Valparaiso University men’s soccer player Ramone Howell (Portmore Jamaica / Jamaica College) has been named to the 2017 Missouri Valley Conference Preseason All-Conference Team, which was released on Thursday.
Howell is one of 11 players from Valley schools named to the team. The senior midfielder scored three goals and dished out two assists in 14 matches for the Crusaders a year ago. He totaled 33 shots, 14 of which were placed on goal. He is Valpo’s only returning player who scored more than one goal last season.
The Valley also released its preseason coaches’ poll, with the Crusaders projected to finish sixth of seven in the conference standings. Valpo, a first-year member of The Valley, went 10-5-7 overall in its final season as a Horizon League competitor. The 2016 season saw Valpo equal school records for both most victories and fewest losses in a season. However, the Crusaders will rely on a largely new team as they return just 10 players who saw game action a year ago, and four of those appeared in eight games or fewer.
Loyola is the preseason favorite to win the league after notching its first MVC regular-season title last year. The Ramblers earned the program’s first NCAA Tournament win in 2016. Loyola garnered five of the seven first-place votes, with Evansville and Missouri State – the second and third teams in the poll – each collecting one first-place vote.
The Crusaders will take the field for split-squad exhibition games on Friday, hosting Bowling Green at Eastgate at 10 a.m. and visiting Fort Wayne at 6 p.m. CT. The Crusaders round out the exhibition slate on Monday at 4 p.m. CT at Notre Dame, then crank up the 2017 campaign on Friday, Aug. 25 at Northwestern.