Valparaiso (3-3-2, 0-0-1 Horizon)
Friday, Sept. 30 - 7:30 p.m. - Detroit (3-5-0, 0-1-0 Horizon)
Sunday, Oct. 2 - 1 p.m. - at Western Illinois (4-4-1)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: Valparaiso returns to Brown Field on Friday night for a Horizon League battle with Detroit before stepping out of league play Sunday afternoon to take on a former Mid-Con rival at Western Illinois.
Wrapping Up Last Week: Kyle Zobeck’s fourth clean sheet of the season was enough to gain the Crusaders a result in Horizon League play on the road, as Valpo and Cleveland State played to a double-overtime scoreless draw in Cleveland. Zobeck had to make just one save for the shutout, while Valpo placed seven of its 11 shots on goal.
Following the Crusaders: Friday’s game against Detroit can be heard live locally on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpoathletics.com. Live stats for both of this weekend’s matches will also be available through www.valpoathletics.com.
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 32 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: Detroit - 7-8-0 overall (4-0-0 under Avery); last meeting 2-0 Valpo @ Valpo 11/6/10 [Del Giudice 76’; Stivers 80’, assisted by Ortiz and Freisinger; Schwarz 3 saves]
Western Illinois - 6-16-2 overall (1-1-1 under Avery); last meeting 1-1 (2ot) draw @ Valpo 10/6/10 [Stivers PK 15’; Zobeck 3 saves; 1 team save]
Scouting the Opposition: Detroit - The Titans enter the week at 3-5-0 overall and dropped their Horizon League opener in overtime to Wright Staet last week. Detroit, which plays Western Michigan on Wednesday afternoon, has scored 11 goals through the first eight games, led by four tallies from senior Otieno Victor. Anthony Shepherd has seen the majority of play in goal and is 3-4-0 with a 1.42 GAA.
Western Illinois - The Leathernecks enter the week with a 4-4-1 record and will open Summit League play against Eastern Illinois on Friday prior to facing the Crusaders. Led by three goals from senior Daniel Lewis, WIU has scored 11 times this season, while senior Alexis Dominguez has tallied a team-best three assists. In goal, senior Andy Ryan has surrendered just eight goals in his eight games.
Clean Sheets Abound: For the fifth straight game for Valpo, at least one side was held scoreless, as both the Crusaders and Cleveland State were kept off the scoreboard Saturday. The five-game stretch of shutouts, in which Valpo has a 2-2-1 record, is the longest such stretch by a Crusader squad since Sept. 16-Oct. 8, 2005, when Valpo played in six straight shutouts, going 3-3-0 over that span.
There’s Almost Always Drama: Six of Valpo’s first eight games this year have been ties or one-goal decisions, and if history is any indication, a lot of one-goal games are still on the horizon. With the tie against Cleveland State last Saturday, the Crusaders have now had 28 of 33 Horizon League contests end as one-goal decisions or draws since joining the HL prior to the 2007 campaign.
Zobeck Shuts Them Down: Redshirt junior goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck registered his third shutout in the last four games in the Crusaders’ draw against CSU and his fourth overall this season. With the clean sheet, Zobeck now has 11 career shutouts, just one behind Aaron Rhame for third on Valpo’s all-time chart. Zobeck’s shutout of the Vikings also lowered his GAA to 0.71, best in the Horizon League and 30th nationally.
His Last Two Years: Zobeck has been on a remarkable run in goal for the Crusaders since the start of the 2010 season. Splitting time last year between the pipes before becoming the starter this season, the junior has made 16 appearances over the last two years. Over that span, Zobeck has surrendered just 10 goals, good for a 0.64 GAA, owns a save percentage of .811 and has registered six shutouts. He also has given up more than one goal just twice in those 16 appearances.
Better Late Than Never: Valpo’s winning goal against Northwestern came just in the nick of time, as senior Chadd Sult found the back of the net on a feed from sophomore Todd Vervynckt with just 17 seconds remaining. For Sult, it was his second career tally, while Vervynckt owns a team-best five points on the season.
Spreading the Wealth: Freshman Eric Nieto’s match-winning goal against IUPUI, the first of his career, made him the tenth different Crusader to find the back of the net already this season as Valpo has tallied 12 goals through eight games. Only Vervynckt and junior Jaymie Bullard have scored multiple times for Valpo so far this year. The ten different goal scorers already has surpassed the number of unique goal scorers the Crusaders had in 2010.
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 marked 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 Calumet, 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.