Senior Kendan Anderson (Portmore, Jamaica/St. George's College [South Florida/ASA College]) made a favorable first impression in his Brown Field debut, scoring an early goal to lift the Crusaders to a 1-0 victory over two-time defending Horizon League champion Oakland on Saturday.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders wasted no time in cracking the scoreboard as Anderson scored in the fourth minute. He shot from the top-left corner of the box, bending it inside the right post.
- Ramone Howell (Portmore, Jamaica / Jamaica College) provided the assist on Anderson’s goal, his first of the season.
- Valpo pushed forward early in the second half seeking an insurance goal, creating a number of scoring chances.
- The Valpo defense dealt with Oakland pressure in the middle of the second half. Goalkeeper Nico Campbell (Kingston, Jamaica / St. George’s College) made several saves during that stretch to keep the shutout intact.
- Oakland went a man down in the 78th minute due to a red card. For the remainder of the match, the Crusaders kept the Grizzlies from any quality opportunities.
- Campbell finished with five saves, while Oakland keeper Zach Walker notched two.
- The Crusaders captured the victory despite being outshot 16-12. The Grizzlies placed six shots on goal to Valpo’s four.
Inside the Match
- Anderson, who was playing in his first Horizon League match on Saturday, made his season debut on Tuesday against Eastern Illinois. He also scored against the Panthers and has two goals in as many games. The South Florida transfer did not play in the first seven games of the regular season due to an injury.
- The shutout was the 17th of Campbell’s Crusader career, moving him into a tie with Ryan Schwarz for the second-most in program history.
- The Grizzlies (4-5-0, 3-1-0) were atop the Horizon League standings entering Saturday. The Crusaders (5-2-2, 3-0-1) are now the only Horizon League team that is unbeaten in league play and have taken over first place.
- Saturday night’s match served as the program's They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO) benefit match. The Crusaders are working to raise money and awareness for TOCO’s work with at risk children in the Caribbean and United States. On Saturday, they collected donations at the gate and throughout the game and wore special blue charity uniforms, which were auctioned off after the match.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
"It was an exciting game, filled with all the drama you'd expect when you're facing the two time defending champion of the league. Oakland has a very good team again this season, and deservedly they are a very proud team, so for anyone to knock them off is going to take a very determined effort. I thought our guys had great focus, held our defensive shape well and created enough chances to earn the win. It was a good performance and I am pleased that the good crowd that came out to help us support TOCO were treated to a Valpo win."
"The guys are very happy to occupy the top spot in the league, but they also know that if we don't back it up with another similar effort next weekend against Milwaukee, it will be a short stay at the top. We have a little side business to take care of first with a quick trip early Sunday morning to Omaha for a Monday night game at UNO, and in some ways having to jump right back into action is a good exercise for our focus. If we don't keep our feet right on the ground and pay attention to what's right in front of us, Omaha will make us pay. We saw last year that they are a very talented team, so we will certainly have our work cut out for us."
The Crusaders (5-2-2, 3-0-1) step out of Horizon League play on Monday as they travel to Omaha to take on the Mavericks at 7 p.m. Links to live video and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.