Valparaiso (2-1-4, 0-0-0 Horizon)
One final tune-up before the start of Horizon League play
Friday, Sept. 19 – at Eastern Illinois (0-6-1, 0-0-0 OVC) – Charleston, Ill. – 3 p.m.
This Week in Crusader Soccer: It’s a light week this week for Valpo, with just one match on its docket. The Crusaders will make the trip west to take on Eastern Illinois Friday afternoon in an attempt to extend their unbeaten streak to seven consecutive matches as they prepare for the start of Horizon League play.
Previously: Valpo continued its unbeaten run with two more results last weekend. The Crusaders went to IPFW on Friday and barraged the Mastodons with 30 shots in a 1-0 win, as Rita Craven found the back of the net in the 81st minute. Then, on Sunday, Valpo returned home and played Evansville to a scoreless draw.
Following the Crusaders: A link for live stats for Friday’s match will be available at ValpoAthletics.com. 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 home matches.
Head Coach John Marovich: John Marovich holds a 54-43-24 record both overall and with Valpo in 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 (.545) ever at Valpo, and ranks second in total victories.
Series Notes: The Crusaders are just 4-7-1 all-time against Eastern Illinois, but all four victories have come in the last four meetings. Last season, Valpo earned a 2-1 victory over the Panthers at Brown Field on Sept. 22, as Jenny Fassbinder and Sarrah Ludwig scored goals in the win.
Scouting the Opposition: Eastern Illinois enters Friday still in search of its first win of the season, as the Panthers are 0-6-1. EIU earned its lone draw last time out, tying Green Bay, 1-1. Chris Reed has scored four of the Panthers’ five goals this season, while EIU has surrendered 20 goals over seven matches.
Unbeaten Streak: The pair of results last week for the Crusaders extended Valpo’s undefeated streak to six consecutive matches, as the Crusaders have not lost since the opening contest of the season. Over that stretch, the team owns a 2-0-4 record. It is Valpo’s longest unbeaten streak since a seven-match streak spanning the 2011 and 2012 seasons, and is the longest single-season undefeated streak since the Crusaders won seven straight contests late in the 2009 campaign.
Keeping the Ball Out of the Net: The Crusaders made it four straight shutouts last week as well, posting clean sheets in the win at IPFW and the draw with Evansville. It has now been 436 minutes since Valpo last allowed a goal, and that was a penalty kick against Grand Canyon – you have to go all the way back to the first match of the season to find the last time the squad surrendered a goal in the run of play. The Crusaders are now just one shutout shy of the program record for most consecutive clean sheets, as they posted five straight shutouts during the 2009 season.
Plenty of Chances: Valpo dominated the run of play in last week’s win at IPFW, recording 30 shot attempts over the course of the victory. The 30 shots marked the fifth-most in a single match in program history, and were the most by a Crusader team since 2006. Buoyed by that effort, Valpo is currently averaging 18.1 shot attempts/game, an increase of over six shots from last season’s team.
Craven Craving Match-Winners: Junior Rita Craven has made it a habit in her time at Valpo to make her goals count. She tallied three goals in her first two seasons – at IPFW as a freshman, and against DePaul and at Youngstown State last season – and all three of them were match-winning goals. Craven has kept the trend alive this season, as she enters Friday with two goals this year – the match-winners in the back-to-back victories over Western Illinois and IPFW.
Galvez-Daley Strong in Net: With a tradition of strong goalkeeping in the Valparaiso women’s soccer program, the Crusaders looked to redshirt sophomore Sydney Galvez-Daley to fill the spot between the pipes this season, and she has been strong so far. Galvez-Daley was tabbed the league’s Defensive Player of the Week after opening weekend, and has already posted five clean sheets in her first seven games while surrendering just three goals. Galvez-Daley leads the league in both shutouts (5) and goals against average (0.38).
Goal-Scoring Bonanza: After scoring just two goals in their first four matches of the season, Valpo found the back of the net three times in the win over Western Illinois – including twice in the first half, the team’s first goals in the opening 45 minutes this season. For the Crusaders, it was their first time scoring three goals in a regular-season contest since Sept. 9, 2012, when they defeated Bowling Green, 3-0.
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.