Valparaiso (7-4-1, 1-1-0 Horizon)
Crucial two-match week for Crusaders
Wednesday, Oct. 9 - at Oakland (4-7-1, 0-2-0) - 6 p.m. CT
Saturday, Oct. 12 - Wright State (4-4-3, 2-0-0) - 3 p.m.
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso women’s soccer team prepares for a critical week of Horizon League play, as the Crusaders face two league matches, traveling to newcomer Oakland Wednesday evening before returning home to take on Wright State Saturday afternoon.
Previously: Winning late-night games at Brown Field is starting to become a habit for the Crusaders, as the Crusaders took down Cleveland State Saturday evening, 2-1, on the first collegiate goal from freshman Morgan Manzke off a well-executed team move in the 88th minute. Jenny Fassbinder scored for Valpo in the seventh minute, while CSU answered in the 42nd minute to set up Manzke’s match-winner.
Following the Crusaders: Both matches this week will have links for live stats and live video via the Horizon League Network available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach John Marovich: John Marovich holds a 51-39-18 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 (.556) ever at Valpo, and ranks second in total victories.
Series Notes: Oakland - Valpo is just 4-7-1 all-time against the Grizzlies, but the two squads have not matched up since the Crusaders left the Mid-Con. Valpo did win three of the last four meetings, including the most recent, a 2-1 win in Rochester on Oct. 1, 2006.
Wright State - The Crusaders are just 1-8-2 against WSU, but all three results have come in the last four meetings. Last season, Valpo battled to a scoreless draw with the Raiders, as Kristen Manski made 13 saves for the Crusaders.
Scouting the Opposition: Oakland - The Grizzlies enter Wednesday’s match 4-7-1 overall this year and with HL losses to Green Bay and Wright State. Meghan Reynolds leads the OU offense with five of its 17 goals, while Payj O’Shea has seen the majority of minutes in goal and owns a 2.35 GAA.
Wright State - The Raiders enter the week at 4-4-3 overall, with league wins over Oakland and YSU. Emilie Fillion has scored six of WSU’s 13 goals and also boasts two assists. In goal, Brooke McCurdy has a 1.14 GAA and an .837 save percentage.
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.
Finding the Back of the Net: With their two-goal output, Saturday marked the fourth straight game that Valpo has found the back of the net multiple times. In fact, the Crusaders have scored eight goals over the last four games after scoring just five times in their first eight games of the season. The last time a Valpo team scored multiple goals in four or more consecutive games came late in the 2010 season, when the Crusaders tallied at least two goals in eight straight fixtures.
Late Night Soccer: For the second time this year, the Crusaders found themselves playing late into the night due to pre-game weather delays to earn a home win. Saturday’s game was scheduled for a 7:30 p.m., but kickoff was pushed back to 9:45 p.m., with the game concluding at about 11:40 p.m. Earlier this year against Grand Canyon, Valpo scored a golden goal in overtime at about 12:20 a.m.
Late Match-Winner: Not to be confused with the late hour is how late in the game Morgan Manzke’s match-winner came Saturday night. Manzke’s goal came just 2:34 from the end of the second half, the latest match-winner by the Crusaders since Mikki Nuccio scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win, coincidentally over Cleveland State as well, with 2:28 to play on Oct. 9, 2011.
Spreading the Wealth: While the Crusaders have scored just 13 goals so far this season, numerous players have gotten in on the scoring. Eight different players have scored the 13 goals, with Jenny Fassbinder picking up her team-high third goal of the year to open the scoring against CSU and Manzke tallying her first career goal. The Crusaders have also had 12 total assists on the 13 markers, which have come from 10 different players. In all, 14 of the 23 Crusaders who have played this year have at least one point.
Dominance at Home: In its first season using Brown Field as its primary home field, Valpo has been nearly perfect at home so far this year. The Crusaders are 7-1-0 at home, losing only on a late penalty kick to Miami (Ohio), and have given up just two goals in the run of play. Valpo is now 16-5-3 all-time at Brown Field. On the flip side, the Crusaders are still in search of their first road win of the year as they travel to Oakland on Wednesday, as they are 0-3-1 on the road this season.
Big Victories: Already this season, the Crusaders have won a pair of games over BCS opponents. Valpo lifted the lid on the 2013 campaign with a win over DePaul, the Crusaders’ first-ever win over a team from any power conference (Big East). Then, Northwestern came to Brown Field on Sept. 5 and left 1-0 losers, as Valpo won its first-ever game over a Big Ten squad.
End of a Defensive Streak: Valpo surrendered two goals in its loss to Evansville, ending a remarkable stretch of defensive play by the Crusaders. You had to go back over a calendar year (378 days to be exact) to find the last time Valpo had given up more than one goal in a match: a 3-1 loss at Iowa on Sept. 2, 2012. The Crusaders went 21 straight matches giving up either one or zero goals each time out, posting a team GAA of 0.32 during that stretch.