Wednesday, September 17, 9:30 p.m. – Evanston, Ill. – at Northwestern University
Friday, September 19, 7:00 p.m. – Valparaiso, Ind. – vs. Western Illinois University
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso men’s soccer team concludes their season-opening road trip with a jaunt up the Lake Michigan shoreline to battle Big Ten opponent Northwestern on Wednesday night. The Crusaders then welcome Western Illinois to Brown Field for their home opener Friday night.
Previously: The Crusaders gained two victories last week against top-flight competition. On Tuesday night, they notched their first win of the year against former Horizon League rival Butler, 2-1. Jordan James sent home Jordan Aidoud’s cross in the 101st minute to give the Crusaders their first win of the year. On Thursday afternoon at then-#7 Michigan State, Omar Lawrence scored the game-winner in the 57th minute as the Crusaders played spoiler for the second year in the row against a ranked Spartans team.
Following the Crusaders: Both matches 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 is in his eighth season at Valpo, with 51 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: Northwestern – The Crusaders and Wildcats will meet up for the 16th time in the series. Valpo won 1-0 in their last meeting in 2011.
Western Illinois – This marks the 28th time the Crusaders and Fighting Leathernecks have matched up. Valpo beat their former Mid-Continent Conference foe last year in Macomb, 5-2. Adrian Graham, Nick Suker, and Jordan Aidoud each scored a goal, while Zev Taubileb notched two assists.
Scouting the Opposition: Northwestern – The Wildcats are 2-1-2 on the season, falling to Ohio State, 2-0 on Sunday. Joey Calistri leads the Wildcats with three goals, while goalkeeper Tyler Miller comes in with a .55 GAA and three shutouts.
Western Illinois – The Fighting Leathernecks come to Brown Field with a 2-3-1 record, beating High Point 2-1 on Sunday. Jacob Bevan and Armel Kouassi each have two goals, while goalkeeper Yves Dietrich comes in with a 1.12 GAA and one shutout under his belt.
Campbell Garners National Honor: Sophomore goalkeeper Nico Campbell has been named to College Soccer News National Team of the Week after his stellar performances last week, allowing one goal to Butler and shutting out #7 Michigan State, both on the road.
Lawrence Wins National, League Honor: Sophomore defenseman Omar Lawrence was named College Sports Madness Horizon League Player of the Week and the Horizon League Co-Defensive Player of the Week following his game-winning goal at #7 Michigan State and anchoring the Crusader defense that shut out the Spartans and limited Butler to one goal.
Toppling the Best: The Crusaders’ win over #7 Michigan State last week marked the highest-ranked team Valpo has defeated in program history. Previously, the best win came way back in 2002, when the Crusaders defeated #22 Wisconsin.
Taking on Ranked Foes: The game against #7 Michigan State continued a trend of Avery challenging the Crusaders every year. In his eighth season as head coach, Valpo has now faced 18 ranked teams and owns three wins and two draws in those games. In addition, the Crusaders have surrendered just 24 goals over those 18 contests and only four of those games have been decided by more than one goal.
We’re Going Streaking: This is the third time in the past five seasons the Crusaders have been unbeaten through four games (2010 and 2013). The streak reached five games in 2013 and six in 2010.
Protecting the Net: Through four games this season, the Brown and Gold have only allowed one goal while playing suffocating defense. They lead the nation with a .955 save percentage and are seventh in team goals against average with a 0.21 GAA.
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 three videos are available at http://youtu.be/Mpv9DL1mLlg, http://youtu.be/9E5NO1YchEg, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG5coYUdKQw&list=PLTxRmOti-0BMlxucHOzE4siq5uNWRDa8D.
-Valpo Men’s Soccer-