Net Gain: Blue Demons Fill Huge Void in Loss to Indiana
FT. WAYNE, IND. - Craig Blazer could take a nice deep breath Saturday night at the National Soccer Festival.
The DePaul men's soccer coach had found his goalkeeper during a 3-0 preseason loss to Indiana, ranked No. 4 in the country by Soccer America.
``Yes, we found our goalkeepr in the preseason, and it's Eric Sorby,'' Blazer said about the freshman from Mundelein tabbed to succeed Brian Visser, the best goalie in DePaul history. ``His command of the box is very good, and he played very well tonight against one of the premier teams in the country.
``The other players have confidence in him, and I'm excited knowing he's going to get better and better.''
In fact, Sorby & Co. opened some eyes during a first half in which the Blue Demons almost matched the mighty Hoosiers stride for stride.
``We played a very good first half, and I was pleased with the defending,'' Blazer said as Indiana went to the halftime locker room leading just 1-0. ``I was pleased with the team attitude and the way they responded to playing a very good team.''
It would have been a scoreless tie if John Jandl and Peter Sterbenz hadn't collided into each other in the 33rd minute with Sterbenz falling to the ground.
``When that happens in a preseason game, the attacking team just kicks it out of bounds,'' Blazer said. ``But, it's still a game and Indiana chose to attack. We hesistated a bit and lost a litte composure.''
Taking full advantage of the mishap was Rich Balchan, who scored off an assist from All-Big Ten midfielder Eric Alexander.
``That was a laser beam from 12 yards out into the side netting,'' Blazer said. ``You give a player the caliber of Indiana's an opening like that and he's going to finish it.''
Not wanting to take any chances after being upset 2-1 by Drake in a preseason game last Thursday, Indiana opened the second half with unassisted goals by Alec Purdie at 47:08 and by Andy Adlard at 53:40.
``We were not cohesive in our defensive stance,'' Blazer said. ``We got caught in between high pressure and not pressuring enough. Their forwards are very good and they beat us one-on-one. It was tough to recover.''
Individually, Scott Freundlich and Antonio Aguilar stood out, accoridng to Blazer, along with his goalie.
``We need to come together better as a team and get our offense attacking as one cohesive unit,'' Blazer said. ``We had a couple of fixable mistakes tonight that we'll take care of before our (regular-season) opener Tuesday at Drake.
``We have a team with a different skill set from last year. Now we're trying to get them to become a cohesive group.''
NOTES: Last year's best player, preseason All-BIG EAST forward Steffen Vroom, saw his first action of the preseason Saturday night... ``Vroom is ready to go,'' Blazer said. ``He was very dangerous out there''... DePaul almost matched the Hoosiers in shots with 10 to Indiana's 11 and had shots on goal by Nathan Feltz, Aguilar and Andre Gutierrez... Feltz, Aguilar, Freundlich, Gutierrez and Jandl all played 90 minutes... Vroom was on the field for 76 minutes while high-scoring forward Alex Mangan played 31... Sorby played the full 90 minutes and made four saves.