Valparaiso (8-6-0, 2-1-0 MVC)
Crusaders host 25th Anniversary match Saturday night
Saturday, Oct. 14 - 7 p.m. – Brown Field - UNI (10-3-1, 2-2-0 MVC)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: The Valparaiso University women's soccer team returns home to Brown Field on Saturday night for a key Missouri Valley Conference matchup against UNI as the Crusaders reach the midway point of the Valley campaign. Saturday's match is the program's 25th Anniversary celebration, as the team welcomes back alums from the past quarter-century and recognizes them at halftime.
Previously: Valpo picked up its second road win in MVC play on Saturday night in Chicago, prevailing over league-leading Loyola by a 2-1 final. Goals in the 37th minute and the 50th minute staked the Crusaders to a 2-0 lead, and despite a 75th-minute goal from the Ramblers, Valpo held off their late push.
Looking Ahead: Two MVC matches are on the slate for Valpo next week, as the Crusaders host Illinois State in mid-week action on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. before traveling to Indiana State on Sunday, Oct. 22 for a noon CT kickoff.
Following the Crusaders: This Saturday's match will have live audio and live stats, with links for both available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach John Marovich: The 2014 Horizon League Coach of the Year, John Marovich holds an 90-68-27 (.559) 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: Saturday night is the first meeting in a decade between the Crusaders and the Panthers, with Valpo holding a 3-1-0 edge in the all-time series. The last meeting came at Eastgate Field in September of 2007, a 1-0 Crusader win in extra time as Jackie Thomas headed home the match-winner in the 92nd minute.
Scouting the Opposition: UNI enters Saturday's match at 10-3-1 overall and 2-2-2 in MVC play. The Panthers started out the season 10-1-1 before dropping back-to-back Valley matches at Missouri State (1-0) and Drake (2-1). UNI has outscored its opponents this year, 25-9, led by seven goals from Brynell Yount and six goals and five assists from Sarah Brandt. Jamie Reichenberger has played every second in goal and owns eight clean sheets.
Yet Another Match Winner: Junior Cory Griffith scored the eventual match-winning goal in a 2-1 Crusader victory at league-leading Loyola in the 50th minute on Saturday night. Griffith now owns six goals on the year, four of which have been match-winning goals - tied for the conference lead and just one shy of Valpo's single-season record which she set last year. The junior has tallied nine career match-winners and is one away from tying Valpo's career record in that category, while her 16 career goals ranks seventh in program history.
Griffin With the Assist: Junior Sydney Griffin set up Griffith for the match-winner against the Ramblers to pick up her fourth assist of the season, tied for the team lead this year and tied for 10th in a single season in program history. Griffin leads Valpo and ranks sixth in the MVC this year with 16 points.
Taking Points on the Road: The Crusaders find themselves in a tie for second place in the conference standings despite having not yet played an MVC game at home. Through three road conference matches, Valpo owns a 2-1-0 mark after going just 1-5-0 away from home outside of conference play. With the top six teams making the conference tournament, Valpo is six points clear of seventh position.
Helping Out: Senior Grace Rogers recorded her fourth assist of the year two matches back 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.
I'm Coming Home Again: Valpo's win over Chicago State improved the Crusaders to a perfect 5-0-0 at home this year. Saturday's matchup against UNI is the first of three home matches for the Crusaders within the final four matches of the regular season. The 5-0-0 home start is the best since Valpo moved to Brown Field, and with a win Saturday, the Crusaders would match the 2005 squad, which opened the home slate 6-0-0 at Eastgate Field.
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.