Valparaiso (2-2-2, 0-0-1 Horizon)
Crusaders take on second ranked foe of the year
Wednesday, Sept. 23 – 3:30 p.m. CT – Kalamazoo, Mich. – at #18 Western Michigan (5-0-1, 0-0-0 MAC)
Today in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso men’s soccer team faces another tough test Wednesday afternoon, as the Crusaders take on a ranked opponent for the second time this season in #18 Western Michigan.
Previously: Valpo opened Horizon League play with a scoreless double-overtime draw at Detroit on Saturday. Nico Campbell made five saves in goal for the Crusaders, who earned a point in the league opener.
Following the Crusaders: Today’s match will have live stats available through ValpoAthletics.com, while Western Michigan’s site will host a pay video broadcast. 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 marks the 22nd meeting all-time between the Broncos and the Crusaders, with WMU holding a 13-7-1 advantage in the series. The two sides have not met since 2012, when the Broncos earned a 1-0 victory over Valpo on Brown Field.
Scouting the Opposition: One of the stingiest defensive units in the nation to date, WMU enters today’s fixture at 5-0-1 on the season and having only surrendered one goal. The Broncos cracked the Top Drawer Soccer top-25 last week and come in this week at #18. Offensively, WMU has scored 14 goals this season, led by four goals and four assists from Nick Wysong.
Taking On Ranked Foes: Avery and the Crusaders have never shied away from taking on tough opposition, and this year’s side is no different. Western Michigan is the second ranked team Valpo has played during the regular season, joining Kentucky, while the Crusaders also took on a ranked Indiana side in preseason play. The Crusaders have taken on at least one nationally-ranked team in each of Avery’s nine seasons at Valpo and tend to limit the damage those teams do, surrendering just 26 goals in 19 matches against ranked teams while giving up one goal or fewer 11 times.