Valparaiso (2-1-1, 0-0-0 Horizon)
Crusaders play second straight major-conference foe
Sunday, Sept. 2 - 1 p.m. - Iowa City, Iowa - at Iowa (4-0-0)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: It’s a light week for the Valparaiso women’s soccer team this week, as the Crusaders have just one match, a Sunday afternoon meeting with Iowa in Iowa City. This marks Valpo’s second straight game against an opponent from a major conference.
Previously: Valpo concluded its season-opening three-match homestand on Friday night, Aug. 24 against Kent State with an 85th minute strike from Sarrah Ludwig proving to be the equalizer in a 1-1 (2ot) draw. The Crusaders then failed to earn a result for the first time this season last Sunday at DePaul, as a seventh-minute goal sent Valpo to a 1-0 defeat.
Following the Crusaders: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) is not broadcasting Sunday’s match, but is going to carry at least seven matches throughout the 2012 season. Live stats for the fixture against the Hawkeyes will be available through www.valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach John Marovich: John Marovich holds a 36-30-15 record both overall and with Valpo in his fifth season at the helm of the Brown and Gold. Just the third head coach in program history, Marovich has the best winning percentage (.537) ever at Valpo, and ranks second in total victories.
Series Notes: This is just the second meeting all-time on the park between the Crusaders and the Hawkeyes, and the first matchup in Iowa City. The only prior encounter came on Sept. 24, 1999, when Iowa earned a 2-0 victory at Eastgate Field.
Scouting the Opposition: Iowa enters this weekend a perfect 4-0-0 on the 2012 season and has outscored its opponents by a 15-0 tally, including a 4-0 victory over the Horizon League’s Loyola. The Hawkeyes do play Friday night at Iowa State prior to taking on the Crusaders. Three Iowa goalkeepers have combined for the four clean sheets, while offensively, Cloe Lacasse leads the way with five goals and three assists.
Crusaders Picked Third in Preseason Poll: The head coaches selected Valparaiso to finish in third place in the Horizon League this season according to the preseason poll. Only Detroit and Milwaukee, which shared the top spot in the poll, were projected ahead of the Crusaders.
Looking Back at 2011: Last season’s Crusader squad posted an 8-6-5 record, including a 4-2-2 mark in Horizon League play to finish in third place in the league. Defense was Valpo’s calling card, as the Crusaders surrendered just 19 goals in 19 games, including nine shutouts, just one shy of the program single-season record. The Crusaders finished with a winning record for the seventh time in the last eight years.
First Defeat: The Crusaders’ first loss of the season came in their fourth game following two wins and a draw, the second longest unbeaten stretch to start a season in program history. The 2010 squad earned a result in each of its first five matches, starting the season 3-0-2.
Low-Scoring Affairs: Fans looking for goals at Crusader women’s soccer games this season have found them to be few and far between, as no team has tallied more than once in a single Valpo match so far this season. The Crusaders have won two games 1-0, drawn 1-1 and lost 1-0. The only comparable stretch to start a season came back in 2008, when each of Valpo’s first four games ended 1-0 - that season ended up being the best defensive season in program history.
Ludwig Gets Off the Mark: Freshman Sarrah Ludwig became the first Crusader rookie to score a goal in 2012, and did so in a big way, finding the back of the net in the 85th minute for the match-tying goal in a 1-1 draw with Kent State. The goal was the latest equalizer by a Crusader player since Kelly Faulkner scored in the 88th minute of an eventual 1-1 draw at Toledo on Sept. 10, 2004.
Manski Strong in Goal: Junior goalkeeper Kristen Manski took care of business between the pipes in the opening weekend, making a pair of saves against both IUPUI and Towson to keep the Crusader opponents off the scoreboard. For Manski, the shutouts were the 13th and 14th of her career. She also became the first goalkeeper in Valpo history to post shutouts in each of the first two matches of the season. Through four contests, the junior’s GAA sits at a miniscule 0.47.
Wladecki Takes Advantage: Fellow senior Trisha Wladecki was chosen to take the penalty kick when the Crusaders were awarded a penalty late in the Aug. 19 game against Towson, and calmly converted on her first career effort from the spot for the match-winning goal. For Wladecki, it was her third career goal (first since Aug. 21, 2010) and her first career match-winner. All three of the senior’s career goals have come in the opening weekend of the season.
Desario Continues to Score: Senior Luisa Desario notched the match’s lone goal in the 1-0 season-opening win over IUPUI, scoring in the 59th minute. For Desario, it continued her march up a number of Valpo’s all-time charts, as she is now tied for fifth in both career goals (15) and match-winning goals (6), and sits alone in fifth place in career points (37).