DePaul Excited About Formidable Challenge of New BIG EAST
Jalen Harvey led the Bermuda National Team to the NatWest Island Games gold medal in July.

Aug. 6, 2013

CHICAGO – There’s no question who are the teams to beat in the reconfigured BIG EAST Conference men’s soccer field.

Georgetown and Creighton are right at the top of the new 10-team league that promises to be among the best in the country.

The Hoyas were the NCAA Championship runner-up last season and Creighton made it to the Final Four. In addition, Marquette, St. John’s and Xavier competed in the NCAA tournament.

Those five teams are at the top of the conference and among the preseason Top 25 in the nation. In its preseason poll, College Soccer News ranks Georgetown No. 2, Creighton No. 4, Marquette No. 8, St. John’s No. 21 and Xavier No. 22.

“This is going to be an incredibly competitive conference with tremendous balance and a ton of national success,” said DePaul soccer coach Craig Blazer. “It is going to be one of the best soccer conferences in the country. We’re looking forward to playing the other nine teams and finding a way to be one of the six teams to qualify for the conference tournament.

“The new BIG EAST has a more-balanced look with 10 teams, and playing every team once makes it a more equitable conference. We’re very excited for the opportunity to play some teams we haven’t faced in a long time.

“By playing every team once, whoever makes it to the BIG EAST tournament will have earned their spot---no questions asked.”

After opening the regular season with eight nonconference matches beginning Aug. 30 against Green Bay at Wish Field, the Blue Demons initiate BIG EAST play on Sept. 28 with a home match against St. John’s on Alumni Day.

DePaul has exhibition matches Aug. 18 at Western Illinois and Aug. 24 at Michigan.

The Blue Demons are looking to develop a sturdy defense around senior goalkeeper Eric Sorby and talented sophomore defender Jalen Harvey.

Harvey trained hard all summer in his native Bermuda and played for the Bermuda National Team in the NatWest Island Games July 13-19 in Bermuda.

Harvey played practically every minute of the tournament in leading Bermuda to the gold medal in the 22-team field. Bermuda did not give up a goal the entire tournament.

Other defensive pieces Blazer will be counting on include Jared Blincow, Art Garza, Kyle Gustafson, Jake Douglas and talented 6-foot junior defender Koray Yesilli from Germany.

Another defensive-minded freshman, Kevin Beyer, helped lead his Shattuck-St. Mary’s U-17/18 team to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Finals. Senior Zach Forbes and sophomore Brian Hindle return to anchor the midfield.

“With less moving parts, travel in the BIG EAST will be a little easier this season,” Blazer said. “There won’t be as much fatigue as in the past.

“We are prepared to compete in the new BIG EAST. Our players have to be disciplined, have a team-first mentality and be ready to contribute. We have an opportunity to play a lot of players.

“The potential to be successful rests with our academic seniors and the junior class. The seniors told us they are committed to having a winning season and qualifying for the new BIG EAST Conference tournament.”



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