Valparaiso (5-5-2, 2-0-1 Horizon)
Sunday, Oct. 16 - 1 p.m. - Ohio State (7-5-1, 2-1-0 Big Ten)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: Valparaiso continues a four-game homestand with a showdown this Sunday against regionally-ranked Ohio State at Brown Field. The 1 p.m. game will feature free admission to all fans, free rally towels and stadium horns while supplies last and a free raffle ticket for the chance to win an autographed Crusader men’s soccer jersey.
Wrapping Up Last Week: Valpo moved to the top of the league table last Friday night, earning a 1-0 victory on the road at Wright State. The Crusaders then opened up their four-game homestand at Brown Field on Sunday, jumping out to a 2-0 lead before falling 3-2 to Oral Roberts.
Following the Crusaders: Sunday’s game against Ohio State is the fourth of six, including four home games from Brown Field, that will be video streamed this year through the Horizon League Network. A live audio broadcast will also be available locally on WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso. Link to the live video and audio broadcasts, as well as live stats, 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 34 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: Ohio State - 0-4-1 overall (0-1-0 under Avery); last meeting 1-0 (ot) #16/17 OSU at OSU 10/17/10 [Warzycha GWG 97’, P. Hegngi assist; Zobeck 8 saves]
Scouting the Opposition: Ohio State - The Buckeyes enter Sunday’s showdown with a 7-5-1 overall record this year and are 2-1-0 in Big Ten play after losing to Northwestern, which Valpo beat earlier this year, 3-2 last Sunday. OSU has scored 22 times in 13 games this season, led by a team-best eight goals from Chris Hegngi. Sebastian Rivas has added a quartet of goals and an assist, while Omar Vallejo boasts a team-high four assists. Matt Lampson has played all but 13 minutes in goal and has earned every decision, posting a 1.37 GAA and a .753 save percentage.
On Top of the Table: With the win at WSU, Valpo is now unbeaten through its first three Horizon League contests of the season, the first time since joining the league prior to the 2007 season that the Crusaders have earned a result in each of their first three league games. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 1997, when Valpo was still in the Mid-Con, to find a year when the Crusaders earned points in each of their first three conference games - Valpo would finish that year 6-1-1 in Mid-Con play and win the conference tournament.
Home Field Advantage: Every year since Mike Avery’s arrival, the Crusaders have recorded at least a .500 record at home. While Valpo suffered its first home defeat of the year to ORU last time out, the Crusaders are still 3-1-0 at home this year, improving Avery’s record at home to 18-11-4 (.606). The schedule sets up well for Valpo as well, as five of the Crusaders’ last seven games will be at Brown Field.
Multiple Goal Scorers: Freshman Gerardo Avelar has tallied in two of Valpo’s last four games after netting the opening goal against Oral Roberts, giving him a team-best three goals on the season. In addition, fifth-year senior Stefan Antonijevic also found the back of the net versus ORU, becoming the sixth Crusader to score multiple goals on the season. For Antonijevic, it marked his team-high eighth career goal.
Texas Connection: A pair of juniors from McKinney, Texas teamed up for the lone goal in Valpo’s 1-0 HL victory at Wright State last Friday. Jonathan Smith sent the free kick into the box which Sam Haines headed home for the eventual match-winner. Haines’ marker was his first of the season and just the second of his career, while Smith picked up his second assist of the year.
There’s Almost Always Drama: Ten of Valpo’s first 12 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 Wright State last Friday, the Crusaders have now had 30 of 35 Horizon League contests end as one-goal decisions or draws since joining the HL prior to the 2007 campaign.
Spreading the Wealth: Haines’ match-winning goal against Wright State made him the 11th different Crusader to find the back of the net already this season as Valpo has tallied 18 goals through 12 games. Six different players have tallied multiple goals, led by Avelar’s trio of markers, while five more have added a goal apiece. In addition, all five of Valpo’s victories have featured different players picking up the match-winning goal.
Zobeck Picks Up Another Shutout: Redshirt junior goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck continued his march up the Crusaders’ record books with his shutout of Wright State. The clean sheet was Zobeck’s fifth of the year, already tied for third-most in a single season in Crusader history, and gives him 12 career shutouts, also tied with Aaron Rhame for third-most all-time, just two out of the second spot. Zobeck already holds Valpo’s career GAA record at 1.14, while his current pace of 0.96 would be the Crusaders’ top single-season mark as well.
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.