Green Bay at Valparaiso - Saturday, Oct. 17 - 1 p.m.
Coming Up for the Crusaders: Just one match is on the docket for Valparaiso this week, as the Crusaders commence the second half of the league schedule when they host Horizon League leader and regionally-ranked Green Bay on Saturday afternoon.
The Matchups: Valpo (5-6-1, 1-2-1 HL) is just 1-9-0 all-time against Green Bay (10-1-2, 4-1-0 HL), and despite two competitive games since the Crusaders joined the Horizon League, they have come out on the short end of 1-0 decisions in both outings. Most recently, the two squads met in Green Bay on Oct. 23, 2008, with a goal off a set piece by David Znaty in the 11th minute proving to be the only tally. Valpo pushed the pace in the second half, attempting seven shots, including five in the last 12 minutes, but could not find the equalizer.
Previously: Valpo split a pair of matches last week, concluding a three-match road trip with a 2-0 winning effort at Bowling Green before falling at home to now-nationally ranked Butler in league play, 2-1. Stefan Antonijevic and Zack Stivers tallied goals against the Falcons, while Ryan Schwarz made five saves for his third shutout of the year. Against the Bulldogs, Steve Shively put the Crusaders ahead midway through the first half, a lead Valpo held for nearly 45 minutes until two Butler goals in less than three minutes swung the scoreboard in the Bulldogs’ favor.
Following the Crusaders: The sports staff at Valparaiso’s campus radio station, WVUR 95.1 FM, will be broadcasting Saturday’s Green Bay match live over its airwaves and online at www.valpoathletics.com. The matchup against the Phoenix will also have live stats links available through the official Crusader website.
No Margin for Error: All four of Valparaiso’s Horizon League games this year have either been ties or one-goal games, continuing a trend the Crusaders have seen since joining the league prior to the 2007 campaign. Valpo has played 20 league matches over the past two and a half years, 17 of which have ended as either ties or one-goal decisions.
Fighting for Tournament Position: This year, for the first time, only the top six teams in the Horizon League standings will advance to the league championship, making each league contest that much more important. Entering the second half of league play, Valpo currently sits in a three-way tie for fifth place, just one point out of fourth place.
Shively Moving Up the Chart: Senior forward Steve Shively broke into Valpo’s all-time top-ten in goals scored this past Sunday with his goal against Butler. Shively entered his senior year with 13 goals, and combined with a two-goal effort earlier this year at Wright State, now has 16 career markers, putting him in a four-way tie for eighth place on the Crusaders’ all-time goals scored chart.
Stivers Leading the Way: Junior Zack Stivers has led the Crusader offense this year and picked up another marker last week, converting on a penalty kick opportunity in Valpo’s win over Bowling Green. Stivers now has five goals on the season, tied for second among all Horizon League players. He has also registered a pair of assists on the season, giving him a team-high 12 points, good for third in the league.
Stefan Steps Up: Redshirt sophomore Stefan Antonijevic is one of just three Valpo players to have started every game this year, and came up with his first career match-winning goal off of a corner kick in the victory over Bowling Green. The marker was Antonijevic’s second of the season.
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 this season, as he is on pace to set a new single-season school record for GAA. Junior Adrian Ortiz, who has played in all 49 matches in his career, has shifted between defense and midfield this season, but has stayed on the pitch for all 1110:09 of Crusader action this year.
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.