Valparaiso (3-3-3, 0-1-1 Horizon)
Crusaders Continue League Play at Green Bay;
Meet Loyola Tuesday in Midweek Matchup
Saturday, Oct. 5 - at Green Bay (5-2-2, 0-0-0 Horizon) - 3 p.m. CT
Tuesday, Oct. 8 - at Loyola (3-5-0) - 7 p.m. CT
This Week in Crusader Soccer: After solid second half performances in each game this past weekend, the Crusader men look to put it all together on Saturday as the team travels to Green Bay for what promises to be a very important league match. Kickoff for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT. On Tuesday, the Crusaders travel to Loyola for a midweek matchup against the Ramblers, a former Horizon League foe. Kickoff for Tuesday night’s game is set for 7 p.m. CT.
Previously: The Crusader men ran into a few bumps over the weekend in Ohio, falling to both Wright State and Dayton. A slow start in each match would be the difference, as the Crusaders lost both games by a 2-0 score line. Each game carried a similar storyline – a slow start from the Crusaders, early goals conceded, solid play in the second half, and plenty of quality chances left unfinished. Despite the results, the Crusaders were able to end the trip knowing they deserved more out of each game.
Following The Crusaders: Both matches will have live stats available through ValpoAthletics.com. Saturday’s match at Green Bay will have free live video available through the Horizon League Network. Over the course of the 2013 season, seven matches will have free live video on the Horizon League Network, including three matches at home. Visit @VUMSO on Twitter to view comments and photos leading up to the games over the weekend.
Head Coach Mike Avery: A former Horizon League Coach of the Year, Mike Avery returns for his seventh season at the helm of the men’s soccer program. As the winningest head coach in the program’s history, Avery has led the Crusaders to 47 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: Green Bay – Saturday’s Horizon League matchup marks the 16th meeting between the Crusaders and Phoenix. The Phoenix hold a 2-12-1 all-time series advantage over the Crusaders. The Crusader men are 1-4-1 against the Phoenix under head coach Mike Avery. The two sides played to a 1-1 draw in their last meeting. Loyola – The Ramblers hold a 3-15-5 all-time series advantage over the Crusaders. The sides met last just a season ago with the game ending in a 0-0 draw. The Crusaders are 1-2-3 against the Ramblers under Avery.
Scouting the Opposition: Green Bay – The Phoenix enter Saturday’s match against the Crusaders at 5-2-2, 0-0-0 Horizon. Green Bay has a potent attack that averages just over two goals per game with 20 goals scored in nine games. Sam Krenzien leads the Phoenix in total points with 20. Krenzien already has eight goals and four assists to his name in the 2013 season. Lawrence Talery has 11 total points and leads the team in assists with five. The Phoenix have also conceded just over two goals per game, allowing 19 on the year. Loyola – Currently, the Ramblers sit at 3-5-0 on the season with wins coming over Grand Canyon, IPFW, and Eastern Illinois. Eric Nock leads the Ramblers in both goals, 4, and assists, 2. The Ramblers have conceded 16 goals in eight games.
Regional Rankings: For two consecutive weeks, the Crusaders were ranked #10 in the NSCAA Great Lakes region. Valpo last appeared in the region rankings in October of 2011; the year the team won the Horizon League title. The Great Lakes region is widely considered to be one of the toughest regions in college soccer.
A Tale of Two Halves: At times during this season games have been a tale of two halves. In the first half of games, the Crusaders have been slow to start and are unable to find the game. As a result, the team has conceded early goals. In the second half of games, however, the Crusaders look to be a completely different team. They control the run of play, keep the ball for extended periods of time, and create plenty of quality chances. In the second half of games, the Crusaders more than double their amount of goals scored (7 to 3,) and shots taken (63-29), and double their amount of corners taken (22 to 11). The team also cuts down the number of chances their opponents take by exactly one third.
Finishing Chances: The Crusaders now sit with 11 goals scored for the season. Currently, the Crusaders are averaging 1.22 goals per game. The team is much more adept at producing goals this season, as six players have each scored at least once. Adrian Graham, Julio Velasquez, and Jordan Aidoud each have one goal this season, while Todd Vervynckt has netted two goals to his name. Leading the team this season are Charles Barden and Nick Suker with three goals apiece.
Ranked Opponents: The Crusaders have played three teams that were ranked in the Top 25 in the national rankings - all on the road. The Crusaders played #24 Michigan State, #12 Tulsa, and #19 Dayton. Currently, Valpo is 1-2-0 against Top 25 opponents - the win coming in a 2-1 victory over Michigan State.
On the Road Again: The Crusader men are once again back on the road. Having already spent weekends in Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Ohio, the Crusaders now head to Green Bay, Wisconsin for a Saturday league match against Green Bay, and Chicago, Illinois for a nonleague contest against Loyola.
Home Sweet Home: The Crusaders will have played 10 of 11 games on the road before playing their second home game of the season. The Crusaders will play a league game against Milwaukee at home on Saturday, October 12 after having played six straight games on the road. Valpo will host three additional teams at Brown Field this year – UIC on October 25th, Western Michigan on October 30th, and Detroit on November 9th.
Looking Ahead: After three consecutive weeks on the road, the Crusader men will finally have the chance to play another game at home on October 12, as the team welcomes Horizon League foe Milwaukee to Brown Field. The Crusaders’ last home game took place almost exactly one month ago when the team claimed a thrilling 2-1-overtime victory over the visiting IUPUI Jaguars. The home stand will be short lived however, as the men find themselves back on the road for a nonleague game at Kentucky on October 16th.
Champions in the Classroom: In 2012, Todd Vervynckt was selected to the Horizon All-Academic team, the CoSIDA Academic All-American Third team, and the All-District V first team. Vervynckt is in the Mechanical Engineering program at Valparaiso.