Valparaiso (3-3-1, 2-0 MVC)
Crusader to host TOCO Benefit Match on Saturday
Saturday, Sept. 23 – 1 p.m. CT – Valparaiso, Ind. – vs. Central Arkansas (1-6, 0-1 MVC)
Tuesday, Sept. 26 – 6 p.m. CT – Indianapolis, Ind. – at IUPUI (0-6, 0-2 Horizon)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team will look to move to 3-0-0 in the Missouri Valley Conference on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders welcome Central Arkansas for the program’s first home MVC match. A win will give the Crusaders their first 3-0-0 start to conference play in the history of Valparaiso men’s soccer, which dates back to 1983. The first league home date is followed by a trip to Indianapolis to compete against IUPUI.
Crusaders Working with TOCO: Valpo will once again raise funds for They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO) this year. Throughout the 2017 season, the Crusaders are 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 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. Saturday is the men’s soccer team’s TOCO benefit match, as the team will be collecting donations at the gate prior to the match. The first 50 donations of $5 or more will receive an exclusive men’s soccer bag. All proceeds will go to TOCO’s Caribbean Relief Fund to support cleanup efforts from the recent hurricane. Valpo head coach Mike Avery will personally match all donations received at the game.
Previously: The Crusaders erased a 2-0 deficit to roar from behind for a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday at Drake. Rafael Mentzingen and Jordan James each scored goals to help Valpo get even, then Jonas Engler scored the match-winner, a golden goal in the 106th minute. Engler’s goal marked the first of his collegiate career and was taken from 32 yards out from the far sidelines. Nacho Miras had seven saves to pick up the win and improve to 3-1-1. Valpo followed with a 2-1 nonconference loss to Fort Wayne on Monday despite outshooting the Mastodons 23-5.
Following the Crusaders: Saturday’s game against Central Arkansas can be heard online only via UStream with Ben Ariano and Danny Dalenberg describing the action. Links to live audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com. Tuesday’s match will air on ESPN3, with links to live video and stats available on ValploAthletics.com.
Regional Recognition: The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team is regionally ranked for the third consecutive week. Following the road win at Drake, the Crusaders climbed into ninth in the West Region according to the United Soccer Coaches Association. The Crusaders are one of three Missouri Valley Conference schools in the West Top 10 – joining Bradley and Evansville.
Series Notes – Central Arkansas: Valpo and Central Arkansas will meet for the first time ever on Saturday afternoon. The Crusaders and Bears will face off again later this season, one of two MVC opponents Valpo faces twice as part of an unbalanced conference schedule. Valpo’s return trip to Arkansas will occur on Saturday, Oct. 21.
Scouting the Opposition – Central Arkansas: The Bears lost their Missouri Valley Conference opener 2-1 on a penalty kick rebound in double overtime last week against Missouri State. Central Arkansas defeated Fort Wayne 3-0 on Sept. 10 for its first victory of the year. The leading goal scorer for the Bears is Niklas Brodacki, who has four of the team’s seven goals. Three goalkeepers have seen action with Marc Olsen making five starts and posting a 1.28 GAA to go along with 19 saves. Head coach Ross Duncan is in his fourth season with the program and second as the head coach. His team enjoyed a winning conference campaign a year ago, finishing 4-3-1 in The Valley and 7-7-3 overall. Central Arkansas was picked to finish fourth in the league standings this season.
A Class of His Own: The Crusaders have consistently been a quality side for the last decade. The successful start to this season with a largely new group marks the latest example of Valpo’s ability to sustain success despite roster turnover. The one constant of the program over the years has been head coach Mike Avery, who took the helm in 2007. Avery shattered the program record with his 77th career victory on Sept. 16 at Drake. Avery reached 77 victories in his 195th career match, while previous record holder Mis’ Mrak needed 288 matches to accumulate 76 wins.
Comeback Crusaders: The Crusaders put together a noteworthy comeback on Sept. 16 at Drake, erasing a 2-0 hole to beat the Bulldogs 3-2. That was only the second time during Mike Avery’s 11 years in charge of the program that Valpo has come from two goals down to win a match. The first was Oct. 10, 2014, when Valpo trailed Wright State 2-0, then rallied for five unanswered goals in the second half to win 5-2. Prior to 2014, Valpo hadn’t won after trailing by two goals since Sept. 27, 2006, a 5-4 win over Evansville.
Welcome to The Valley: The Valpo men’s soccer team has already turned heads in its first season in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Crusaders garnered immediate respect by winning their first-ever MVC match 2-1 at No. 18 Loyola, the league’s defending regular season champion. Valpo’s win snapped Loyola’s 28-match home unbeaten streak which went back three seasons. Valpo followed with the aforementioned 3-2 overtime victory at Drake. They have put themselves in position to start conference play 3-0-0 with a victory on Saturday – something that hasn’t been done in the history of the program, which began in 1983.
Series Notes – IUPUI: These two in-state foes have been locking horns since 1987, with Valpo holding a 15-7-1 edge in the all-time set. Valpo has won four straight over IUPUI going back to a 1-0 loss in 2012. The Crusaders have won seven of the last eight against the Jaguars, a team they are set to play against for the 10th straight year. Last year’s match saw Valpo prevail 5-0 at Brown Field as Kendan Anderson turned the fastest hat trick in NCAA history. That match also provides favorable memories for Valpo junior Demar Rose, who notched the first goal of his collegiate career.
Scouting the Opposition – IUPUI: The Jaguars’ most recent game was a 3-0 loss to No. 10 Louisville on Tuesday. They’ll visit Northern Kentucky on Friday before hosting the Crusaders on Tuesday evening. The Jaguars have dropped each of their first two Horizon League matches, falling 2-1 to Cleveland State and 3-0 to Oakland. Pedro Valladao, Yan Souza and Tommy Patacca have one goal apiece for IUPUI. Michael Buck and Tyler Shanahan have both seen time in goal. The Jaguars are under the direction of Brian Barnett, in his second year at the helm.
Worth Noting: The win at Drake was Valpo’s first overtime victory since Sept. 28, 2015, a 1-0 win over No. 23 Omaha at Brown Field… The victory was Valpo’s first ever against the Bulldogs as it marked only the fourth all-time meeting between the two sides… Valpo goalkeeper Nacho Miras leads the MVC in saves per game with 5.17, which ranks 16th nationally. He is second in the league and 16th in the nation in total saves with 31.
Head Coach Mike Avery: In his 11th season at the helm of the Crusader men’s soccer program, Mike Avery owns a program-record 77 career victories. Under Avery's guidance, the Crusaders have been a stellar defensive side, as eight of the top nine defensive seasons in program history have come during his tenure. Avery has led the Crusaders to a new standard in his time as head coach, as a program that had enjoyed just one winning season in the 24 years prior to his arrival has finished above the .500 mark in six of the last eight years. He has also seen numerous players go on to play professional soccer, including active pros Zev Taublieb, Kyle Zobeck, Stefan Antonijevic, Jordan Aidoud and Nico Campbell.
Topping Ranked Foes: - Valpo's win over No. 18 Loyola continued the program's recent history of success against nationally-ranked opponents. The Crusaders have five wins and one draw against nationally-ranked sides since the start of the 2013 season.
Other Ranked Successes
Oct. 14, 2015 at No. 23 New Mexico: T 1-1 (2OT)
Sept. 28, 2015 vs. No. 23 Omaha: W 1-0 (OT)
Sept, 23, 2015 at No. 18 Western Michigan: W 2-0
Sept. 11, 2014 at No. 7 Michigan State: W 1-0
Sept. 8, 2013 at No. 24 Michigan State: W 2-1
Looking Ahead: After Tuesday at IUPUI, the Crusaders will remain on the road to face Missouri State on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.
Fresh Faces: This season marked the debut of a new-look Valpo roster, as the Crusaders have experienced extreme turnover after carrying a senior-laden team in 2016. Only 10 players return who saw game action a year ago, and four of those appeared in eight games or fewer. The Crusaders had 14 players depart, 12 of whom appeared in 12 games or more. Crusader fans will have to keep their roster handy as they watch a team that features 19 newcomers this year. Just five of Valpo’s 31 goals in 2016 were scored by players who are back in 2017. Of the 11 players who started the season opener at Northwestern, only one started the 2016 season finale (Adan Garcia). Five of the 11 starters and six players in total made their Valpo debuts in the match.
Crusaders Picked Sixth in Preseason Poll: Valpo was picked to finish sixth of seven in a preseason poll of the conference’s head coaches. The Crusaders garnered 15 points in the poll, edging out Bradley (14) for sixth and narrowly behind fifth-place Drake (18). Defending regular season champion Loyola collected five of the seven first-place votes.
Howell Honored: Senior midfielder Ramone Howell represented Valpo on the 2017 Missouri Valley Conference Preseason All-Conference Team. Howell scored three goals and dished out two assists in 14 matches for the Crusaders a year ago. He totaled 33 shots, 14 of which were placed on goal. He is Valpo’s only returning player who scored more than one goal last season.
Looking Back at 2016: Last season, the Crusaders racked up 10 victories, matching the program record for wins in a single season. Following the campaign, they said goodbye to a deep and talented graduating class. Goalkeeper Nico Campbell finished with 22 career shutouts, one shy of a program record. Isaiah Madrid finished the season with 10 goals and 25 points, becoming just the sixth Valpo player to score double-figure goals in a single season and the first to reach 25 points in the last 25 years. Kendan Anderson turned the fastest hat trick in NCAA history on Oct. 31 against IUPUI, scoring three times in 1:21. The season ended as Milwaukee advanced on PKs following a first-round draw with Valpo in the Horizon League Tournament. Valpo was on the road 12 times, tying with two other Division I teams for the most road games, going 6-4-2 away from Brown Field. The team scored 31 goals, allowed 18 and notched seven shutouts.
Seasoned Staff: The Valparaiso men’s soccer coaching staff has the unique distinction of having four coaches (three assistants) with collegiate head coaching experience. Chris Pfau is in his first season as Valpo’s top assistant after spending the last six seasons as the head women’s coach at the University of Houston. Pfau has also guided women’s teams at Akron (2008-12) and Evansville (2005-06). Fourth-year assistant David Stroud was the head coach at St. Joseph’s College from 2011-13, while Brendan Roth spent the 2016 season in charge of Calumet College’s program. Valpo is the only team in The Valley with four individuals with head coaching experience on its staff.
Flying Many Flags: Head coach Mike Avery and his coaching staff have continued to pull from all over the world for players to comprise the Crusader men’s soccer squad. This year’s roster features players from 10 countries and 13 total players born outside the United States. In addition, the following states are represented – Kansas, Ohio, Indiana, Texas, Missouri, Maryland, California, Illinois.
#oneVALPO: The Crusader men’s soccer program will continue to promote its #oneVALPO campaign, which celebrates 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.