Valparaiso (4-4-2, 1-0-1 Horizon)
Friday, Oct. 7 - 6 p.m. - at Wright State (6-3-1, 2-0-0 Horizon)
Sunday, Oct. 9 - noon - Oral Roberts (3-6-0)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: Valparaiso plays its final Horizon League game for the next two weeks Friday night, as the Crusaders travel to Wright State in a meeting of two of the three unbeaten teams in league play. Valpo then opens a four-match homestand on Sunday at Brown Field against former Mid-Con rival Oral Roberts.
Wrapping Up Last Week: The Crusaders won a back-and-forth battle in Horizon League action against Detroit last Friday, eventually earning a 3-2 victory in extra time versus the Titans. Valpo then visited Western Illinois in non-league action on Sunday, falling 1-0 despite rifling 25 shot attempts.
Following the Crusaders: Friday’s game at Wright State is the third of six that will be video streamed this year through the Horizon League Network. Link to the live video of Friday’s match, as well as for live stats of both Friday and Sunday’s contests, will be available at 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 33 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: Wright State - 1-8-0 overall (1-4-0 under Avery); last meeting 3-1 Valpo @ Valpo 9/26/10 [Antonijevic 8’ (Smith assist); Shabtay 20’; Stivers PK 63’; Schwarz 4 saves]
Oral Roberts - 3-6-3 overall (First meeting under Avery); last meeting 2-0 Valpo @ Valpo 9/15/06 [Brighton 83’ (Catrow, Pagano assists); Stacy 85’ (Catrow assist); Schwarz 7 saves]
Scouting the Opposition: Wright State - The Raiders enter Friday night atop the Horizon League table with six points through two games, and a 6-3-1 overall record. Both of WSU’s league games have gone into overtime, with the Raiders earning 2-1 victories over Cleveland State and Detroit. Wright State has tallied 14 goals on the year, led by four apiece from Justin Laird and Bryce Rockwell-Ashton. The latter also has a pair of assists. Craig Feehan has played every minute in goal, owning a 0.97 GAA.
Oral Roberts - Valpo’s former Mid-Con rival, the Golden Eagles enter the week at 3-6-0, playing at Eastern Illinois prior to Sunday’s contest. Jarrett Hamilton and Thomas Adams have each scored a team-best three times out of ORU’s 15 goals this year. The Golden Eagles have surrendered 24 times this year, with Nick Petolick (3-5-0, 2.42 GAA) seeing most of the time in net.
Earning League Results: Valpo is now unbeaten through its first two Horizon League contests of the season, the second time the Crusaders have earned a result in each of their first two league games. Valpo also registered a draw and a win in its first two games of the 2009 HL campaign, going on to finish 4-2-2 and tied for third in the league table.
Golden Goal: Freshman Gerardo Avelar made his second career goal count on Friday, recording the golden goal in Valpo’s 3-2 win over Detroit. It marked Valpo’s first win in extra time at home since Oct. 17, 2009 - a 3-2 win over Green Bay, which was also the last time both teams scored multiple goals in a game at Brown Field. The Crusaders are unbeaten in three overtime games this year, going 1-0-2 in such contests.
In On Multiple Goals: A pair of Crusaders chipped in on each of Valpo’s first two goals in the win against the Titans. Charles Barden scored the first goal and assisted on the second, while Chadd Sult recorded a helper on the opener before tallying Valpo’s second marker. Sult currently leads the Crusaders with six points on the season, while Barden is tied for second on the team with five points.
Home Field Advantage: Every year since Mike Avery’s arrival, the Crusaders have recorded at least a .500 record at home, and have been perfect at Brown Field so far this year. The win over Detroit was Valpo’s third home win in as many tries, improving Avery’s record at home to 18-10-4 (.625). The schedule sets up well for Valpo as well, as six of the Crusaders’ last eight games will be at Brown Field.
There’s Almost Always Drama: Eight of Valpo’s first 10 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 win over Detroit, the Crusaders have now had 29 of 34 Horizon League contests end as one-goal decisions or draws since joining the HL prior to the 2007 campaign.
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 15 goals through 10 games. Five different players have tallied twice, while five more have added a goal apiece. 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.
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.