shively entered the 2009 campaign with 13 career goals, but had not found the back of the net in the Crusaders’ first nine games of the season. That changed Sunday against the Raiders, as Shively scored in the 6th minute and again in the 26th minute to give Valpo a two-goal advantage. For the senior, it was his second career multi-goal game, to go along with a two-goal effort against Western Michigan in 2008. His 15 career goals leaves Shively just one goal shy of a four-way tie for eighth place in Crusader history in the category.
Stivers Leading the Way: Junior Zack Stivers has led the Crusader offense this year, surpassing his total from his first two seasons combined by scoring four goals in Valpo’s first ten games. Stivers’ most recent tally was a big second-half marker against Loyola, helping the Crusaders to earn a point in a key league contest. The junior currently is tied for fourth in the league in goals scored and has also tallied two assists for a total of ten points, tied for third among all league players.
Iron Men: Two Crusaders have been a part of Valpo’s 11 men on the field every second this year to date. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Ryan Schwarz returned to action this year after missing the entire 2008 campaign due to injury and has not come off the field yet. Schwarz is currently on pace to set a new career best, as well as a Valpo single-season record, for goals against average. Junior Adrian Ortiz, who has played in all 47 matches in his career, entered the season with nine career assists out of the midfield, ranking ninth in Crusader history. But Ortiz has shifted to defense this year and has not missed a step, staying on the pitch in his corner back position for all 930:09 of action this season.
Protecting the Home Pitch: Valparaiso will play all seven of its home matches this year at Brown Field, also home of the Crusader football team. The Crusaders will return to Brown Field Sunday against Butler, looking to move back to .500 at home this year as it tries to finish at or above .500 at home for the fourth straight season. Valpo is also on pace to set a new home attendance record this year as well.
Tabbed Sixth: Valparaiso has been projected to finish sixth in the Horizon League this season in preseason polling of the league’s nine head coaches. UIC received six of the nine first-place votes and tallied 62 points to be tabbed the preseason favorite. Loyola registered two first-place votes en route to 56 points, while Butler received the remaining nod for the top spot, recording 49 points. Cleveland State (44 pts.) and Green Bay (38 pts.) preceded the Crusaders, who registered 25 points, in the polling. Milwaukee (22 pts.), Wright State (16 pts.) and Detroit (12 pts.) rounded out the preseason projections.