Valparaiso (0-0-0, 0-0-0 Horizon)
Crusaders open 2014 slate with pair of home matches
Friday, Aug. 22 - 7:30 p.m. - Brown Field – Belmont (0-0-0)
Sunday, Aug. 24 - 1 p.m. - Brown Field - IUPUI (0-0-0)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso women’s soccer team opens the 2014 campaign this weekend with a pair of home matches, hosting Belmont on Friday evening and IUPUI on Sunday afternoon. The Crusaders are looking to open the season on a winning note for the fourth time in the last five years.
Previously: The Crusaders split a pair of exhibition contests last weekend. Valpo went on the road and fell at Cincinnati, 4-1, before returning home for a 3-0 victory over Saint Joseph’s (Ind.).
Following the Crusaders: Both matches this weekend will have live stats available through ValpoAthletics.com. while Sunday’s match will also have live audio as well. Over the course of the 2014 season, five matches will have free live video on the Horizon League Network, including four matches at home, while WVUR, Valpo’s student radio station, will also be broadcasting select matches.
Head Coach John Marovich: John Marovich holds a 52-42-20 record both overall and with Valpo entering his seventh season at the helm of the Brown and Gold. Just the third head coach in program history, Marovich has the best winning percentage (.544) ever at Valpo, and ranks second in total victories.
Series Notes: Belmont – Valparaiso has won both prior meetings in the all-time series against the Bruins. The most recent matchup came on Sept. 14, 2007 at Eastgate Field, a 1-0 Crusader victory.
IUPUI – Valpo owns a 10-3-3 edge in the series over the Jaguars. The Crusaders have earned results in the last nine meetings between the two programs, including a scoreless draw last season on Sept. 13 in Indianapolis.
Scouting the Opposition: Belmont – The Bruins are coming off of a 7-8-2 season in 2013 and are returning a trio of players who scored three goals apiece last year. Belmont fell to Lipscomb, 2-0, and played to a scoreless tie at UAB in exhibition play.
IUPUI – The Jaguars tied with Ball State, 1-1, in their lone exhibition contest, and will play Green Bay on Friday before coming to Valpo on Sunday. Last season, the Jaguars posted a 5-9-5 record and went 1-4-2 in Summit League action.
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. Milwaukee was picked to capture the league title, with Oakland and Wright State right behind the Panthers.
Looking Back at 2013: Last season’s Crusader squad posted an 8-7-3 record, their ninth winning campaign in the last ten years. Included among the eight victories were a season-opening win over DePaul – the program’s first-ever win over a major conference program – and a victory over Northwestern – the Crusaders’ first against a Big Ten opponent. Valpo continued its tradition of being a strong defensive side, surrendering just 15 goals in the 18 games. Ten different players scored goals for the Crusaders, with 16 players in all tallying points.
Roster Breakdown: This year’s Crusader squad brings back 19 players from last season’s roster, 16 of which saw action last year and seven of whom were regular starters. In addition, six newcomers – two transfers and four freshmen – join the fray as well.
Warner Stands Out: Senior midfielder Kristen Warner became a regular starter for the first time last season, and looks to take another step forward this season. Warner put forth a strong performance during the pair of exhibition fixtures, scoring the Crusaders’ lone goal at Cincinnati and assisting on each of Valpo’s first two goals in the win over Saint Joseph’s (Ind.).
Heading It Home: All three of the Crusaders’ goals in their exhibition win over the Pumas last Sunday came via the air, as Valpo finished a trio of crosses with headers. Sarrah Ludwig and Robin Wenzel each headed one home in the first half, while Jordon Tindell found the back of the net in the second half.
Pair to Watch: The Horizon League released a preseason list of Players to Watch leading into the 2014 regular season, and Valpo was represented by a pair of players. Senior midfielder Kelsey Draper, a Second Team All-League selection a year ago, and freshman defender Grace Rogers, an Honorable Mention All-State choice at Woodbury [Minn.] H.S., were the two Crusaders on the list.