Men’s Soccer Opens Season on the Road
Valparaiso (0-0-0, 0-0-0 Horizon)
Friday, Aug. 29 – 6 p.m. - Raleigh, N.C. – at North Carolina State (0-0-0)
Sunday, Aug. 31 - 3 p.m. – Davidson, N.C. – at Davidson (0-0-0)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso men’s soccer team opens the 2014 campaign this weekend with a trip to the Tar Heel State, taking on the Wolfpack of North Carolina State on Friday evening and the Davidson Wildcats on Sunday afternoon. The Crusaders open up the season with a five game road trip before returning home Sept. 19.
Previously: The Crusaders split a pair of exhibition contests last weekend. Valpo won their exhibition opener against Lake Forest College, 4-1, and dropped their final game to Lewis University, 1-0.
Following the Crusaders: Both matches this weekend will have live stats available through ValpoAthletics.com. Over the course of the 2014 season, four matches will have free live video on the Horizon League Network, and WVUR, Valpo’s student radio station, will also be broadcasting select matches.
Head Coach Mike Avery: Mike Avery enters his eighth season at Valpo with 49 wins to his credit. The 2011 Horizon Coach of the Year led the Brown and Gold to their first-ever conference title in the same season and has posted seven of the top-10 defensive seasons in program history over his first seven seasons. The third coach in Valpo’s history, he owns the best winning percentage and second-most wins in program history. He has coached four Goalkeeper of the Year honorees during that stretch, and has also seen one goalkeeper (Kyle Zobeck) and one defender (Stefan Antonijevic) selected in the MLS Supplemental Draft and go on to play professional soccer.
Series Notes: North Carolina State – Valparaiso has only played the Wolfpack once, traveling to Raleigh in 2007, losing 2-1.
Davidson – This is the first ever meeting between the two schools.
Scouting the Opposition: North Carolina State – The Wolfpack are coming off of an 8-5-4 season, but finished 3-5-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. They return their leading goal-scorer, Nick Surkamp, who finished with eight goals last year and scored one this pre-season. North Carolina State shut-out all three of their exhibition opponents, downing UNC-Wilmington, 1-0, Campbell, 2-0, and Elon 1-0.
Davidson – The Wildcats head into their first season in the Atlantic 10 Conference after finishing 8-10-1 in the Southern Conference last season. Davidson returns their starting goalkeeper, Daniel Peek, who finished with 1.47 goals against average and a .769 save percentage en route to a 7-8-1 record. Valeriy Sviderskiy, their top goal scorer with eight goals, also returns.
Crusaders Picked Fifth in Preseason Poll: The head coaches selected Valparaiso to finish in fifth place in the Horizon League this season according to the preseason poll. Milwaukee was picked to capture the league title, with UIC right behind the Panthers. Wright State and Oakland were picked just in front of the Crusaders.
Looking Back at 2013: Last season’s Crusader squad posted a 5-8-5 record and look to return to their winning ways in 2014. Among the highlights from last year include Valpo’s upset over #24 Michigan State up in East Lansing, one of the five top-25 teams the Crusaders faced last year. The Brown and Gold proved to be a tough team to score against, surrendering only 22 goals in 18 games. Nine different players scored goals for the Crusaders, and 14 players tallied points.
Roster Breakdown: Valpo brings back seven of its 11 most frequent starters from the 2013 season. The Crusaders return their duo of goalkeepers who combined to play every minute of every match a season ago. Tom Serratore earned 14 starts, while Nico Campbell made the other four starts. In front of them, four back line defenders are back in 2014 – seniors Eric Nieto and Mitch Albrecht and sophomores Adrian Graham and Omar Lawrence. Senior Zev Taublieb returns after a successful summer with the Seattle Sounders u23. He is joined by another senior starter in Nick Suker, the lone multiple-goal scorer returning this season. The Brown and Gold welcome 11 newcomers to the program, 10 of which are in their first year of collegiate soccer.
Flying Many Flags: This year’s Valparaiso men’s soccer team represents many different countries. Beyond the borders of the United States, the Crusaders boast players hailing from six other nations for a total of 12 international players born outside the United States. Leading the way is the contingent from Jamaica, as Valpo counts six Jamaicans on its roster for the 2014 campaign.
#oneVALPO: Throughout this season, the Crusader men’s soccer program will be promoting its #oneVALPO campaign, a campaign to celebrate diversity, via social and digital media and at its games. The first two videos are available at http://youtu.be/Mpv9DL1mLlg and http://youtu.be/9E5NO1YchEg.