Valparaiso (1-2-1, 0-0-0 Horizon)
Crusaders face final test before Horizon League action
Friday, Sept. 11 – 6 p.m. – Indianapolis, Ind. – at IUPUI (0-2-1, 0-0-0 Summit)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: For the third straight outing, Valpo will face a former conference rival, as the Crusaders kick off a three-match road trip at IUPUI Friday evening. The meeting with the Jaguars marks the Crusaders' last non-league contest before the start of Horizon League play.
Previously: Valpo went 1-0-1 last weekend in a pair of hot, humid matches against former league foes. The Crusaders opened the weekend Friday evening at Western Illinois, where a brace from Isaiah Madrid - including the golden goal in the second overtime - led Valpo to a 3-2 victory. The Crusaders then opened the home campaign at Brown Field Monday night against Loyola with a scoreless double-overtime draw.
Following the Crusaders: This weekend's match at IUPUI will have live stats available through ValpoAthletics.com. Over the course of the 2015 season, five home matches, as well as at least five road matches, will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com, while WVUR, Valpo’s student radio station, will also be broadcasting select matches.
Head Coach Mike Avery: In his ninth season at the helm of the Valpo men’s soccer program, Mike Avery owns 58 career wins. The 2011 Horizon Coach of the Year led the Crusaders to their first-ever conference title in the same season and has posted eight of the top-10 defensive seasons in program history over his first eight 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 seen a number of players go on to play professional soccer – most recently, Zev Taublieb from last year’s squad, who currently plays for Wilmington Hammerheads of the United Soccer League.
Series Notes: This will mark the 22nd meeting all-time between Valpo and IUPUI, with the Crusaders owning a 13-7-1 advantage in the all-time series. Valpo has defeated the Jaguars each of the last two years, including a 3-1 victory in Indianapolis on Oct. 7 of last season. Jordan Aidoud, Matthew Gweh and Stian Sandbekkhaug found the back of the net in the win, with Zev Taublieb assisting on the latter two's goals.
Scouting the Opposition: IUPUI enters Friday's matchup at 0-2-1 on the year after most recently falling to Western Michigan, 1-0, on Sunday. Clint Hoffar has two of the Jaguars' three goals on the year to date, while Eduardo Cortes has played every minute in goal and owns a 1.54 GAA.
Crusaders Picked Second in Preseason Poll: Valpo has been picked to finish in second place in the Horizon League in 2015, according to preseason polling of the league’s head coaches. The Crusaders totaled 64 points in the polling and received two first-place votes to earn the second spot in the preseason rankings, trailing only Oakland, which picked up five first-place nods and 75 points. Valpo edged out Wright State (63 points, two first-place votes) for the second spot, while Milwaukee was picked fourth and received the remaining vote for the top spot.
Looking Back at 2014: Last season saw the Crusaders enjoy a number of program firsts. For the first time, Valpo was ranked in national top-25 polls (Top Drawer Soccer, #25; Soccer America, #22) and received votes in the NSCAA top-25 poll for the first time as well. The Crusaders also earned their highest ranking within the NSCAA Great Lakes Region poll (fourth) and reached as high as #9 in the NCAA’s RPI ratings, a program high. Early in the season, Valpo went into East Lansing, Mich. and downed Michigan State for a second straight season – the win over the #7 Spartans marked the highest-ranked opponent the Crusaders have ever defeated. At season’s end, Omar Lawrence was named an NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region honoree, while during the year, Jordan Aidoud, Zev Taublieb and Lawrence all earned spots on various national Teams of the Week.
Madrid Makes His Mark: Junior Isaiah Madrid - a transfer to the Crusader program this year from Florida Gulf Coast - has wasted little time making an impact on the field. Madrid has started each of Valpo's first four games, and stood out offensively in Friday's win over Western Illinois. Madrid opened the scoring in the 11th minute, and then completed his brace with the golden goal in the 102nd minute. He was the first Crusader to record a multi-goal game since both Jordan Aidoud and Stian Sandbekkhaug did so against Wright State last season.
Aidoud Does It Again: Senior Jordan Aidoud found the back of the net for the 10th time in his career in the win over Western Illinois Friday. Aidoud, who led the Crusaders in goals as both a freshman and a junior, opened his account for this season in the 60th minute versus the Leathernecks. He has now scored goals in each of his four years at Valpo.
Valuable Experience: Junior goalkeeper Nico Campbell and sophomore midfielder Ramone Howell both were part of Jamaica’s u23 setup this summer, trying to help the side qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games. Both Campbell and Howell went to the u23 National Team camp in March and helped Jamaica advance from the June stage of Caribbean Zone qualifying, with Campbell starting every game in goal. The Reggae Boyz u23 side ended up falling just one game short of qualifying in August for the final stage of CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying.
Flying Many Flags: As has become customary, head coach Mike Avery and his coaching staff have pulled from all over the world for players to comprise the Crusader men’s soccer squad. Beyond the borders of the United States, this year’s Valpo side boasts players hailing from a total of 13 different birth countries. Leading the way is the contingent from Jamaica, as Valpo counts six Jamaicans on its roster for the 2015 campaign.
#oneVALPO: The Crusader men’s soccer program will continue to promote its #oneVALPO campaign, a campaign started last year 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.