Blue Demons Looking for Encore Performance at Illinois-Chicago
Sep 5, 2013
CHICAGO – After playing one of its best matches in the last two years, DePaul knows exactly what would be the perfect encore performance.
That is coming back to Lincoln Park on Friday night from Illinois-Chicago with the first victory of the season .
A hustling and fired-up Blue Demon eleven took then-No. 19/22 Northwestern into the final seconds of double overtime on Monday before falling 1-0.
The inspired play was reminiscent of a match two years ago when DePaul gave No. 4 Creighton everything it could handle until the Bluejays scored in the 109th minute.
“We’re doing the things we work on every day in training,” said DePaul coach Craig Blazer. “We are finding out more about what type of team we are and what type of team we can be. We feel good that with more training and time, this team is going to get better and better.
“The attitude is good, and we have confidence. We know we have to do more of the little things better to get the result.”
Blazer & Co. will encounter a UIC team that opened its season in impressive fashion, coming up short 1-0 to then- No. 13 UC Santa Barbara last Sunday at Flames Field.
A DePaul defense that took a big step forward on Labor Day will look to keep the Flames in check.
“You still never know how players will react to season openers,” Blazer said about a 3-2 loss to Green Bay last Friday at Wish Field. “You’re not sure how they’ll react from game to game.
“We found out in the Northwestern game that our academic seniors were a lot more consistent. The younger players are really grasping what Division I college soccer is all about and doing a pretty good job.”
The Blue Demons encounter back-to-back road matches this weekend, heading to Wisconsin after the UIC match to face the Badgers at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Wisconsin opened its season with a 1-1, double-overtime draw at UMKC.
“I feel good about the team heading into our road stretch,” Blazer said. “We had two good results on the road (win at Western Illinois and tie at Michigan) in the exhibition season.
“We’ll see if we can continue that success. Our players can take some confidence from the exhibition season, and it’s something to build upon.
“Our guys enjoyed the Northwestern game and will equally enjoy the rivalry game with Illinois-Chicago. We are very much looking forward to the match.”
Blazer believes the Blue Demons are headed in the right direction.
“With every training session, every half, every game, every overtime---the picture of what we want to do and how we want to defend and attack is becoming clearer and clearer,” Blazer said. “The communication and rapport with the players is great. They are taking ownership of the program."