Valparaiso (2-2-1, 0-0-0 Horizon)
Crusaders open Horizon League action
Saturday, Sept. 19 – 12 p.m. – Detroit, Mi. – at Detroit (3-2-2, 0-0-0 Horizon)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: Valparaiso will open up their ninth season in the Horizon League this weekend as the Crusaders square off with Detroit on the road.
Previously: Valpo went 1-0 in their only matchup last weekend, against former league foe IUPUI. The Crusaders were led to the double-overtime victory once again by Isaiah Madrid. Madrid was able to send the golden goal to the back of the net in the 107th minute to give the Crusaders another overtime win.
Following the Crusaders: This weekend's match at Detroit will be broadcasted online via ESPN3.com, and live stats will be 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 59 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 weekend’s match will mark the 20th meeting all-time between Valpo and Detroit, with the Crusaders owning a 10-9-0 advantage in the all-time series. Valparaiso and Detroit have battled to three consecutive shutouts the last three seasons, with Valpo winning two of three, but the Titans won last season’s matchup at Brown Field on October 15th, 1-0.
Scouting the Opposition: Detroit enters Saturday’s matchup at 3-2-2 on the year after its most recent victory, on the road at Michigan, 2-1 on Wednesday. The Titans are currently riding a three-game win streak as Tyler Moorman leads the Titans in goals, scoring four of the team’s nine goals on the year to date. Nathan Steinwascher has played six of Detroit’s seven games in goal, holding teams to a 1.23 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 Does it Again: Junior Isaiah Madrid - a transfer to the Crusader program this year from Florida Gulf Coast - has continued to impress in the early season. After notching a multi-goal game in the previous week, including a double-overtime golden goal, Madrid was at it again last weekend at IUPUI. The junior scored his second double-overtime golden goal in the last week in the 107th minute, and also assisted on Valpo’s first goal of the match as well. Through five matches, Madrid leads the Crusaders and ranks second in the league in shots (18), tied for fourth in goals (3) and tied for fifth in points (7).
Gweh Goes for Goal: Junior Matthew Gweh has stepped into an everyday starting role for the Crusaders up front as a junior and has made the most of it. Gweh found the back of the net for the second time this season against IUPUI, and now owns five career goals. He has also tallied an assist this year and currently ranks second on the team with five points.
Minutes Galore: Valparaiso has found itself playing overtime soccer in each of its last four matches, all of which have gone into double overtime. During this extra time stretch, the Crusaders hold a 2-1-1 record, with both game-winning goals coming off the foot of Isaiah Madrid. The last time the Crusaders played four consecutive overtime games came in 2011, when they went 1-1-2. Last season saw Valpo set a new program record with 10 times going to extra time – in all under head coach Mike Avery, 57 of Valpo’s 157 games have gone past the 90-minute mark.
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.