Valparaiso (0-0-0, 0-0-0 Horizon)
Crusaders open 2013 slate with pair of home matches
Friday, Aug. 23 - 7:30 p.m. - Brown Field - DePaul (0-0-0)
Sunday, Aug. 25 - 1 p.m. - Brown Field - #RV/RV Miami [Ohio] (0-0-0)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso women’s soccer team opens the 2013 campaign this weekend with a pair of challenging home matches on Brown Field. The Crusaders host Big East foe DePaul on Friday evening before turning around Sunday afternoon and taking on a Miami (Ohio) squad which is receiving votes in the national polling.
Previously: Valpo played a pair of exhibition contests on the road as part of its preseason training. The Crusaders dropped a 4-3 decision at Northern Illinois and fell 1-0 at former Horizon League opponent Loyola.
Following the Crusaders: Both matches this weekend will have live stats available through ValpoAthletics.com. Over the course of the 2013 season, six matches will have free live video on the Horizon League Network, including three matches at home, while WVUR, Valpo’s student radio station, will also be broadcasting select matches.
Head Coach John Marovich: John Marovich holds a 44-35-17 record both overall and with Valpo entering his sixth season at the helm of the Brown and Gold. Just the third head coach in program history, Marovich has the best winning percentage (.547) ever at Valpo, and ranks second in total victories.
Series Notes: DePaul - Valpo owns a 2-5-0 record all-time against the Blue Demons and are 1-2-0 at home against the Big East foe. Last season, a series which had been dormant for a decade was revived in Chicago, with DePaul earning a 1-0 victory on a goal in the seventh minute.
Miami (Ohio) - The Crusaders have never matched up against the preseason MAC favorites. Last season, Valpo went 2-0-1 against MAC opponents, drawing with Kent State and defeating Western Michigan and Bowling Green.
Scouting the Opposition: DePaul - The Blue Demons fell 3-2 to Northwestern in their only exhibition contest of the preseason. Last year’s DePaul side went 9-10-2, including a 3-6-1 mark in Big East play. DePaul returns its two leading scorers from 2012 in Elise Wyatt (5g, 1a) and Ashleigh Goddard (3g, 4a).
Miami (Ohio) - The Redhawks also played just one exhibition fixture, downing Xavier 3-0. Last year, Miami boasted an impressive 20-3-1 record, including a first-round NCAA Tournament victory at Tennessee. The Redhawks return four players who scored at least nine goals a season ago, as well as starting goalkeeper Allison Norenberg.
Crusaders Picked Fifth in Preseason Poll: The head coaches selected Valparaiso to finish in fifth place in the Horizon League this season according to the preseason poll. Detroit was picked to win the league, while Valpo was just seven points behind second-place Wright State.
Looking Back at 2012: Last season’s Crusader squad posted a 10-6-3 record, including a 3-2-2 mark in Horizon League action, en route to not only becoming the stingiest team in program history, but also pacing the nation defensively. Valpo’s team GAA of 0.51 led all Division I programs, the first national statistical championship for the women’s soccer program, while the Crusaders also set a new program single-season record with 11 shutouts.
Looking For a Fast Start: While a pair of tough opponents await the Crusaders this weekend, Valpo has gotten off to strong starts in two of the last three seasons under Marovich, earning wins in both fixtures in the first weekend in 2010 and 2012. Last season, the two wins helped spark a 5-2-1 start to the campaign, while in 2010, the Crusaders went 4-1-2 in their first seven games.
Plenty of Defense Back: Valpo returns the majority of the players defensively from last year’s squad which paced the nation in goals against average, led by senior goalkeeper Kristen Manski. Manski set the program’s single-season GAA record and matched the shutouts record last year, and enters her senior campaign as Valpo's career leader in shutouts, GAA and save percentage. The Crusaders also return three of the regular four starters in the back.
Score More: The Crusaders are aiming to improve on their 17 goals scored from a season ago despite the loss of a pair of players (Luisa Desario and Rachel Hoaglin) who rank among the program’s top-ten in career goals scored. Valpo got three goals in its first exhibition game against Northern Illinois, all from freshmen (April Cronin x2, Robin Wenzel), which matched the most the Crusaders scored in a single game all last season.
So Many New Faces: Head coach John Marovich has so many new players on the 2013 squad that he could theoretically comprise a starting XI of all newcomers. 12 newcomers in all join the 15 returnees from last season’s squad, with 11 of them being true freshmen as well as one transfer.
Lots of Combinations: Marovich used the exhibitions as an opportunity to give a lot of players action to see what they could bring to the side. 21 players in all appeared in both the Northern Illinois and Loyola preseason contests, including three freshmen in the starting lineup and five more newcomers off the bench.
Returning All-League Players: A trio of players who earned All-Newcomer Team recognition from the Horizon League in 2012 as freshmen return for their sophomore seasons this year. Jenny Fassbinder started 13 matches on the outside in the back for Valpo as a rookie, while Rita Craven started every match in the midfield and Sarrah Ludwig appeared in every game in the middle, starting 10 times.
Preseason Honors: Three Crusaders were named to the preseason Second Team All-Horizon League, as chosen by College Sports Madness. Craven was chosen in the midfield, Manski in goal and Tara Ellis, who played all but 45 minutes a season ago, on defense.