Valpo Battle Milwaukee At Home
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Valparaiso (8-3-3) (3-2-0 HL)
Saturday, October 25, 2014, 7:00 pm – Valparaiso, Ind. – vs. Milwaukee
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso men’s hosts Milwaukee this weekend on Saturday night as they wind down the regular season in a crucial game for both teams. The Crusaders are tied for third in the Horizon League standings with nine points, while Milwaukee is tied for sixth with seven points.
Previously on the Pitch: Valpo split a pair of league matches last week. On Wednesday they suffered their first home loss of the season as they fell to Detroit, 1-0. They rebounded on Saturday to take down Cleveland State on the road, 1-0. Jordan Aidoud scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season to provide the offense, while Nico Campbell notched his fifth shutout of the season.
Following the Crusaders: Saturday’s match 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 57 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: Milwaukee – This will be the 11th time Valpo has faced off with Milwaukee, with the series tied at 4-4-2. Last year the #24 Panthers won a close game at Brown Field, 1-0. Tom Serratore made six saves for the Brown and Gold in the loss.
Scouting the Opposition: Milwaukee – The Panthers come in Brown Field with a record of 5-9-2 and 2-3-1 in the Horizon League. They lost a close game to in-state rival Wisconsin on Wednesday, 1-0, and knocked off UIC last Saturday, 2-1. Reid Stevenson and Petter Ingebrigtsen both lead the team in points (nine) and goals (four) through 16 games. In goal, Liam Anderson has struggled, giving up 22 goals in 13 matches for a 1.64 goals against average.
Top of the League: The Crusaders find themselves at the top of several Horizon League categories, including goals allowed (11) and goals against average (.73). They are also in the top-three in points (51), goals (19) and shutouts (5) in all games.
Crusaders Ranked 25th in RPI: Three weeks after achieving their highest RPI ranking ever, the Crusaders find themselves at #25 this week. Valpo’s non-league RPI comes in at number seven, while their league RPI sits at #14. The Brown and Gold are 3-3-2 against the top 100, while going 5-1-3 in non-league action. Valpo has faced four top 50 teams, including Michigan State (9), Davidson (14), Northwestern (26) and Dayton (45) and are the only Horizon League team represented in the top 50.
Crusaders Ranked Seventh in Regional Poll: The Brown and Gold moved down a spot to number seven in this week’s NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I Men's Great Lakes Region Poll. They are joined in the poll by league rival Detroit, who sits at number nine.
Senior Spotlight: Throughout the season, the team will honor a senior player at selected home games. This week the Crusaders will honor midfielder Zev Taublieb and defenseman Jacob Unger before their game against Milwaukee. Last week they recognized they recognized senior midfielders Diego Calix and Julio Velasquez.
National Recognition: A number of Crusader players have made appearances on weekly national teams. Goalkeeper Nico Campbell and midfielder Zev Taublieb were each named to College Soccer News National Team of the Week on September 15 and 29, respectively. Midfielder Jordan Aidoud was named to Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week on October 13 after scoring three goals in two games.
League Awards Piling Up: The Brown and Gold have had several players win the Horizon League Player of the Week awards. Nico Campbell and defenseman Omar Lawrence have each won the Defensive side, while Zev Taublieb and Jordan Aidoud have garnered the Offensive award.
Protecting the Net: Through 14 games this season, the Brown and Gold have only allowed 11 goals while playing suffocating defense. They are 23rd in the nation in team goals against average with a .73 and 43rd in save percentage with a .804.
Future Looks Bright: Freshman midfielders Ramone Howell and Stian Sandbekkhaug were each named to Top Drawer Soccer’s National Top 100 freshman players. Howell cracked the top-50 at 42 and Sandbekkhaug checks in at 87. Valpo is the only Horizon League member with more than one representative.
Comeback Kids: The Crusaders’ come-from-behind win against Wright State was the first two-goal comeback in the Mike Avery era and their first comeback win since Sept. 27, 2006 when they beat Evansville 5-4.
Five is the Magic Number: Five second half goals powered Valpo past Wright State last Friday, the most goals scored since a 5-2 win against Western Illinois on Sept. 22, 2013. It was also the most goals scored in a half since the Crusaders scored five in an 8-0 win on Aug. 26, 2011 against Calumet and the most in any Horizon League game. It was also the most in any conference match since Nov. 1, 1998 when they beat Western Illinois 5-4 in a Mid-Continental Conference game.
Non-Conference Schedule Paying Off: The Crusaders faced a challenging non-league schedule this year, and are now seeing the fruits of their labor through league play. They took to the road against several big time opponents, including then #7 Michigan State, North Carolina State, Dayton and Davidson. The Wildcats only blemish on their record is a 2-0 lost to Dayton and upset #2 Virginia on Sept. 24. They are also receiving votes in the NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I Men’s National Poll. The Spartans only losses have been to the Crusaders and Ohio State. They are currently ranked 16th in the NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I Men’s National Poll.
Sparks Off the Bench: Freshman forwards Jordan James and Stian Sandbekkhaug have made the most of his opportunities coming off the bench. They are both tied for second on the team in goals with three. Two of James’ goals have been match-winners, against Butler and in the home opener against Western Illinois.
Receiving Votes: The Crusaders received six votes in the NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I Men’s National Poll for the week of September 16, the first time the team has received votes.
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. For more information, go to the #oneValpo Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/oneVALPO.
-Valpo Men’s Soccer-