Match #10: Friday, Sept. 26, 3:30 p.m. CDT
Valpo (7-1-1, 0-0 Horizon)
at Butler (4-5, 0-0 Horizon)
This Week in Crusader Soccer: After a successful start during non-conference play, the Valparaiso Crusaders are set to begin their nine-match Horizon League slate this Friday afternoon against Butler in Indianapolis. At 7-1-1, Valpo continues the best start in the program’s history.
On the Air: There will be no audio or video coverage of this week’s soccer match at Butler. Live stats will be available through www.valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach John Marovich: John Marovich is 7-1-1 in his first season overall and with Valpo after serving as an assistant for six years. Just the third coach in program history, he will move into a tie for second on the Crusaders’ career wins list with his next victory.
Series Notes: Valpo is looking for its first win ever against Butler as the Bulldogs hold a 5-0 series advantage dating back to 1997. Last year, the two rivals met on the pitch twice. During the regular season, the Bulldogs visited Eastgate Field in the first Horizon League match ever for the Crusaders, posting a 2-0 victory on September 30. The two schools met again on November 3 in Indianapolis in the Horizon League Championship quarterfinals where against Butler came out on top by the same score. Butler is 2-0 all-time against Valpo in Indianapolis.
Scouting Butler: The Bulldogs enter Friday’s match 4-5 overall after splitting a pair of road contests last week. On Thursday, Butler posted a 2-1 victory at Indiana but dropped a 2-0 decision at Illinois State on Sunday afternoon. The Bulldogs are 2-1 at home this year. Molly Kruger and Carrie Twyman lead the Butler offense. Kruger, a junior midfielder, has a team-leading four goals and has added two assists. Twyman, also a junior, has found the back of the net three times and has a team-best four helpers on the year. In goal, Laura Baker sports a 0.95 goals against average and an .855 save percentage.
Wrapping Up Last Week’s Action: Becky Clever scored with just over 15 minutes to play while Mele Cabral made five saves on Friday afternoon as Valparaiso shutout Central Michigan 1-0. On Sunday, Jackie Thomas scored on a header early in the match and Laura Romberg notched the match-winner with just 2:35 remaining as the Crusaders downed South Dakota 2-1.
Freshmen Contribute: A trio of freshmen made a big impact this past weekend in the two Crusader victories. On Friday, Becky Clever’s match-winning goal was also her first collegiate tally while Mikki Nuccio collected her first collegiate point with an assist on the play. Sunday, Laura Romberg scored her first college goal which also proved to be the match-winner against South Dakota.
Home Sweet Home: Valpo is a perfect 4-0 at Eastgate Field this season, continuing its recent success at home. Since 2004, the Crusaders have posted a 28-8-1 (.770) record defending their home turf.
Scoring at a Premium: Through nine matches, Valpo has allowed just three goals on the season defensively. Meanwhile, the offense has tallied just nine markers, with just two coming in the first 45 minutes. Valpo has played six 1-0 matches already this year, winning five of them.
Crusaders Looks to Remain Perfect Instate: Valpo looks improve upon its perfect 4-0 mark against Hoosier State schools with the match at Butler. The Crusaders have already defeated IPFW, IUPUI, Ball State, and Indiana State this year.
Cabral Moves Up Shutouts Chart: With the shutout against Central Michigan on Friday, Mele Cabral now has eight career clean sheets, moving her past Amy Cavanaugh (1996-1999) for second all-time at Valpo. Erin Murray (2004-2007) holds the school mark with 20 for a career. Cabral’s six shutouts this season have also tied Murray’s 2004 and 2007 single season records.
Among the Nation’s Best: As a team, Valparaiso ranks sixth in the country with a 0.32 goals against average and fourth in save percentage at .929. The Crusaders are also 13th in shutout percentage at .667 and their .833 winning percentage is 26th best in all of Division I. Individually, Mele Cabral is fourth with the .927 save mark and seventh in goals against average with the 0.32 mark.
Trio Among Top Scorers All-Time: Kendall Brown has moved alone into third place all-time at Valpo with 19 career goals with her first goal this year. Her 47 career points also rank third on the Crusader career list. Lori Johnson is sixth in school history with 12 goals and seventh with 31 points while Sarah Jewell is tied for seventh with 11 goals and eighth with 27 points.
Valpo Picked Fifth in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected to finish in a tie for fifth place in the Horizon League based on the preseason poll conducted of the league’s head coaches. Milwaukee was picked to win the league.