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Crusaders Finish Season Leading Nation in GAA
The Crusaders led the nation in goals against average. (Kevin Fedde)
The Crusaders led the nation in goals against average. (Kevin Fedde)

Monday, January 07, 2013

The Valparaiso women's soccer team finished atop the NCAA national statistical rankings in a category for the first time in program history, as the Crusaders surrendered just 10 goals in 19 matches during the 2012 campaign, good for the nation's best goals against average at 0.51.

The Crusaders gave up more than one goal on just one occasion (a 3-1 loss at Iowa) and surrendered just five goals total in their final 14 fixtures of the year.  Twice, Valpo put together streaks of three consecutive shutouts, en route to a new program single-season record with 11 clean sheets on the season.  Beyond ranking first in goals against average, the Crusaders also finished the year fourth in save percentage (.875) and ninth in shutout percentage (.579), while starting goalkeeper Kristen Manski ranked fourth in individual GAA (0.54).

"It is a philosophy and sense of pride at Valpo to limit the number of scoring chances because the less you give away, the greater our opportunity is to win matches," said Crusader head coach John Marovich. "Our team organization defensively was outstanding this year in all thirds of the field, and if our opponent broke us down, our goalkeeper picked us up. It was an outstanding effort by the entire team, as everyone plays a part in contributing to such an accomplishment. This honor is a testament to our players' commitment and dedication to the defensive side of the game."

It is the first national statistical championship for Valparaiso since Taylor Root led the nation in digs/set on the volleyball court in 2010.   It also is Valpo's first team statistical title since the volleyball program led Division I in both kills/set and assists/set in 2008.