Valparaiso (5-2-2, 3-0-1 Horizon) at Omaha (4-3-3, 1-0 Summit League)
Crusaders hit road after exciting victory on Saturday
Monday, Oct. 3 - 7 p.m. – Omaha, Neb.
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso University men's soccer team faces a quick turnaround for a nonleague road match with Omaha on Monday night at Caniglia Field. The Crusaders enter the match having won three straight.
Previously: Valpo capped a successful week by moving into first place in the Horizon League with a 1-0 victory over Oakland on Saturday night at Brown Field. Kendan Anderson scored by bending a shot from the top of the left box in the fourth minute on an assistant from Ramone Howell. The Crusaders did not allow a goal in either of last week’s matches, also posting a 3-0 shutout of Eastern Illinois on Tuesday.
Looking Ahead: Valpo returns to conference play on Saturday night at Brown Field as Milwaukee comes to town. The Panthers, who play at Western Illinois on Tuesday, are 5-4-1 and 3-1 in Horizon League play.
Following the Crusaders: Omaha will have a live audio broadcast and live stats available for Monday’s match. There will also be a video broadcast for a fee. Links to video, audio and live stats can be found on ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Mike Avery: In his 10th season at the helm of the Crusader men’s soccer program, Mike Avery owns 69 career victories. Under Avery's guidance, the Crusaders have been a stellar defensive side, posting eight of the top-10 defensive seasons in program history over the first nine seasons and earning five league Goalkeeper of the Year accolades. Avery has led the Crusaders to a new standard in his time as head coach, as a program which had enjoyed just one winning season in the 24 years prior to his arrival has finished above the .500 mark five of the last seven years. He has also seen numerous players go on to play professional soccer, most recently Jordan Aidoud in his native France.
Series Notes: Monday’s match marks the second all-time meeting between Valpo and Omaha. The first came a year ago at Brown Field, when the Crusaders pulled out a 1-0 overtime win over the Mavericks, who were then ranked No. 23 in the country. Keeper Nico Campbell notched the shutout for the Crusaders, while Omaha’s Joseph Ghitis allowed the golden goal.
Scouting the Opposition: Omaha carries positive momentum into Monday’s match after a 3-1 win over IUPUI in the Summit League opener on Saturday. Fazlo Alihodzic led the way for the Mavericks with a goal and two assists, while Seth Rinderknecht and Jacob Weiler also scored goals. Alihodzic leads the team in goals (5), points (14), assists (4) and shots on goal (11). Omaha was picked to finish second in the Summit League preseason poll.
Piling up Points: The Crusaders own 10 points through four league matches, tying their highest total through four fixtures since joining the Horizon League. The last time the Crusaders had 10 points after four conference matches was 2011, when Valpo went on to win its only Horizon League title.
An Immediate Splash: Senior Kendan Anderson knows how to make a positive first impression. After missing the first seven fixtures with an injury, he scored in his regular season Valpo debut on Tuesday at Eastern Illinois. As an encore, the South Florida transfer found the back of the net in the fourth minute of his Brown Field debut on Saturday. Although he has only played in two of the team’s nine matches, Anderson is tied for second on the team with five points.
Madrid Among League Leaders: Valpo’s Isaiah Madrid leads the team and ranks second in the Horizon League in goals (6) and points (15). He is the Horizon League leader in points per game at 1.67.
Campbell Continues Climb: By virtue of Saturday’s clean sheet, Valpo senior goalkeeper Nico Campbell is now tied with Ryan Schwarz for second in career shutouts in program history. Campbell has 17 shutouts for his career and two this season.
Crusaders Picked Fourth in Preseason Poll: Valpo has been picked to finish fourth in the Horizon League in 2016, according to preseason polling of the league’s head coaches. The Crusaders did pick up three first-place votes, matching the most of any team in the league. Valpo totaled 60 points in the polling, including its three first-place nods, to finish in fourth place, just three points behind UIC (one first-place vote). Oakland and Wright State each received three first-place votes and tied atop the preseason poll with 73 points.
Looking Back at 2015: Last season, the Crusaders posted a 7-6-5 record - one which included a 2-1-1 mark against sides ranked in the top-25 nationally, the first time in program history the team had defeated multiple top-25 programs in the same season. Nico Campbell was tabbed the league's Goalkeeper of the Year, while Omar Lawrence and Isaiah Madrid both earned NSCAA Third Team All-Region honors.
An Experienced Side: Nine of last season’s 11 starters return for the Crusaders in 2016, while in all 15 players are back from last year’s squad. Valpo surely ranks among the nation’s oldest teams, as the squad features a total of 13 seniors.
Flying Many Flags: Head coach Mike Avery and his coaching staff pull from all over the world for players to comprise the Crusader men’s soccer squad. The 2016 Valpo side features 19 international-born players from 12 different countries. Leading the way is the contingent from Jamaica, as Valpo counts seven Jamaicans on its roster for the 2016 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.
Crusaders Working With TOCO: Each home game, the Senior in the Spotlight shirts that are tossed out to fans will feature the logo of They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO). Throughout the 2016 season, the Crusaders will be working to raise money and awareness for TOCO’s work through sport with at risk children in the Caribbean and United States. As part of this effort, men’s soccer will be working with Valpo women’s volleyball to fund a future international service trip, bringing the student-athletes of these two teams to the Caribbean to get on the ground with TOCO and work directly with children the charity supports.