Valparaiso (1-1-1, 0-0-0 Horizon)
at NIU adidas Invitational - DeKalb, Ill.
Friday, Sept. 9 - 5 p.m. - at #20 Northern Illinois (3-0-0)
Sunday, Sept. 11 - 1:30 p.m. - vs. Northwestern (1-1-1)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso men’s soccer team competes in its second tournament in as many weeks this weekend, heading to Northern Illinois for the NIU adidas Invitational. The Crusaders face off against the host Huskies, ranked 20th nationally, on Friday evening before taking on Big Ten foe Northwestern on Sunday afternoon.
Following the Crusaders: This weekend’s games will not be broadcast by Valpo’s student radio station, WVUR, 95.1 FM. Live stats for both matches will be available, however, at www.valpoathletics.com. Live video for the Northern Illinois match will be available through NIU’s website for a fee as well.
Head Coach Mike Avery: Mike Avery returns for his fifth season at the helm of the Crusaders’ men’s soccer program after leading Valpo to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in program history. Avery, who currently owns 30 victories as head coach at Valpo, led the Crusaders to a 9-8-2 record last season, matching the second-most wins in a single season all-time at Valpo.
Series Notes: Northern Illinois - Crusaders trail series 0-8-0 (first meeting under Avery); last meeting 3-2 NIU @ Valpo 9/11/05 (Nate Balfanz 67’ [Tyler Pagano assist], Jon Brighton 86’ [D.J. Catrow assist], Jeff Oleck 3 saves, NIU scores winner in 89’)
Northwestern - Crusaders trail series 4-10-0 (first meeting under Avery); last meeting 4-2 Northwestern @ NU 10/4/06 (Andrew Stewart 81’, Jeremy Stacy 88’, Ryan Schwarz 3 saves)
Wrapping Up Last Week: Valparaiso went 0-1-1 last weekend at the Duquesne Invitational, falling to the host Dukes 2-1 before drawing with Pitt, 1-1. The Crusaders allowed the first goal in both matches, equalizing with Duquesne in the 46th minute (Bullard from Shabtay) before giving up the eventual game-winner in the 69th minute. Valpo equalized with Pitt in the 73rd minute (Vervynckt from Miller). Kyle Zobeck made seven saves over the two matches.
Scouting the Opposition: Northern Illinois - The Huskies ascended to 20th in the NSCAA poll this week after beating Oakland and Michigan by 2-1 and 1-0 counts, respectively, last weekend. Paul Hogan and Pat Sloan have scored two goals apiece this season, with the latter being responsible for NIU’s last two match-winners. Jordan Godsey has played every minute in goal and owns a 0.67 GAA.
Northwestern - The Wildcats fought to a 0-0 draw with #7 California before defeating UMKC, 2-0, last week to improve to 1-1-1 on the year. Oliver Kupe has tallied twice for Northwestern through its first three games, while Tyler Miller has yet to allow a goal in the two matches he’s started in net.
All-Tournament Selections: Valpo placed a pair of athletes on the Duquesne Invitational All-Tournament Team, as fifth-year senior Stefan Antonijevic and junior Kevin Miller represented the Crusaders on the squad. For both players, it was their second career All-Tournament accolade, as both earned honors at last year’s Marquette Invitational as well.
Scoring For the Second Time: Both of Valpo’s goal scorers last weekend picked up their second goal of the season, as both had tallied in the opener against Calumet as well. Junior Jaymie Bullard scored against Duquesne, his fourth career goal and the first which hasn’t come in a season opener, while sophomore Todd Vervynckt found the back of the net against Pitt for his second career marker.
Helping Out: Senior Guy Shabtay had scored five goals in his first 16 games as a Crusader entering last weekend, but Friday found himself picking up an assist for the first time at Valpo, as he assisted on Bullard’s goal. Junior Kevin Miller assisted on Vervynckt’s goal on Sunday, his second of the season and fourth of his career, tied for most among active Crusaders.
Record-Setting Performance: The Crusaders opened the season with a bang on Aug. 26, scoring eight goals in the 8-0 victory over Calumet. The eight goals marks a new program record for goals in a single game; previously seven, which was accomplished twice, most recently in 1995. The eight-goal winning margin also set a new team record in that category.
A First Time For Everything: Five of Valpo’s eight goal scorers against the Crimson Wave tallied their first career goals. Gerardo Avelar, Charles Barden, Clayton Lyons, Todd Vervynckt and Stipo Zeba all netted for the first time in their careers against the Crimson Wave, with Avelar getting off the mark in his debut. In addition, a trio of Crusaders picked up their first career assist in Zeba, Jordan Lewis and Andy Lynn.
Looking Back at 2010: The Crusaders continued their momentum moving forward as a program on the rise in 2010, finishing last season with a 9-8-2 record. By finishing a game above .500, Valpo secured back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in program history. It was also a historic season defensively for the Crusaders, as they matched a program best by surrendering just 16 goals in the 19 contests.
Crusaders Picked Fourth in Preseason Poll: The head coaches selected Valparaiso to finish in a tie for fourth place in the Horizon League this season according to the preseason poll. Only Butler, Cleveland State and Milwaukee were projected ahead of the Crusaders.
Plenty of Experience Returns: The Crusaders bring an experienced side into the 2011 season, as 19 letterwinners return from a season ago. The majority of the starting XI returns intact as well, while there are also plenty of upperclassmen for the underclassmen to learn from, as Valpo has nine seniors and ten juniors on its roster.