Valparaiso (7-6-0, 1-1-0 MVC)
Crusaders make short trip to Rogers Park Saturday night
Saturday, Oct. 7 - 7 p.m. – Chicago, Ill. - at Loyola (10-3-0, 3-0-0 MVC)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: For the seventh time in eight matches, the Valparaiso University women's soccer team plays on the road, as the Crusaders make the short trip up to Chicago Saturday evening to face conference leader Loyola in Missouri Valley Conference action.
Previously: Valpo scored a pair of second-half goals in MVC action Saturday night at Drake, but couldn’t complete a comeback effort, falling to the Bulldogs by a final score of 4-2. Kelsey Jahn and Lauren Torhorst found the back of the net for the Crusaders.
Looking Ahead: Valpo returns home to Brown Field on Saturday, Oct. 14 as MVC play continues against UNI.
Following the Crusaders: This Saturday's match can be seen live on The Valley on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app. Links for the live video, as well as live stats, will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach John Marovich: The 2014 Horizon League Coach of the Year, John Marovich holds an 89-68-27 (.557) 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: Valpo's most-common opponent all-time, the Crusaders will be matching up with Loyola for the 25th time on Saturday night. The Ramblers hold a 15-8-1 advantage in the series, but Valpo has won the last three meetings - including a dramatic 3-2 win in double overtime last season in Chicago. April Cronin scored her second goal of the game in the 84th minute to force extra time, and then completed her hat trick in the 105th minute to secure the victory for the Crusaders.
Scouting the Opposition: Loyola enters Saturday night's fixture atop the MVC standings, sitting at 10-3-0 overall and a perfect 3-0-0 in conference play following a 5-0 win over Missouri State on Sunday afternoon. The Ramblers have been prolific on the attack this year, netting 47 goals over their 13 games, led by 10 goals and two assists from Jenna Szczesny. In goal, Maddie Ford has seen the vast majority of the action and owns a 1.16 GAA and a .764 save percentage.
That Scoring Touch: Junior Kelsey Jahn scored her second goal in as many MVC matches for the Crusaders on Saturday night at Drake, finding the back of the net in the 57th minute to cut Valpo's deficit at that point to one goal. After going the first 45 matches of her career without a goal, Jahn has now scored two goals in Valpo's last three matches.
Helping Out: Senior Grace Rogers recorded her fourth assist of the year in Saturday's MVC match at Drake, tying her for team-high honors. The assist was the 12th of her career as well, moving her into a tie for second place in program history - just one assist shy of the record of 13, held by Lindsay Holley.
First Career Goals: A pair of Crusaders found the back of the net for the first time in their career in last Thursday's 5-1 victory over Chicago State. Sophomore Anna Eksten - in her first year with the program - finished for her first career goal in the 33rd minute. Less than four minutes later, senior Lily Chetosky - who returned to action this year after missing nearly two full seasons due to injury - beat the CSU goalkeeper one-on-one for her first career goal.
I'm Coming Home Again: Valpo's win over Chicago State on Thursday evening improved the Crusaders to a perfect 5-0-0 at home this year. Following this Saturday's match at Loyola, Valpo will close the season with three of its final four matches at Brown Field.
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 in the 1-0 win over the Bears. 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.
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, including most recently Drew Moulton's second Defensive honor on Sept. 25. 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.