DePaul Ready to Tackle No. 5/4 Creighton
Sept. 9, 2011
CHICAGO - Craig Blazer wants his soccer players to put up a fight Sunday against one of the best teams in the nation.
The Blue Demon coach realizes DePaul will need to be at its overachieving best when No. 5/4 Creighton comes to Wish Field for a 3 p.m. match.
Preceding this showdown, the DePaul women's team will face Minnesota at noon.
"You have to be ready to fight first before you can play soccer," Blazer said. "Face your confrontation first and earn the right to play.
"It's all about having the inner courage to compete and the confidence to show that on game day. Force the other team to use all their athleticism and ability.
"They know they're in a game."
Creighton (3-0-0) opened the season with three consecutive shutouts while outscoring opponents 9-0. Preseason All-American forward Ethan Finlay already has two goals and three assists racking up 15 goals in 2010.
The Bluejays defense is headed by preseason All-American defender Tyler Polak and goalkeeper Brian Holt who has 30 shutouts in his career.
"Individually, Creighton has speed, technical ability and lots of athleticism," Blazer said. "Collectively, this team is very dynamic scoring goals. It's a program that did well last year (second round of NCAA tournament) and has continued its winning ways this season."
After a disappointing 2-0 loss to Illinois-Chicago Sept. 1 at Toyota Park, Blazer said his team made some positive strides in last Sunday's 2-1 loss to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
"You can see that the offensive and defensive ideas are coming together," Blazer said. "Teams are taking away our strengths and we have to find other ways to be successful offensively.
"Our team was in control for much of the SIU-Edwardsville game, and that was a marked improvement from the UIC game. "We had some players who were more consistent and some who made mistakes.
"Overall, we need our starting 11 and the subs off the bench to maintain a higher level of consistency."
Creighton will be among the highest-rated teams the Blue Demons will face this season along with No. 7/2 Louisville and No. 11/8 USF.
"Yes, Creighton is a big challenge---but every game is a challenge," Blazer said. "This is why soccer players come to DePaul. "They want to play in the BIG EAST Conference and also face some of the country's best teams."
Creighton looks to be a formidable opponent.
"Our team will need to be to be organized defensively against Creighton while eliminating shots and goal-scoring opportunities," Blazer said. "Offensively, we'll measure our improvement by how we maintain possession and create good scoring chances.
"There's so much potential with this group. You can see we have a tremendous amount of room for growth."
Blue Demon Quick Kicks
Sunday is Soccer Alumni Day beginning with the Alumni Game at 9 a.m. at Wish Field.
More than 40 men's and women's soccer alumni are expected to participate in the Alumni Day festivities. All soccer alumni will be recognized at halftime of the women's and men's games.
Aguilar is second in the BIG EAST Conference in points with seven.
Aguilar is tied for second in the BIG EAST in goals with three.
Goalkeeper Joe Ferrari is second in the BIG EAST in saves per game (five) and fifth in overall saves with 10
DePaul has outshot its opponents 42-36.
The Blue Demons have 16 shots on goal while opponents have 17.
Aguilar leads the team with three goals and one assist.
Aguilar leads DePaul with 11 shots and five shots on goal.
David Selvaggi has launched seven shots while Ganancio has taken six.
Opponents have a 21-9 advantage in corner kicks.
Creighton has outshot its opponents 44-26 and has 23 shots on goal to nine for the opposition.
After facing the Bluejays, the Blue Demons head north up Lake Shore Drive on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. match against North Side rival Loyola-Chicago at Loyola Soccer Park.