Men's Soccer Takes On Saint Francis and Drake This Weekend
CHICAGO - The DePaul men’s soccer team plays the first of eight home matches in 2005 this weekend. The Blue Demons host Saint Francis (Pa.) on Friday at 3 p.m. followed by a 1 p.m. match on Sunday against the Drake Bulldogs. Last weekend, the team started the season by splitting a pair of matches at the Holiday Inn City Centre Classic in Peoria, Ill.
Looking at the Blue Demons: DePaul returns 17 players and eight starters... 15 of the student-athletes are either sophomores or freshmen... John Partyka is the top returning scorer with eight points on three goals and two assists in 2004... Partyka and Brian Visser were named to the Holiday Inn City Centre Classic All-Tournament team... the Blue Demons played in eight overtime matches in 2004 and 12 games were decided by one goal... Luke Rojo returns after missing last season with an injury... he is tied for 13th all-time with 34 points on 13 goals and 10 assists... head coach Craig Blazer is in his fifth season at DePaul.
Outstanding in the Classroom: Prior to the start of the season the Blue Demons were awarded the Conference USA Sport Academic Award for having the highest team GPA during the 2004-05 academic year. It marks the second time in the last three years that the men’s soccer team earned the honor. The Blue Demons totaled a 3.13 team GPA last year and earned the honor following the 2002 season with a GPA of 3.14.
Noting Saint Francis: Saint Francis enters the weekend at 0-2 after dropping matches against Northern Illinois and Northwestern last wekeend at the Lakeside Classic in Evanston, Ill. The Red Flash were picked to finish third in the preseason Northeast Conference poll after going 10-6-3 in 2004. Scott Thompson is the top returning scorer after totaling 13 points on five goals and three assists a year ago. Head coach B.J. Craig is in his third season leading Saint Francis.
Checking Out Drake: The Bulldogs stand at 0-1-1 after a 3-3 tie with UW-Milwaukee and a 2-1 overtime loss to Wisconsin at the Big Toe Invitational in Madison, Wis., last weekend. Drake returns nine starters from last season’s 9-8-1 team and was picked to finish fourth in the preseason Missouri Valley Conference poll. Jesse Baker leads the team early in the season with five points on two goals and an assist. Head coach Sean Holmes is in his eight season leading the Bulldogs. The Series: Drake has won nine of the 10 all-time meetings including a 1-0 decision last year in Des Moines.
Recapping Last Weekend: DePaul dropped the season-opener to host Bradley, 2-0, in the Holiday Inn City Centre Classic. The Blue Demons bounced back with a 1-0 victory over Western Illinois to claim third place in the tournament.
In the Friday opener, the Braves scored two first-half goals holding the Blue Demons scoreless. The home team outshot DePaul, 22-6, with Brian Visser totaling five saves in his collegiate debut in goal for the Blue Demons.
Saturday’s game saw Eric Hermosillo score his first collegiate goal midway through the second half for a 1-0 DePaul victory. Visser made a pair of saves in the match while the Blue Demons took 11 shots compared to 15 for the Leathernecks.
Visser and John Partyka were named to the Holiday Inn City Centre Classic All-Tournament team.
Preseason Picks: The Blue Demons were picked to finish eighth in the Red Division of the BIG EAST Preseason Poll. The BIG EAST Conference features a pair of eight-team divisions with the top 12 overall teams advancing to the league tournament. St. John’s was chosen as the favorite to win the Red Division while Connecticut earned the preseason nod from the coaches for the eight-team Blue Division
Leaving a Mark: To close out DePaul’s run in Conference USA, John Kornfeld accomplished something just one player in a Blue Demon uniform managed. Kornfeld was named to the league’s All-Freshman team and picked up third team All-CUSA honors last year. A DePaul freshman was named to the C-USA All-Freshman team on seven occasions, including three times in the last five seasons, but only Kevin Bateman in 1995, was also named to one of the league’s three All-Conference teams. Both Kornfeld and Bateman picked up third team honors in addition to the All-Freshman recognition.
Record Book Watch: DePaul senior Luke Rojo is closing in on the all-time top 10 scoring list. Rojo, who missed last season with an injury, has totaled 34 points on 12 goals and 10 assists. He needs 11 points to pass 10th-ranked Dusan Colakovic and tie Shane Hudson for ninth all-time. On the goals chart, Rojo needs 10 goals to move into a tie for sixth and four more assists to tie the fifth spot all-time. The senior has played in 54 career matches.
Looking Forward: DePaul opens BIG EAST play next weekend with Georgetown and Seton Hall venturing to Wish Field. The Hoyas clash with DePaul on Friday, Sept. 16 to start Alumni Weekend. Sunday afternoon has a soccer doubleheader to highlight the Wish Field rededication with the men taking on Seton Hall at 12:30 p.m. followed by the DePaul women taking on Central Michigan.