The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team wrapped the 2017 spring season in style and with a flair for the dramatic, as the Crusaders found two goals in the final 15 minutes to top the Valparaiso Alumni Team 4-3 in an exciting match on Sunday afternoon at Brown Field. With the win, the Crusaders finish the spring with a record of 7-1, with the only loss a 2-1 defeat back in February at Indiana University. Now, the team turns its attention to putting the final pieces in place in anticipation of the fall 2017 season.
Following the match, the team gathered in the locker room to honor the senior class and to announce the 2016-2017 Valparaiso Men’s Soccer Award Winners.
2016-17 Defensive MVP
Nico Campbell (GK; Kingston, Jamaica)
Campbell finished his Valpo career with 22 shutouts, one shy of matching Kyle Zobeck’s program record. He was an important piece on a Valpo side that tied the program record for wins in a single season with 10 in 2016. Campbell was named Horizon League all-second team as a senior. He posted an 0.93 goals against average while racking up 57 saves and notching seven clean sheets this year. Campbell has taken his game to the next level, as he now plays professionally with the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the United Soccer League.
2016-17 Offensive MVP
Isaiah Madrid (M; Albuquerque, N.M.)
Madrid finished the year with 10 goals and 25 points. He led the Horizon League in points and tied for the league lead in goals. Madrid was the sixth Valpo player to score double-figure goals in a single season and first to reach 25 points in the last 25 years. He finished his illustrious career with 15 goals and 37 points in just two seasons. Madrid received recognition from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America following the season, becoming the second Valpo player named to the All-Great Lakes Region First Team, joining Kyle Zobeck (2011). In addition to hauling in all-region recognition, Madrid achieved a place on the all-Horizon League First Team this year.
2016-17 TS11 Award
Omar Lawrence (D; Kingston, Jamaica)
Perhaps the most prestigious award given annually by the Valpo soccer program is the TS11 Award. The TS11 Award honors the player who best represents the core values of the program, and who is the embodiment of the ideal teammate. In addition to being an outstanding teammate and strong leader, Lawrence also stood out with his play on the pitch. He received first-team all-league and All-Great Lakes Region First Team following a stellar senior campaign for the Crusaders. He was a steady presence on defense and chipped in two goals this year.
2016-17 VUMSO Supporter’s Award
Nancy Scannell, Assistant Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Professor Scannell has been an instrumental figure in the lives of many of the Valparaiso men’s soccer players during their time on campus. In her role as Assistant Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, Professor Scannell has helped with degree planning for many of the program’s players who joined as transfers. With a helpful spirit, sage advice, vast institutional knowledge and a kind and common sense approach to finding each individual the right path to the degree that will help shape their future, Professor Scannell has been a strong advocate for the student-athlete and is well deserving of this honor.
“Nancy is a good friend to me, and one of the people I can always count on in the University community to help in any way she can – and as talented as she is in her job, we are fortunate she has a lot of help to give,” Valpo head coach Mike Avery said. “Many of our players have come here as transfers, and each with a unique credit history based on their academic work at other universities. Transferring credits is never a simple proposition, and we sometimes need advice on selecting an academic path at Valparaiso that accomplishes what the student wants to get out of the undergraduate experience while aligning with University policy and the NCAA guidelines. Nancy is a pro, and she really offers her expertise with the aim to help. We are blessed to have her on our team, and we are very proud to honor her this year.”
2016-17 VUMSO Alumni Award
Ken Kirleis, ‘02
Ken Kirleis played for the Crusaders from 1998-2001 and has since been a proud, passionate and engaged supporter of his program. Kirleis, who starred at Valparaiso High School for Valparaiso University’s first ever head coach Danny Jeftich, now resides in Granger, Ind. and works as a medical sales representative for Stryker.
“We are thrilled to honor Kenny with this year’s alumni award,” Avery said. “One of the greatest things about our program is, despite not having a very long history in comparison to some other Division I college programs, we do have a terrific alumni group that follows along with the team’s progress. Guys who played for different coaches and in different eras still feel a part of the program today – as they should. Ken plays a big role in helping us maintain that connection with his era of player. He has a great group of friends who were teammates. They remain very close, and all have made their presence felt as alums. Ken was one of the first donors to our locker sponsor program, and I can always count on him to be present at a few games per year. I’ve also appreciated his willingness to help our recent graduates when it comes to job placement and career advice. Our program has been built on using soccer as a vehicle to teach life lessons and to make lifelong friendships, and Ken models that for our current players very well.”