Women's Soccer Set for Mid-Con Tournament Title Defense
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Match #19: Mid-Con Semifinals
Thursday, Nov. 2, 10 a.m. CST
#4 Western Illinois (10-7, 3-3 Mid-Con) vs. #1 Valpo (12-3-3, 4-0-2 Mid-Con)
Match #20: Mid-Con Championship
Saturday, Nov. 4, 12 p.m. CST
#3 Oakland (7-10, 4-2)/#2 Southern Utah (5-9-3, 2-1-3) vs. #1 Valpo (12-3-2, 4-0-2 Mid-Con)

This Week in Crusader Soccer:
Valparaiso looks to defend its Mid-Continent Conference Tournament title as the Crusaders head to Rochester, Mich. for the league's premier event. The top-seeded Crusaders will face Western Illinois in the semifinals on Thursday, with the winner advancing to Saturday's championship match against either Oakland or Southern Utah.

On the Air: Thursday's match against the Westerwinds will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Should Valpo advance to the championship, that contest would be carried live online at www.sportsjuice.com

Series Notes: Valparaiso holds a 7-1-1 advantage all-time against Western Illinois after defeating the Westerwinds 1-0 in overtime in Macomb, Ill. back on September 15. The two schools are meeting for the first time in the Mid-Con Tournament. Oakland holds a 7-4-1 advantage all-time against the Crusaders, but Valpo won this year's first meeting, 2-1, in Rochester, Mich. on October 1. The teams are 1-1-1 in the tournament against each other, with Valpo winning in last year's championships match 3-1. Oakland won a semifinal in 2002 and Valpo advanced on penalty kicks after regulation ended in a tie in the 1999 semifinals. Valpo holds a 5-1-1 edge all-time over Southern Utah after the two schools tied 1-1 in double overtime on October 26. The Crusaders won the lone Mid-Con Tournament meeting between the two schools, last year in the semifinals 2-0.

Wrapping Up Last Week's Action: Valparaiso jumped out to a first half lead only to have Southern Utah tie the match as the Crusaders and Thunderbirds battled to a 1-1 double-overtime draw last Thursday afternoon at Eastgate Field. The tie, coupled with Oakland's loss to IUPUI, gave Valpo the outright Mid-Con regular season title. Sarah Jewell scored her team-leading tenth goal of the season for the Crusaders' lone tally while Erin Murray made four saves for the Brown and Gold.

Scouting Western Illinois: The Westerwinds enter the tournament as the fourth seed, but have the second best overall record behind the Crusaders. Robyn Ruypers leads Western Illinois in scoring with four goals and 14 points while Ashley Hoch has dished out eight assists. In goal, Samantha Clark has been the mainstay, posting a 1.02 goals against average and .783 save percentage.

Scouting Oakland: The Golden Grizzlies, the tournament's second seed, won four of its final five matches entering the weekend's championship. Kristi Tomczyk led Oakland in scoring, posting 12 goals and 26 points. Kim Herbst saw most of the action between the posts, allowing 2.12 goals against and posting a .709 save percentage.

Scouting Southern Utah: The Thunderbirds enter play 0-3-1 over their last four matches, but earned the third seed for the championship. Brookly Phillips leads Southern Utah in scoring with eight goals and 20 points. Holly Davis posted a 1.96 goals against average and a .696 save percentage in the net.

Valpo Ties School Victory Mark: The Brown and Gold has tied Valparaiso's school record for wins in a season. Valpo's current 12-3-3 record equals the 2005 team's win total from the 12-8-1 campaign. The Crusaders have also assured themselves the best winning percentage in school history.

Looking to Defend Tournament Title: Valpo won its first Mid-Con Tournament title in 2005, defeating Oakland 3-1 in the championship match. With it, the Crusaders earned their first trip ever to the NCAA Tournament, something they are looking to repeat this season.

Scoring Best All-Time at Valpo: The 38 goals Valpo has already scored the most all-time for a Crusader women's soccer team in one season. The 2005 team previously held the school mark of 36. The 26 assists on the year are third most in school history for a team, trailing just the 2004 (27) and 2005 (29) teams.

A Record-Setting Overtime: Valpo has set a new school record for extra session matches in a season with its seventh overtime match of the year in the regular season finale against Southern Utah. The previous record was six set by the 1998 squad. The Brown and Gold have fared much better than the 1998 team though, going 4-0-3, compared with a 1-4-1 result eight years ago.

More Success in Overtime: Valpo has needed extra time for four victories this season, but continued to have success in overtime. The Crusaders are unbeaten in overtime in their last 15 contests (6-0-9) dating back to 2003.

Murray Continues to Post Shutouts: Erin Murray has registered three shutouts this season and continues to increase the school mark with 14 in her three-year stint with the Brown and Gold.

Road Warriors: Valpo concluded its regular season road campaign with the most successful travel season in school history. The Brown and Gold finished the regular season on the road with a 7-1-1 mark, bettering the old school record of five wins set by the 2001 squad (5-3). If Valpo faces Oakland in the championship, the Crusaders would play yet another road match this year.

Jewell's 10 Goals Third Most in a Single Season: Sarah Jewell's 10 markers this season are tied for the third most in school history on the single season list for the Crusaders, equalling the total set by Lori Moore (2001) and Kendall Brown (2005). Valpo's school record is 11 set by Moore in 2000 and matched by Emily King in 2005. Jewell's 22 points this season are fifth best in Valpo history as well.

Three Among Scoring Elite: Sophomore Kendall Brown has moved among the top all-time in goal scoring. With five goals this season, Brown now has 15 for her career, tying Elizabeth Tatro (1993-1996) for fourth place all-time on the school list. She trails Lisa Springs (1998-2001) by three goals all-time. Teammate Lori Johnson's 11 career markers tie her for sixth all-time with Lindsay Holley (2001-2004). Freshman Sarah Jewell is already on the all-time goal scoring list as well, with her 10 tallies ranking eighth best in school history.

McGlone and Bartels Tied for Seventh on All-Time Assist Charts: Dana McGlone and Jen Bartels have each moved into a tie for seventh place on Valpo's career assist list. The pair each have seven during their career wearing the Brown and Gold.

Murphy Needs One Assist to Tie School: With her next assist this season, Laura Murphy will move into a tie for the most assists all-time for the Crusaders in a single season. She enters the tournament with five helpers already on the year, one shy of Lindsay Holley's 2003 mark.

Murray Having Stellar Season: Junior netminder Erin Murray has posted a 0.74 goals against average in nearly 1469 minutes of play this season. She has allowed just 12 goals during the span, saving shots at an .838 rate. Valpo's single season record for GAA currently is 1.35 and save percentage is .777, both set by Murray last season.

Hard to Score on Valpo in 2006: The Crusaders have allowed just 14 goals in 2006 through the 18-match regular season. Valpo is well ahead of the school record for fewest goals allowed, currently 30, set by the 2005 squad. The goals against average of 0.74 as a team is also nearly half of the 2005 team's mark of 1.41.

Johnson Nothing but a Winner: Lori Johnson has had the flair for the dramatic throughout the first two years of her career with the Brown and Gold. This season, the sophomore has tallied four match-winning goals, tied with Lori Moore (2000 and 2001) for best in a single season. In addition, her six career match-winners are third most ever at Valpo. Lori Moore (1999-2002) scored 10 victors while Emily King (2002-2005) had seven.

Undefeated in League Play: Valpo went 4-0-2 this season in Mid-Continent Conference action, the first time the Crusaders have gone through league action without a loss. The Brown and Gold's previous best in league play was 4-1, set by the 2001 and 2002 teams.

Terrific Senior Class: Valpo's senior class is small, but the duo will leave Valpo the best graduating class of all-time. In the four years that Jen Bartels and Liberty Ziegahn have been on the team, Valpo has gone 37-30-9, made three trips to the Mid-Con Tournament, including last year's championship, and earned the first NCAA Tournament berth in school history.

Leaving the Mid-Con on Top: This is Valpo's farewell tour through the Mid-Continent Conference, as the Crusaders will join the Horizon League beginning July 1, 2007. Since joining the Mid-Con for women's soccer before the 1999 season, Valpo has posted a 24-15-5 mark in conference play. The Crusaders are competing in their sixth Mid-Con Tournament in the eight years of play, having posted a 3-4-1 mark all-time in the postseason.

Longest Win Streak in School History Set This Season: Valpo's eight-match winning streak from September 8 through October 1 was the longest in school history, bettering the mark set by the 2000 squad of six consecutive victories.

Four Crusaders Earn Mid-Con Honors this Season: Valpo has had four Mid-Continent Conference Athlete of the Week selections thus far this season. Kendall Brown (Sept. 11) and Jessie White (Oct. 2) have each earned Offensive accolades while Erin Murray (Sept. 18) and Jackie Thomas (Sept. 25) have been honored for the Defensive award.

Back-to-Back Champs: The Crusaders won their first outright Mid-Continent Conference crown in 2006, the second straight season Valpo has taken home a regular season title. Last year the Brown and Gold finished on top for the first time in school history, but had to share the crown with Oakland.