Tuesday, September 23, 7:30 p.m. – Valparaiso, Ind. – vs. Loyola University Chicago
Friday, September 26, 7:00 p.m. – Nashville, Tenn. – at Belmont University
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso men’s soccer team welcomes Loyola University of Chicago to Brown Field on Tuesday night for a final tune-up before they head to the Volunteer State and open Horizon League play against Belmont.
Previously: The Crusaders split a pair of non-league games last week, losing at Northwestern, 1-0, on Wednesday night, before defeating Western Illinois, 2-1, on Friday night in double overtime to win their home opener. Jordan James scored both goals for the Crusaders.
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. Both matches will be streamed live at HorizonLeague.com through the Horizon League Network.
Head Coach Mike Avery: Mike Avery is in his eighth season at Valpo, with 52 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: Loyola – This will be the 23rd time the Crusaders have faced off with the Ramblers, battling to a scoreless double-overtime draw last year.
Belmont – This will be the first time the Crusaders and Bruins have faced off, and it is Belmont’s inaugural season in the Horizon League.
Scouting the Opposition: Loyola – The Ramblers come to Brown Field with a 3-2-0 record, losing their most recent game against Butler, 2-1. Elliot Collier leads the Bruins with two goals while Brian Bement leads the team with two assists. Goalkeeper Tim Dobrowolski has started all five games while giving up only three goals, posting three shutouts and sporting a 0.60 goals against average.
Belmont – The Bruins are off to a 1-7-0 start in their first season as an affiliate member of the Horizon League. They lost to in-state rival Memphis, 3-0, on Sunday in the Lipscomb Invitational. Nat Hubert leads the team with two goals and Grayson Rector comes in with a 2.45 goals against average while posting one shutout.
Spark Off the Bench: Freshman midfielder/forward Jordan James has made the most of his opportunities coming off the bench, leading the Brown and Gold with three goals in six games. Two of those have been match-winners, against Butler and in the home opener against Western Illinois. He leads the team with six points and five shots on goal.
Crusaders Ranked Fifth in Regional Poll: The Crusaders dropped one spot to number five in this week’s NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I Men's Great Lakes Region Poll. Last week was the highest the Crusaders had ever been ranked when they were number four in the Great Lakes Region.
Valpo Receiving Votes: The Brown and Gold received six votes in the NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I Men’s National Poll last week, the first time the team has received votes.
Protecting the Net: Through seven games this season, the Brown and Gold have only allowed three goals while playing their trademark suffocating defense. They are tied for eighth in the nation with a .893 save percentage and are 12th in team goals against average with a 0.44.
Senior Spotlight: Throughout the season, the Crusaders will honor a senior player at each home game. Last week they recognized fifth-year senior goalkeeper Tom Serratore before the home-opener against Western Illinois. This week they will honor senior defensemen Mitch Albrecht and Eric Nieto before Tuesday’s game against Loyola.
Campbell Garners National Honor: Sophomore goalkeeper Nico Campbell was named to College Soccer News National Team of the Week on September 15 after his stellar performances last week, allowing one goal to Butler and shutting out #7 Michigan State, both on the road.
Lawrence Wins League Honor: Sophomore defenseman Omar Lawrence was named the Horizon League Co-Defensive Player of the Week for the week of September 15 following his game-winning goal at #7 Michigan State and helping the Crusader defense shutout the Spartans and hold Butler to one goal.
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-