Fateful Stretch Burns DePaul in BIG EAST Playoff Opener
Nov. 3, 2011
STORRS, Conn. - A soccer odyssey replete with twists and turns, ups and downs, highlights and lowlights came to a conclusion Thursday night in Morrone Stadium.
DePaul was its own worst enemy during a decisive 10-minute stretch of a 4-0 loss to No. 7/4 Connecticut in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship playoffs.
First came a Blue Demon penalty in the box in the 27th minute that resulted in Carlos Alvarez converting a penalty kick.
Just four minutes later, another DePaul foul set up Alvarez with a free kick right outside the box. The Huskie midfielder launched a shot from 20 yards out that landed in the upper left of the Blue Demon net.
Capping off the 10-minute UConn burst, Stephane Diop broke free down the left side and beat DePaul goalkeeper Joe Ferrari 1v1 for a three-goal halftime lead.
After being upset by Seton Hall 1-0 last Sunday, Connecticut (15-2-2) came out with a purpose on Thursday night. The Huskies outshot DePaul 15-1 in the first half and held an 8-0 advantage in shots on goal.
It might have been an even bigger halftime deficit except for Jared Blincow blocking two shots in the box, clearing one of them off the goal line.
"We played a very good team tonight, one of the best in the country," said DePaul coach Craig Blazer. "The Connecticut team we went against is one of the best we have faced all season.
"It's unfortunate we gave away that penalty kick and then the re-start. Before you know it, the score is 2-0 and we're chasing the game. UConn put us on our heels from the first moment, and they have a tremendous amount of weapons.
"We had some opportunities but didn't take the shot, and that was disappointing. We found out tonight why UConn was ranked No. 1 in the country for much of the season.
"Regardless of the final outcome, this was a learning experience for us."
Three starters were missing from the lineup with Ferrari filling in for the injured Eric Sorby at goalkeeper in what would prove to be Ferrari's farewell performance.
Seven Blue Demons were competing in their first BIG EAST playoff match, and their inexperience was no match for a Connecticut program that has seven BIG EAST Championship titles.
DePaul (6-11-2) had its best chance to score in the 54th minute when David Selvaggi hit the crossbar on a rocket of a free kick from just outside the box.
UConn's Andrew Jean-Baptiste scored on a header in the 65th minute to make it 4-0.
NOTES: Curtis Weir's big brother, Sean Weir, made his first start of the season for Connecticut as a right back... UConn extended its winning streak at Morrone Stadium to 22 games... the Huskies came into Thursday's match second in the nation with a 0.32 goals-against average... Joseph Hart saw his first action of the season, replacing Ferrari as goalkeeper in the 72nd minute... UConn finished with a 26-4 advantage in shots and had a 13-1 advantage in shots on goal... Selvaggi had two shots while Weir and Anthony Hunter each had one shot... Hunter had DePaul's lone shot on goal...Blincow wound up blocking four shots, including the one he also cleared off the line... Austin Toth received his second yellow card, resulting in a red card and ejection in the 67th minute... DePaul played shorthanded for the rest of the match... Antonio Aguilar and Selvaggi led the team this season with seven goals apiece... Aguilar was tops in assists with four and points with 18... Aguilar led the Blue Demons in shots with 54 and shots on goal with 30.