Valparaiso (1-0-3, 0-0-1 Horizon)
Crusaders host IUPUI in first home game of 2013
Friday, Sept. 13 – vs. IUPUI (0-3-2) – 7:30 p.m. CT
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso men’s soccer team is back in action this Friday night, as the team prepares take on IUPUI at Brown Field. Kickoff for the match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (CDT).
Previously: The Crusader men traveled to Rochester and East Lansing, Mich. to open league play against Oakland and to take on Michigan State in a tough, nonleague game. Friday night saw the Crusaders earn a 1-1 draw against a talented Oakland side. With the game being the first ever Horizon League game in Oakland history, the Crusaders were able to overcome an electric environment and pick up an important point on the road. On Sunday, the Crusaders met #RV/24 Michigan State for nonleague bout. The Crusaders were able to find the back on the net in each half, giving them a well-deserved 2-1 victory over the home side. With that win, the Crusaders stayed unbeaten and improved their record to 1-0-3.
Following the Crusaders: Friday’s game will have live stats available through ValpoAthletics.com. Visit @VUMSO on Twitter to view comments and photos leading up to Friday night’s match. Over the course of the 2013 season, seven matches will have free live video on the Horizon League Network, including three matches at home.
Head Coach Mike Avery: Former Horizon League Coach of the Year, Mike Avery returns for his seventh season as the Crusaders Head Coach. Avery has led the Crusaders to 45 wins, multiple winning seasons, and the program’s first-ever Horizon League Title. Under his watch, the program has seen 25 All-League selections, four Horizon League Goalkeeper of the Year honorees, one Defensive Player of the Year selection, and one player sign an MLS contract with FC Dallas.
Series Notes: IUPUI – Friday night will mark the 20th meeting between the Crusaders and Jaguars, with Valpo holding an 11-7-1 series advantage. The former Mid-Con rivals last met a season ago at IUPUI where the Jaguars were able walk away with a 1-0 win. The Crusaders are 3-2-0 against the Jaguars under head coach Mike Avery.
Scouting the Opposition: IUPUI – Returning to a team that finished 6-10-2 a season ago is senior Ian Block and sophomore Michael Sass. Block played in all 18 games for the Jaguars in 2012 and finished the season with 3 goals and 1 assist to his name, landing him the title of captain for the 2013 season. Sass returns for his sophomore season after putting together a stellar freshman campaign. Sass totaled 10 points on the season, scoring 3 goals and assisting on 4. His play earned him a Second Team All-Summit League Selection. Currently, the Jaguars sit at 0-3-2 with an impressive draw against #RV Butler. Both Block and Sass have scored for the Jaguars in 2013.
Home Sweet Home: Friday’s match against IUPUI will mark the first home game of the season for the Crusader men. After traveling to Florida and Michigan in consecutive weekends to face off against talented teams in even more challenging environments, the Crusaders are finally able to play a match in front of their fans at Brown Field. The Crusaders will only have five opportunities this season to defend Brown Field. The men’s side is at home this Friday against IUPUI, Milwaukee (Oct. 12), UIC (Oct. 25), Western Michigan (Oct. 30), and Detroit (Nov. 9).
Notables: This past weekend saw freshman goalkeeper Nico Campbell make his first career start against the defending Big Ten Champion Spartans. With the start, Campbell conceded just one goal and earned his first career win as a Crusader.
Extra Time and Heavy Minutes: After logging heavy minutes in the first two games of the 2013 season, the Crusaders kept to the trend Friday night against the Grizzlies. Again, the Crusader men would go the distance with the game needing to be decided with extra time. The first three games of the season for the Crusaders all went into extra time. In four games this year the Crusaders have played 420 minutes, which averages out to 15 extra minutes per game.
Staying Organized in the Back: In 2012, the Crusaders set the standard in the Horizon League and ranked 19th in the country in team goals against. Conceding only 17 goals in 20 games, the team achieved a GAA of just 0.81. So far in 2013, the Crusaders have put in a similar effort. The team has only conceded 3 goals in 4 games, earning a GAA of just 0.64. Mitch Albrecht, Adrian Graham, and Yannick Iwunze have started every game in the back this season for Valpo.
Finishing Chances: After scoring 3 goals on the weekend, the Crusaders pushed their season total to 4; scoring 4 goals in 4 games. The Crusaders are on currently on pace to average a goal game. Of the 4 goals scored for the Crusaders in 2013, 3 have come during the second half of play and all 4 have come from different players. Charles Barden, Nick Suker, Todd Vervynckt, and Julio Velasquez have each produced a goal for the Crusaders.
Early Start for Horizon League: The Crusaders began their quest for the Horizon League title early in the 2013 season, earning a point on the road against a talented Oakland side. With this early result, the Crusaders put themselves in a good position going forward with league play.
On the Road Again: Home games for the Crusaders will be few and far between this season. The team is set to play nine non-league and four league games away from Brown Field, highlighted by trips to Tulsa and Michigan to take on the #13 Golden Hurricane and #15 Wolverines. Crusader fans will need to jump at any chance they have to take in a home game, as they will be a rarity in 2013.
Looking Ahead: The Crusaders home stand will be short lived as the team is set to take to the road again next weekend. The team will travel to Tulsa on Friday night to take on the #13 Golden Hurricane and Western Illinois on Sunday to take on the Leathernecks.
Returning All-League Players: Eric Nieto, who earned Second Team All-League honors last season, is back for his junior year and was a preseason Second Team All-League selection by College Sports Madness. 2012 Horizon League All-Newcomer selection Jordan Aidoud returns for his sophomore season with the Crusaders as well. Aidoud led the team in points a season ago, finding the back of the net four times and assisting on three goals.
Champions in the Classroom: In 2012, Todd Vervynckt was selected to the Horizon League All-Academic team and the CoSIDA Academic All-American Third Team and All-District V First Team. Vervynckt is in the Mechanical Engineering program at Valparaiso.