Wednesday, November 9, 2005
VALPARAISO (12-7-1, 4-2 Mid-Con) at #2 NOTRE DAME (19-2, 10-1 Big East)

WHAT: NCAA Tournament First Round

WHEN: Friday, November 11, 2005, 6:30 p.m. CST.

WHERE: Alumni Field (2,500), Notre Dame, Ind.

RADIO: Live-WVUR (95.1-FM) and online at Joey Favata will handle the play-by-play with Matt Engelbrecht providing the color commentary.

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is led by Stephen Anthony, who is in his 8th season overall and with the Crusaders. He is 56-87-10 in his eight seasons. Notre Dame is led by Randy Waldrum who is 138-22-5 in his seventh year with the Fighting Irish. He is 245-72-17 overall in his 16th season coaching women's soccer.

SERIES RECORD: This marks the first meeting ever between Valparaiso and Notre Dame on the soccer field.

ADVANCEMENT: The winner of the Valpo-Notre Dame match will meet the winner of Friday's 4 p.m. CST match between Bowling Green and Michigan State on Sunday, November 13 at 12 p.m. CST.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Valparaiso won the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament with a 3-1 victory over Oakland to earn the automatic bid. Notre Dame won the Big East Tournament with a 5-0 victory over Connecticut to earn the automatic bid.

Fresh off of its first Mid-Continent Conference regular season and tournament titles in school history, Valparaiso is set to venture into more unchartered waters on Friday evening as the Crusaders take on Notre Dame in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Crusaders defeated Oakland 3-1 in the Mid-Con Championship to earn the berth into college soccer's premier event.

ANTHONY EARNS COACH OF THE YEAR HONORS FOR A SECOND TIME: Crusader head coach Stephen Anthony was named the Mid-Continent Conference co-Coach of the Year, marking the second time in his career that he has earned the honor. He shared the award with Southern Utah's Brian Stock.

THREE CRUSADERS EARN FIRST TEAM HONORS: For the first time in the soccer program's history, Valparaiso landed three Crusaders on the league's First Team. Emily King, Erin Murray, and Jackie Thomas were all honored by the league's head coaches for their production this season.

FIVE ALL-CONFERENCE ATHLETES TIE SCHOOL RECORD: In addition to having three players placed on the Mid-Con First Team, freshmen Kendall Brown and Lori Johnson were each named to the league's Second Team. With five players earning All-Conference accolades, Valpo has tied the most ever honored by the league. The Crusaders also had five players earn honors in 2002.

RECORD SETTING SEASON: Valparaiso's 12 victories during the 2005 season have set a new school mark for wins in a year. The Crusaders won ten matches during both the 2001 and 2004 campaigns, the only other seasons which the Brown and Gold finished the year with winning records.

VALPO AGAINST THE NCAA FIELD: Valparaiso played one match against teams in the NCAA Tournament Field this season. The Crusaders recorded their lone tie of the year, 0-0 (2ot) at Creighton back on September 25 in the Diadora Classic in Omaha, Neb. The Blue Jays are facing Nebraska in the First Round.

BROWN HAS RECORD-SETTING SEASON: Kendall Brown sets Valpo single-season record for shots attempted with 81. In addition, Brown sets freshman records for goals (10), assists (5), points (25), and match-winning goals (3).

HAT TRICKS: Kendall Brown also tallied three multi-goal games this season, among the best in program history. Her hat trick against Cleveland State was just the fourth ever by a Valpo player.

SEASON'S BEST: Emily King tied Lori Moore's single-season goal scoring record with 11 goals. She has scored at least one goal in six of her last seven matches, and has put up eight goals over that span. She also set Valpo's single-season points record with 27 points.

AND ONE OF THE ALL-TIME BESTS: Emily King will end her career as one of Valpo's all-time best players. Her 21 career goals rank second-best all-time, along with her 52 points. She also sits second in match-winning goals, with seven, and shots taken (180).

TOURNAMENT MVP: Emily King was named the Mid-Con Tournament Most Valuable Player, and rightfully so. She scored a tournament record four goals in the two matches, two against Southern Utah and two against Oakland.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Joining Emily King on the Mid-Con All-Tournament Team were goalkeeper Erin Murray, defender Courtney Rahrig, and midfielder Dana McGlone. Murray allowed just one goal in two matches, Rahrig scored the championship-winner, and McGlone assisted on both goals in the semifinal victory.

DON'T GIVE HER PK'S: Emily King has taken advantage of penalty kick opportunities this season, converting all three she has attempted. She kicked off the scoring against Cleveland State with a PK 3:11 into the match, and tallied PKs in consecutive matches versus Youngstown State and Oakland.

A SOPHOMORE NOW?: By the time Mid-Con play rolled around, Lori Johnson was done playing like a freshman. She took only ten shots against conference opponents, but all ten were on frame and a team-high four found the back of the net, including two game-winners. She also led Valpo with nine points in conference play.

DEFENSE: Valpo's backline has been one constant for head coach Stephen Anthony this season. Sophomore Courtney Rahrig and freshmen Laura Murphy and Jackie Thomas have started all 20 matches on defense for the Crusaders in 2005.

MAKING THEM COUNT: Courtney Rahrig has scored just two goals through her first two years in a Valpo uniform, but no goal in program history was bigger than her goal last Saturday against Oakland. Rahrig found the back of the net on a blast from 25 yards out for the eventual match-winning goal in the Mid-Con Championship.

QUICK STRIKE: Brittany Derksen scored four goals this year for the Brown and Gold, all of which came within a 97:10 span of playing time. Derksen found the back of the net three times against Lipscomb, the third hat trick in Valpo history, and scored 12 minutes into the Crusaders' next match, versus Indiana State.

NOTHING GETS BY HER: Goalie Erin Murray has already cemented her place in the Crusader record book in just her second season with Valpo. With a 0-0 tie against Creighton September 25, Murray became Valpo's all-time shutout leader, currently standing at 11. Murray also holds the school record for goals against average at 1.23, nearly a full goal better than second place, and is poised to become Valpo's all-time save percentage leader as well.

IT'S REALLY PRETTY SIMPLE: Score goals. Do not allow goals. Those are the two keys to success in soccer, and Valparaiso has done both at a record pace this season. The Crusaders have scored a program-best 36 goals to date, while allowing a record-low 24 goals.

A RECORD-SETTING VICTORY: A number of Valpo single-match records were broken when the Crusaders hosted Lipscomb September 2. Derksen tied a school record with three goals in one match, while six goals marked the second-most by a Valpo team all-time. The Brown and Gold also tallied five assists, tying a school high. The Crusaders attempted 38 shots on the afternoon, breaking the previous mark of 34.

NOTRE DAME NOTES: Notre Dame enters the NCAA Tournament as the #2 seed and have won ten straight matches after capturing the Big East Tournament title with a 5-0 victory over Connecticut in the championship on Sunday.

The defending national champions have outscored their opponents 46-1 during the winning streak and are led by Kerri Hanks and Katie Thorlakson. Hanks has tallied 24 goals and 62 points on the season while Thorlakson has added 16 goals and a team-high 28 assists for 60 points.

In goal, Erika Bohn and Lauren Karas has split time between the posts for the Fighting Irish. Bohn has registered a 0.43 goals against average and a 76.5% save percentage in 13 matches, including 11 starts. Karas has tallied a 0.62 GAA and a 72.7% save percentage in 16 matches, including nine starts.

The Fighting Irish are a perfect 10-0 at home this season and went 6-2 against ranked teams. Notre Dame is currently ranked #5 in the nation.