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By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)

– The Green Bay men’s soccer team returns home after a five game roadtrip to face Valparaiso on Saturday in its conference opener at Santaga Stadium at 3 p.m. 

The team will also be hosting alumni weekend, welcoming back former players with events throughout the weekend. caught up with head coach Dan Popik and senior Sam Krenzien (Wauwatosa, Wis.) at practice on Thursday to preview the upcoming weekend and conference play.

The Phoenix wrapped up a string of five games on the road with a record of 2-2-1, winning its last two games of the span over NJIT and UNC Asheville. The squad currently owns a 5-2-2 overall record in 2013.

Krenzien continues to set the tone for the Green Bay offense, leading the team and Horizon League with eight goals and 20 points (8g, 4a). Lawrence Talery (Coon Rapids, Minn.) also stands atop the conference leaderboard with five assists. In net, Kyle Ihn (Wales, Wis.) has appeared in seven of the nine matches this season, posting a 1.96 goals-against average and a .641 save percentage.

The Crusaders come into the weekend even at 3-3-3 and 0-1-1 in the conference. In the Horizon League, Valpo drew even with Oakland (1-1) on September 6 and lost 2-0 at Wright State last weekend.

Two of the three losses for Valparaiso have come at the hands of ranked opponents, including a 2-0 loss to No. 19 Dayton on Monday. The Crusaders also topped then-No. 24 Michigan State, 2-1, earlier this season.

Charles Barden leads the team with three goals and two assists. Nick Suker is tied for the team lead with three goals, while Todd Vervynckt has added two assists. In net, Tom Serratore has started six of the nine matches, recording a 1.31 goals-against average and a .743 save percentage. 

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