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Crusaders Rake In Horizon League Men’s Soccer Postseason Honors
Kyle Zobeck, Stefan Antonijevic and Mike Avery all earned speciality awards Monday. (Ray Acevedo)
Kyle Zobeck, Stefan Antonijevic and Mike Avery all earned speciality awards Monday. (Ray Acevedo)

Monday, November 07, 2011

Eight Crusaders in all were honored on Monday afternoon as the Horizon League released its 2011 men’s soccer postseason award winners.  Fifth-year senior Stefan Antonijevic (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson [College of Lake County/Marquette]) was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, while redshirt junior Kyle Zobeck (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West) was honored as Goalkeeper of the Year and joined Antonijevic as a First Team All-League selection.  Meanwhile, Mike Avery received Coach of the Year accolades.

Three Crusaders were selected to the Second Team All-League, as fifth-year senior Wei Ming Wong (Hong Kong/Hong Kong International [SMU]), junior Jonathon Smith (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) and senior Guy Shabtay (Ramat-Gan, Israel/Blich [Prairie State C.C.]) represented Valpo on that squad.  In addition, freshmen Eric Nieto (Louisville, Ky./Louisville Collegiate) and Zev Taublieb (Malibu, Calif./Agoura) earned spots on the All-Newcomer Team.

Zobeck earned Goalkeeper of the Year honors, Valpo’s third HL Goalkeeper of the Year honoree, after a tremendous record-setting campaign.  The redshirt junior has already set a new Valpo single-season record with 10 shutouts, among the top-10 single-season efforts in Horizon League history, and is tied for the Crusaders’ career record with 17 clean sheets.  In addition, he is poised to easily break Valpo’s single-season goals against average mark, carrying a 0.69 GAA into the Horizon League Championship.  Zobeck led the league at the close of the regular season in both GAA and shutouts, doubling the second-best effort by a league keeper in the latter category.

Key to Valpo’s strong defensive play all season long was the work at center back by Antonijevic and Wong.  Antonijevic, the first Crusader to receive Defensive Player of the Year postseason accolades from the Horizon League, moved into the back this year after spending his first two years at Valpo in the midfield and was a natural fit, playing all but 31 minutes this season.  Meanwhile, Wong, who served as the Crusader captain this year, came off the pitch in just two of Valpo’s 17 games.

The duo helped limit Crusader opponents to just 14 goals on the year, including just four markers in Horizon League action.  Offensively, Antonijevic picked up two goals and an assist in 2011, including a match-winner in the season opener, while Wong secured the game-winning goal earlier this year against IPFW and also added an assist.

Smith was a stellar presence in the midfield all season long for the Crusaders, playing every minute of the Horizon League slate and helping Valpo control the center of the pitch.  The junior posted a pair of assists on the year, including a helper on the match-winner at Wright State, and then notched the game-winning tally in extra time against UIC on Oct. 29 to clinch at least a share of the league’s regular season crown for the Crusaders.  Shabtay appeared in all but one game for Valpo, notching two goals and three assists from his striker position, including the Crusaders’ lone goal in the 1-1 draw with Butler.

The Crusaders’ pair of freshmen midfielders earned spots on the All-Newcomer Team for their work in the middle of the field.  Nieto played in all 19 fixtures as a rookie, starting seven times and averaging over 65 minutes per game.  The Louisville, Ky. native tallied the match-winning goal in a victory earlier this year against IUPUI.  Meanwhile, Taublieb appeared in nine games, making five starts, all of which were Crusader shutouts during the stretch in which Valpo set a new program record with five straight clean sheets.

Avery receives Coach of the Year honors for the first time after taking a Valpo side that was chosen to finish fourth in the preseason poll and leading it to the school’s first Horizon League title in any sport.  The Crusaders enter the Horizon League Championship with a 9-6-4 overall record and a 5-1-2 mark in league play under Avery’s guidance, already matching the second-winningest season in program history. 

W Golf IPFW Spring Invitational Fort Wayne, Ind. (Chestnut Hills G.C.)
Apr 7 9th/12 (642)
Softball Northern Illinois 6 VU Softball Field
Apr 8 Valpo 8
Baseball Valpo 5 Evanston, Ill.
Apr 8 Northwestern 12
Softball Northern Illinois 3 8 inn.
Apr 8 Valpo 4
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
M Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 11:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
W Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 5:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26 Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo