Men's Soccer Announces 2009 Schedule
CHICAGO – Following back-to-back semifinal appearances in the BIG EAST Championship, DePaul men’s soccer coach Craig Blazer announced the 2009 schedule for the program's fifth season as a member of the BIG EAST Conference. The Blue Demons host seven matches at Wish Field and face nine NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago over the 18-game regular season slate and two exhibition matches.
"Our entire 2009 schedule is very challenging and we will need to be well prepared from the start,” said Blazer. “We play three 2008 NCAA Tournament teams during our first four games and on paper play our most competitive 11-game BIG EAST schedule in five years. If we stay healthy, we will have a great opportunity to continue to make history for the DePaul soccer program.”
The 2009 squad reports for training camp on Aug. 11 and uses two exhibition matches at Northern Illinois and against Indiana in preparation for the Sept. 1 opener at Drake. The exhibition schedule starts with a trip to DeKalb to face the Huskies on Aug. 26 before the Blue Demons square off with the Hoosiers on Aug. 29 in the National Soccer Festival in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Drake represents the first of three NCAA teams over the first two weeks of the season on Sept. 1 in Des Moines, Iowa. The Blue Demons host Green Bay in the Wish Field opener on Sept. 5 before a Labor Day match at Northwestern on Sept. 7. The Wildcats advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship last season and finished tied with DePaul at No. 6 in the final NSCAA/adidas Great Lakes Regional rankings.
The Marquette Invitational is scheduled for the second weekend in September and has DePaul playing a home game at Wish Field as part of the tournament. The Blue Demons tangle with NCAA qualifier UC Irvine in Milwaukee on Sept. 11 before closing the tournament with a home match against Buffalo at Wish Field on Sept. 13.
DePaul starts BIG EAST play with a pair of Wish Field matches against Notre Dame on Sept. 18 and Marquette on Sept. 20. The Blue Demons and Irish are the only BIG EAST teams to make the league’s tournament semifinals in each of the last two seasons while Marquette is making its first appearance at Wish Field as a member of the BIG EAST. The Blue Demons close the month of September with matches at Pittsburgh and West Virginia on the final weekend.
The final month of the regular season will test the DePaul squad with six of the nine matches on the road. DePaul hosts Louisville on Oct. 3 before a trip to Cincinnati on Oct. 7. Rutgers visits Wish Field on Oct. 10 followed by a stretch of five road games in the final six matches of the regular season. The Blue Demons play at Loyola-Chicago on Oct. 14 before a trip to Villanova on Oct. 17. The three-game trip concludes with the last non-conference match of the season at Butler on Oct. 21.
Senior Day is slated for the last home match of the regular season on Oct. 24 against Syracuse before the schedule concludes with an Oct. 28 date at USF and a trip to St. John’s on Oct. 31. In addition to the tough road schedule, DePaul faces four teams in Louisville, Loyola, USF and St. John’s that played in last season’s NCAA Tournament.
The 2009 BIG EAST Championship starts at campus sites with the first round on Nov. 4 and quarterfinals on Nov. 7. The final four teams in the league tournament travel to Morgantown, W. Va., for the semifinals and championship on Nov. 13 and Nov. 15. A year ago, the Blue Demons landed the No. 3 seed from the BIG EAST Red Division and knocked off Pittsburgh in the first round and Connecticut in the quarterfinals before falling to St. John’s in the semifinals in Tampa, Fla.