Crusaders Set to Open Mid-Con Play this Weekend
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Match #7: Friday, Sept. 15, 4 p.m. CDT
Valpo (4-2, 0-0 Mid-Con) at Western Illinois (4-2, 0-0 Mid-Con)
Match #8: Sunday Sept. 17, 2 p.m. CDT
Valpo (4-2, 0-0 Mid-Con) at Northern Iowa (0-6, 0-0 MVC)

This Week in Crusader Soccer: Valparaiso opens up defense of its Mid-Continent Conference regular season title on Friday afternoon as the Crusaders head to Macomb, Ill. to battle Western Illinois. Valpo then closes out its four-match road trip on Sunday afternoon at Northern Iowa.

On the Air: Neither of this weekend's women's soccer matches will be broadcast on the air or on the internet.

Series Notes: Valparaiso holds a 6-1-1 edge all-time against Western Illinois dating back to 1998. The Crusaders have won two straight meetings with the Westerwinds and are unbeaten in the last five contests between the schools (4-0-1). Valpo holds a 2-1 series edge against Western Illinois in Macomb. The Crusaders and Northern Iowa have met just twice, with each school winning at home. The Crusaders were 3-0 winners against the Panthers in 2002 at Eastgate Field while UNI posted a 2-1 overtime victory in Cedar Falls in 2003.

Scouting Western Illinois: The Westerwinds started the year as the hottest team in the Mid-Continent Conference, winning their first four contests before dropping a pair of matches last weekend. Western Illinois has posted three shutout victories thus far as Samantha Clark has a 0.20 goals against average and a 94.4% save percentage in more than 450 minutes of work. Robyn Ruypers leads the way for the Westerwinds offensively, having scored three goals and tallying seven points.

Scouting Northern Iowa: The Panthers are still looking for their first victory of the season after seeing their losing skid extend to 21 matches following a pair of contests last weekend. UNI has scored just four times on the season with Lindsey Daugherty picking up a pair of tallies. In goal, Krista Thorley leads the way with a 3.27 GAA and a 70.8% save percentage.

Wrapping Up Last Week's Action: The Crusaders posted a pair of victories in Nashville, Tenn. to begin a four-match road trip. On Friday Valpo came from behind to notch a 3-2 overtime victory at Belmont. Lauren Cooper started the scoring late in the first half with her first career goal before the Bruins scored two straight to take a 2-1 lead late into the match. Kendall Brown tied the contest for the Brown and Gold with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation and then found the back of the net again with the match-winner 28 seconds into overtime. Sunday at Lipscomb, Valpo outshot the Lady Bisons 39-7 on the way to a 3-1 victory. Lori Johnson scored twice while Jackie Thomas also added a tally for the Brown and Gold.

Brown Earns Offensive Honors from the Mid-Con: Kendall Brown was named the Mid-Continent Conference Offensive Player of the Week for her efforts in Nashville. Friday at Belmont, the sophomore scored a pair of goals, including the match-winner in overtime, while tying the match late in the second half. She finished the weekend with a total of nine shot attempts. She had four shots at Belmont and five more at Lipscomb.

Succeeding in Overtime: Valpo has needed extra time for a pair of victories this season, but continued to have success in overtime. The Crusaders are unbeaten in overtime in their last ten contests (4-0-6) dating back to 2003.

Fire Away: The Crusaders launched an offensive assault on the Lipscomb goal on Sunday afternoon as the Brown and Gold fired 39 shots toward frame, the second highest shot total in school history. Of the 39 shot attempts, one shy of the 1997 mark of 40 at Saint Mary's (Ind.), 29 of them were on goal, forcing Lady Bisons goalkeeper Katie Shelton to make 25 saves.

Johnson and Brown are Winners: The sophomore forward duo of Kendall Brown and Lori Johnson each have a flare for the dramatic. Both have moved into a tie for fourth place on Valpo's career chart already with four match-winning goals less than two years into their playing career. Johnson has two match-winners already this season.

Brown Moves Into the Top 5 All-Time in Scoring: Sophomore Kendall Brown's found the back of the net for the 12th and 13th times in her career at Belmont. With the goals, Brown moved into fifth place alone on Valpo's career goal scoring list.

Brown Also Moves Up Shots List: Kendall Brown also has moved into sixth place on the Crusaders' career shots list with 100. With three more attempts, the sophomore will move into a tie with Allison Swanson (2002-2005) for fifth place on the career charts.

First Time Goal Scorers Continue to Produce: Valpo's offense saw two new additions to the scoring column this past weekend in Nashville. Redshirt-junior Lauren Cooper found the back of the net for the first time in her career on Friday at Belmont to open the scoring. Cooper then added her first career assist on the match-winning goal in overtime. Defender Jackie Thomas also notched her first career tally Sunday at Lipscomb. The sophomore bent in a corner kick to add an insurance goal for the Brown and Gold.

Murray Continues to Stay a Top the Record Books: Junior netminder Erin Murray continues to hold the career goals against average record for Valpo. Her 1.35 GAA is 0.67 better than second place on the Crusader charts. In addition, Murray's more than 3,604 minutes in goal are second behind Amy Cavanaugh (1996-1999) on that list.

Cabral Earns Victory in First Career Start: Freshman goalkeeper Mele Cabral got the call for her first career start on Sunday afternoon at Lipscomb. The rookie made five saves on six shot attempts while earning her first collegiate victory.

Valpo Highest Scoring Offense in the Mid-Con: Valparaiso leads the Mid-Con in goals (12) and points (30) heading into this week's action.

All-Conference Returnees: Valpo returns four All Mid-Con selections for 2005. Junior goalkeeper Erin Murray along with sophomore defender Jackie Thomas were each First Team selections while sophomore forwards Kendall Brown and Lori Johnson each earned Second Team accolades. Head coach Stephen Anthony also was named Mid-Con co-Coach of the Year.

Valpo Picked Third in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected third in the Mid-Continent Conference preseason poll conducted of the league's head coaches. Valpo earned two first place votes but finished one point behind Oral Roberts in the race for second. Oakland is the preseason favorite.