Blue Demons Looking for Big Bounce Back Against Milwaukee
Sept. 12, 2013
CHICAGO – DePaul will get another chance to put its resiliency on display with a tough challenge at 4 p.m. Friday against unbeaten Milwaukee at Wish Field.
The Blue Demons are ready to bounce right back from an overtime loss at Wisconsin last Sunday in which they led 2-1 until the Badgers scored in the final second of regulation time.
On Labor Day, DePaul fell to then No. 19/22 Northwestern in the final seconds of double overtime. But four days later, the Blue Demons rebounded nicely with a 3-1 victory at Illinois-Chicago.
DePaul coach Craig Blazer is counting on that same kind of comeback attitude against the formidable Panthers.
“What we have learned in recent games is that this team has a foundation built around our guys’ coach-ability and toughness,” Blazer said. “They have demonstrated a resiliency and an ability to bounce back after a tough match.
“Our players realize they have to continue getting better every day. They believe in themselves and are doing a good job of working hard to improve. The picture keeps getting clearer and clearer.
“Our group did well with back-to-back road games against two good programs in UIC and Wisconsin. They had a tough result against Northwestern and came right back out ready for the next game.”
There is only so much a coaching staff can do with technique and fundamentals. Repetition and training can improve timing and the manner in which backs connect to midfielders and midfielders connect to forwards.
But there are certain intangibles that are beyond a coach’s reach. The Blue Demons have been exhibiting some of those qualities in the early season.
“These guys know they have room for improvement, and they are willing to learn and be coached,” Blazer said. “There are no excuses.
“Our eight academic seniors are showing good leadership, and the rest of the team is doing its part. We are utilizing a number of players, and the guys know they will have an opportunity to contribute.”
Milwaukee (2-0-1) opened the season with a 2-1 upset of then-No. 12 Marquette. The Panthers continued a three-match home stand with a 1-1 tie against Drake and a 2-0 victory over Bowling Green.
The Marquette win attracted some national attention. The Panthers are No. 7 in this week’s NSCAA regional poll and are receiving votes in the College Soccer News poll. Beating Marquette was the first win over a ranked team since beating No. 22 Northern Illinois in 2005.
Laurie Bell leads Milwaukee with two goals and one assist. Former Blue Demon Austin Toth has one goal. Goalkeeper Liam Anderson has given up two goals in three matches.
The Blue Demons are looking forward to their next challenge.
“They are ready to keep coming out and having fun with this thing,” Blazer said. “They are working hard to keep getting better for each other.
“This is a good group of friends who want to have a special season. Speaking for myself and the rest of the coaching staff, it’s a pleasure to work with these guys."