Valpo Opens 2006 Season at Indiana State, Hosts Loyola (Chicago)
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Game #1: Valpo at Indiana State,
Friday, August 25, 4 p.m. CDT
Game #2: Loyola (Chicago) at Valpo,
Sunday August 27, 3 p.m. CDT

This Week in Crusader Soccer:
Valparaiso will kickoff the 14th season of women's soccer on Friday, August 25 as the Crusaders travel to Terre Haute, Ind. to battle the Sycamores of Indiana State. The Brown and Gold will then return to Eastgate Field on Sunday, August 27 to battle future Horizon League foe Loyola (Chicago) in the 2006 home opener.

On the Air: Friday's match at Indiana State will not be broadcast but Sunday's home opener against Loyola (Chicago) will be carried live by WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at Adam Amin and Matt Engelbrecht will call all the action live from Eastgate Field.

Series Notes: Valparaiso holds a 4-2 advantage all-time against Indiana State in a series that has seen the two schools meet every year since the series began in 2000. The Crusaders have won the last two meetings against the Sycamores, including a 3-0 victory at Eastgate Field last year. In the last meeting in Terre Haute, back in 2003, the Sycamores recorded a 2-0 triumph. Indiana State leads the series in Terre Haute 2-1. Valpo and Loyola will be meeting for the 14th time on Sunday, the only opponent the Crusaders have face every season in program history. The Ramblers hold a 9-4 edge against the Crusaders and have won four straight. Last year in Chicago, Loyola registered a 2-0 victory over Valpo. The Brown and Gold are just 1-5 against Loyola at Eastgate Field and dropped the last contest, 5-1, in 2004. Valpo's last win in the series came November 2, 2001, 1-0, in Chicago.

Wrapping Up Last Week's Action: The Crusaders went 0-1-1 in exhibition play last week, dropping a 3-0 decision at Michigan State on Wednesday, August 16 before battling Drake to a scoreless draw on Sunday, August 20. Against the Spartans, Lauren Hill found the back of the net in the 24th minute and Michigan State added two second half goals while the Spartan defense limited Valpo to just six total shots, two of which were on goal. Erin Murray and Mele Cabral combined on the shutout against Drake, with Murray making three stops in nearly 76 minutes of action and Cabral saving a pair in the final 14 minutes.

Crusaders in Season Openers: Valpo won a season opener for the first time in program history last season as the Crusaders defeated Murray State 2-1. The Brown and Gold are 1-12 all-time in season openers. Valpo is 2-11 all-time in home openers at Eastgate Field. Besides 2005, the only other victory in a home opener for the Crusaders occurred in 1999 against Grand Valley State.

What a Year it Was: Valparaiso had a record-setting 2005 season, which saw the Brown and Gold win a school-best 12 matches, win the Mid-Continent Conference regular season and tournament, and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever. In addition, Valpo set school marks for goals (36), assists (29), points (101), shots (336), few goals allowed (30), and goals against average (1.41).

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.

Brown Looking to Crack the Top 5: Sophomore Kendall Brown's next goal will give her 11 for her career and move her into a tie for fifth in school history.