Valparaiso (0-0-0, 0-0-0 MVC)
Friday, Aug. 30, 7 p.m. CT – at Green Bay (0-0-0, 0-0-0 Horizon)
Monday, Sept. 2, 7 p.m. CT – vs. IU Northwest (0-2-0*, 0-0-0 CCAC)
This Week in Valpo Soccer: There’s work to be done on Labor Day weekend for the Valparaiso University men’s soccer team as the 2019 season kicks off on Friday night at Green Bay before the team lifts the lid on its home schedule on Monday evening at Brown Field against IU Northwest. Valpo will debut a new-look team that features 15 newcomers and 13 returning players.
A Look Back at 2018: Valpo finished the season on a high note, putting together a six-game unbeaten streak to close the regular season, two games shy of the longest unbeaten streak in program history that occurred in 2015. It marked the first time in program history Valpo went undefeated over the final six matches of the regular season. Valpo finished the regular season third in the conference standings, the highest finish by Valpo in any sport since the University joined the Missouri Valley Conference in July 2017. Valpo finished the 2018 season with just one conference setback, the fourth time in program history the team has achieved that feat. The other teams to do so were the Mid-Continent Conference regular season championship teams of 1997 and 1998 and the Horizon League regular season championship team of 2011. Valpo had three draws in Valley play in 2018, tying 2012 and 2015 for the most conference draws in a single season in program history.
Following Valpo: Both matches this weekend will feature live stats, while Monday’s fixture will be carried on ESPN+ with Dave Huseman (play-by-play) and Ben Ariano (color commentary) on the call.
Head Coach Mike Avery: In his 13th season at the helm of the Valpo men’s soccer program, Mike Avery owns a program-record 87 career victories. Under Avery's guidance, the team has been a stellar defensive side, as nine of the top 10 defensive seasons in program history have come during his tenure. Avery has led the program to a new standard in his time as head coach, as a team that had enjoyed just one winning season in the 24 years prior to his arrival has finished above the .500 mark six times in the last decade. He has also seen numerous players go on to play professional soccer, including active pros Zev Taublieb, Kyle Zobeck, Stefan Antonijevic, Jordan Aidoud, Rafael Mentzingen, Nacho Miras, Ramone Howell, Matthew King, Jordan Simon, Hamid Babaali and Lucca Lacerda. Avery shattered the program record with his 77th career victory on Sept. 16, 2017 at Drake. He reached 77 victories in his 195th career match, while previous recordholder Mis’ Mrak needed 288 matches to accumulate 76 wins.
Reloading Time: A large senior class in 2018 has led to a team that features more newcomers (15) than returnees (13) in 2019. The team had 15 players depart from last year’s team, including dynamic strikers Rafael Mentzingen and Lucca Lacerda, who have both gone on to play professionally. Speaking of playing professionally, goalkeeper Nacho Miras made the decision to forgo his redshirt senior season when he had the opportunity to graduate on time and join the long list of Valpo alums who have joined the pro ranks.
A Reason to be Rosy: Although the roster saw significant turnover due to a large graduating class, the cupboard is far from bare for Mike Avery’s team. Headlining the group of returning players is fifth-year senior Demar Rose, a Preseason All-MVC choice this season and one of four Missouri Valley Conference players returning in 2019 after earning first-team all-conference honors in 2018. He didn’t skip a beat after missing the 2017 season with an injury, returning in 2018 to play in all 17 games and make 14 starts in the midfield while scoring one goal and striking 24 shots. He scored a dazzling equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Evansville on Oct. 27, 2018, earning a point in the Valley standings that allowed Valpo to clinch a conference tournament berth.
Senior Standout: Another veteran who has earned numerous honors over his Valpo career is senior midfielder Adan Garcia, who received 2018 MVC Honorable Mention, 2017 United Soccer Coaches All-Region Third Team and 2017 Second-Team All-MVC. He enters his senior year with 10 career goals, eight assists and 28 points, needing one more assist to crack Valpo’s all-time Top 10. He turned in a hat trick on Oct. 12, 2017 at Western Illinois, the ninth in program history and the first in a road match since 1985. Garcia’s name is already in the single-season Valpo record book after he had nine goals and 22 points in 2017, both tied for seventh in program history.
Academic Ace: Dylan Waugaman figures to continue his success both on the field and in the classroom this year. After graduating with a 3.99 grade point average in accounting, the 2018 CoSIDA Academic All-American Second Team honoree has begun a master’s in business administration. The fifth-year senior defender became the first Valpo player to earn CoSIDA Academic All-American honors since Todd Vervynckt in 2013. He also earned CoSIDA Academic All-Region and MVC Scholar-Athlete First-Team recognition as a redshirt junior. Waugaman received the 2018 Bill Steinbrecher Sportsmanship Award, which is given annually to the male student-athlete who best exemplifies integrity and sportsmanship while representing Valparaiso University. He has been nominated for the business school’s distinguished student award, nominated by a faculty member as an influential person on campus and met with University President Mark Heckler to discuss ideas about how to make Valpo a better place. Waugaman was one of three students in the 2018 graduating class who was recognized by President Heckler during the graduation ceremony as a distinguished student. In addition, Waugaman is an accounting tutor, member of NABA, member of Delta Sigma Pi (business honors society) and is involved in numerous community service activities.
The Region’s D1 Team: While the tradition of recruiting far and wide continues for Valpo men’s soccer, the team features a heavy local flavor this season. Five Northwest Indiana natives have joined the squad as freshmen – Danny Salazar (East Chicago, Ind. / Bishop Noll), Jack Eaton (Valparaiso, Ind. / Chesterton), Andy Lomeli (Dyer, Ind. / Lake Central), Cole Rainwater (Schererville, Ind. / Lake Central) and Logan Tatalovich (Valparaiso, Ind. / Boone Grove). Eaton was named the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year and Gatorade Indiana Boys Soccer Player of the Year following his senior season after helping Chesterton to a 21-0-2 mark and 3A state title.
Flying Many Flags: Despite bringing in a large crop of locals, the program has stayed true to its roots of recruiting globally. This year’s team features athletes from 10 countries – The Netherlands, Brazil, France, Jamaica, Japan, Germany, England, Italy, Sweden and the United States.
Series Notes – Green Bay: Valpo will look to improve upon its 3-14-2 all-time record against the Phoenix in a series that dates back to 1986, the fourth year of Valpo’s program. This will mark the first meeting since the two teams shared Horizon League affiliation from 2007-2016. Green Bay won the most recent meeting 2-0 on Oct. 15, 2016 in Wisconsin, while Valpo prevailed 3-0 in the 2015 season finale at Brown Field.
Scouting the Opponent – Green Bay: The Phoenix went 8-6-2 and 4-3-1 in conference play last season. The team found success in a pair of friendly fixtures this season, beating Northwestern 2-0 and Cardinal Stritch 3-1. Green Bay is picked to finish third in the Horizon League preseason poll. First-team all-league honoree Andre Baires returns from last year’s team, as does all-freshman team member Joey Bourgeois. Head coach Jeremy Bonomo is in his fifth season leading the team.
Series Notes – IU Northwest: The IU Northwest men’s soccer program is in its first season in existence as a member of the CCAC (NAIA), so this marks the first meeting between the two teams.
Scouting the Opponent – IU Northwest: The first-year program is under the direction of Valpo graduate Jordan Lewis, who transferred to Valpo to play under Mike Avery after beginning his collegiate career at Loyola. He is a local to Northwest Indiana, having played at Chesterton High School and coached last season at Lowell High School. Lewis appeared in 11 games in his first season at Valpo in 2011, then saw the pitch in 13 matches in 2012. First-year Valpo assistant coach Mike Enghofer coached at IU Northwest in the spring of 2019 before coming to Valpo, helping train and recruit as the program prepared for its inaugural season. The Labor Day affair counts as a regular season match for Valpo and an exhibition for IU Northwest. Valpo freshman Andy Lomeli will play against his cousin, IU Northwest freshman Antonio Lomeli.
Working with TOCO: Valpo is once again raising funds for They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO) this year. Throughout the 2019 season, the team is working to raise money and awareness for TOCO’s work through sport with at risk children in the Caribbean and United States. This year’s TOCO benefit game will take place on Sept. 25 against Drake at Brown Field.
#oneVALPO: The Valpo 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.