Valparaiso (6-5-0, 1-0-0 MVC)
Crusaders close out non-conference action, look to start 2-0-0 in MVC play
Thursday, Sept. 28 - 7:30 p.m. - Brown Field - Chicago State (1-11-0, 0-0-0 WAC)
Saturday, Sept. 30 - 7 p.m. – Des Moines, Iowa - at Drake (7-3-1, 0-0-0 MVC)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso University women's soccer team returns home to Brown Field for the first time in 25 days to close non-conference action on Thursday evening as the Crusaders host Chicago State. Valpo then jumps back into Valley play Saturday night at Drake.
Previously: It looked like Saturday night's MVC opener at Missouri State was heading for extra time, but Kelsey Jahn made sure that the Crusaders would come away with all three points in regulation, scoring her first career goal with 27 seconds to play to give Valpo the 1-0 win over the Bears.
Looking Ahead: The Crusaders will wrap up a stretch of three consecutive road matches to start MVC play next Saturday, Oct. 7 with their shortest trip, heading over the state line to Chicago to take on Loyola.
Following the Crusaders: Both matches this weekwill have live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com. In addition, Thursday night's contest against Chicago State will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) and online as well.
Head Coach John Marovich: The 2014 Horizon League Coach of the Year, John Marovich holds an 88-67-27 (.558) record both overall and with Valpo in his 10th season at the helm of the Brown and Gold. Just the third head coach in program history, Marovich became the winningest coach in program history midway through last season.
Series Notes: Chicago State - First Meeting
Drake - The Bulldogs are 2-0-1 all-time versus the Crusaders, but the two sides have not met since 2004, when they battled to a 2-2 draw in Des Moines.
Scouting the Opposition: Chicago State - The Cougars enter Thursday's match at 1-11-0 on the year, most recently falling 6-2 to Indiana State. CSU has been outscored this season 72-6.
Drake - The Bulldogs will be playing their first Valley match of the season on Saturday evening and own a 7-3-1 overall record, including a 2-1 win in double overtime at Western Illinois on Sunday. Rebecca Rodgers has scored six of Drake's 14 goals on the season, while Haley Morris has seen most of the action in goal and owns a 1.29 GAA with three shutouts.
Moulton Stands Strong in Goal: Junior Drew Moulton was named the MVC Defensive Player of the Week after keeping a clean sheet in the Crusaders' win at Missouri State. Moulton made seven saves - her second-best single-match total of the year - in the shutout win. The junior, who is a two-time weekly award winner from the MVC office this year, now owns a 0.60 GAA, an .885 save percentage, three shutouts and a 4-1-0 record on the season.
A Flair For the Dramatic: Overtime seemed a certainty for the Crusaders in their Valley opener at Missouri State before Jahn's late match-winner. Coming with just 27 seconds to play, it marked the latest match-winning goal in a regulation win for Valpo since Dana McGlone scored with just 12 seconds remaining in a 1-0 win over Fort Wayne on Sept. 14, 2008.
Not Cutting Corners: Valpo enjoyed an 8-2 advantage in corner kicks in its win over Missouri State on Saturday, continuing its season-long edge in the category. The Crusaders have more than doubled their opponents in corners so far this season (60-26) and only twice in 11 matches has Valpo's opponent taken more corners than the Crusaders.
Returning Home: Valpo hasn't played on its home field since Sept. 3, but will return to action at Brown Field this Thursday evening against Chicago State in its final non-conference match of the year. The Crusaders will look to remain perfect at home, as they enter Thursday's fixture at 4-0-0 on Brown Field this season.
Easy As One, Two, Three: Junior Cory Griffith scored her first career hat trick in the Crusaders' win over Fort Wayne on Sept. 10. The hat trick was the sixth in program history and just the second since September of 2005. Griffith's three goals moved her into Valpo’s all-time top-10 in goals scored, as she now owns 14 career goals, good for a tie for ninth position, while her first goal against the Mastodons was the eventual match-winner, giving her seven career match-winning goals – tied for fourth-most in program history.
Claiming Awards: Valpo has earned six total weekly awards from the MVC office this year following Moulton's second honor this week. Following the weekend with victories over Eastern Illinois and Belmont, Sydney Griffin was tabbed Offensive Player of the Week while Kezia Gesell earned Defensive Player of the Week accolades. Previously, following the season's first weekend, Griffin had been named the conference's Offensive Player and Newcomer of the Week and Moulton had been named Defensive Player of the Week.
Reaching A Milestone: The Crusaders celebrate a quarter-century of competition this fall, as the 2017 campaign is Valpo's 25th season of intercollegiate women's soccer. The Crusaders first took the field on Sept. 4, 1993 at Michigan State.
Valpo In The Valley: The 2017-18 school year is also a significant season for the Valpo athletics department as a whole, as on July 1, Valparaiso University became a member of the Missouri Valley Conference following a decade of membership in the Horizon League. The move to The Valley dovetails nicely with the soccer program's 25-year celebration, as the MVC is celebrating 25 years of women's competition in the conference as well. The women's soccer team is the only program at Valpo to have previously competed in The Valley, as the Crusaders were an affiliate member of the conference from 1996 through 1998. The highlight of the Crusaders' previous tenure in the conference was the play of goalkeeper Amy Cavanaugh, who set a school and conference record which still stands today with 224 saves during the 1997 season.
Crusaders Picked Fifth in Preseason Poll: Valpo has been chosen to finish in a tie for fifth place in the MVC preseason poll, as voted on by the conference’s head coaches. The Crusaders totaled 29 points in the preseason polling to tie UNI for fifth place. Illinois State received all but one first-place vote to top the poll, while Drake picked up the other first-place nod and was second in the polling.
Experience Returns: Among the 18 letterwinners back for the Crusaders in 2017 are eight of last season's 11 most regular starters. The team features plenty of new blood as well, however, as nine players are in their first season at Valpo - seven freshmen and two transfers.
Looking Back at 2016: The Crusaders are coming off of a 9-10-0 record in 2016, including a 5-4-0 mark within Horizon League play – good for a tie for fourth place. April Cronin earned First Team All-League honors as she closed out her stellar career with team highs of eight goals, five assists, and 21 points, departing Valpo second in program history in career goals and points and third in assists. Second Team All-League selection Cory Griffith struck for seven goals and three assists as a sophomore. Five of Griffith’s seven tallies were match-winners, setting a new Valpo single-season record.