Eight different Crusaders found the back of the net Friday night, while 23 players in all took the field, as the Valparaiso men’s soccer team opened the 2011 season with an 8-0 victory at Brown Field over Calumet College of Saint Joseph.
“I don't think the score line is necessarily an accurate reflection of the season either team could potentially have,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “This early in the season, things can change a lot for both groups. That being said, early goals change games, and I am very pleased with the fact we finished a good majority of the chances we created.”
The eight goals marked a new record for the Crusaders’ men’s soccer program, surpassing the previous mark of seven tallies, achieved twice, most recently in 1995. The eight-goal win also set a new program best for winning margin as well. In addition to the eight goal-scorers, six different players tallied an assist on the night, with only junior Stipo Zeba (Brookfield, Ill./Morton West) being in on more than one Valpo goal.
The goal scoring started early for Valpo on Friday, as fifth-year senior Stefan Antonijevic (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson [College of Lake County/Marquette]) headed home a free kick from the right flank, delivered by junior Kevin Miller (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias), in just the fourth minute. Then, in the 11th minute, senior Chadd Sult (South Bend, Ind./John Adams) put a ball into the box from the left side, where it settled on the foot of sophomore Todd Vervynckt (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth) wide-open near the top of the box. Vervynckt’s strike found the back of the net, giving Valpo a 2-0 edge.
The Crusaders then tallied twice in the 15th minute of play, scoring just 28 seconds apart. The first goal came when junior Jonathon Smith (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) played junior Jaymie Bullard (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) into the box, where the latter moved around the goalie before knocking it into an empty net.
After play was restarted, senior Guy Shabtay (Ramat-Gan, Israel/Blich [Prairie State C.C.]) quickly gained possession near the midfield line and broke in alone on goal, stepping around the Calumet netminder before converting to make it a 4-0 game. A foul in the area in the 30th minute set up Valpo’s next marker, as freshman Gerardo Avelar (San Salvador, El Salvador) scored on his debut, calmly converting the penalty kick to close out the first half with a 5-0 lead.
Valpo then scored three times in the final ten minutes for the final margin. Redshirt junior Andy Lynn (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) sent a long through ball over the top in the 81st minute, allowing sophomore Charles Barden (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Linn-Mar) to run onto it. Barden, on the right side of the box, knocked the ball home into the upper-left 90 for a 6-0 advantage.
Fifth-year senior Clayton Lyons (Louisville, Ky./Trinity) converted a sliding effort in the 84th minute, tapping the ball into the back of the net from just in front of the goal line after a cross from Zeba was deflected by a sliding Jordan Lewis (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton [Loyola]). Zeba added the record-breaking tally in the final minute of play, intercepting a goal kick and finishing from 20 yards out.
“I thought Ming and Stefan were terrific in the back today, and I thought Jordan came in and played very well,” said Avery. “We're all just as pleased with the shutout as with the number of goals we scored. But despite the score, I feel there’s still plenty of things we can take from this game to improve on. We're going to have to improve before we play again next weekend because we've got two very hard games coming up in Duquesne and Pittsburgh.”
Five different Crusaders netted their first career goals Friday, as Avelar, Barden, Lyons, Vervynckt and Zeba all scored for the first time in a Valpo kit. Lewis and Lynn tallied their first career points as well. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West) had to make just one save for the shutout, his eighth career clean sheet. Midway through the second half, Zobeck passed 2500 career minutes in goal, allowing him to qualify for Valpo’s career goals against average chart, which he currently tops with a 1.18 GAA.
Valparaiso (1-0-0) returns to the pitch next Friday, Sept. 2 as it kicks off action at the Duquesne Invitational against the host Dukes. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CDT, with live stats available at www.valpoathletics.com.