Blue Demons Host Crusaders at Wish Field
DePaul vs. Valparaiso
CHICAGO - The DePaul men’s soccer team, ranked No. 10 in the Great Lakes Region, host the Valparaiso Crusaders on Friday afternoon at Wish Field. DePaul is 3-0-0 to match the best start since the 1997 squad opened the campaign at 3-0-0. Valparaiso is the fourth straight opponent at Wish Field to start the season as DePaul concludes the season-opening six-game homestand against Providence and Connecticut next weekend.
Stingy Defense Puts DePaul in Elite Company: With the first edition of the NCAA stats out this week, the Blue Demons are just one of six teams nationally to not allow a goal this season. Joining DePaul is Binghamton, Cal Poly, Holy Cross, UC Irvine and Wofford.
Noting the Blue Demons: The Blue Demons opened the season at 3-0-0 for the first time since the start of the 1997 season... DePaul returns 21 players from last season’s team that qualified for the 2006 BIG EAST Championship... the 2006 tournament appearance was the first for DePaul since the 1998 Conference USA Tournament... DePaul looks to continue the program’s improvement in BIG EAST play as the 2005 squad totaled seven points on a 2-8-1 record before last season’s team finished sixth in the Red Division with 12 points on a 4-7-0 record... after playing in 18 of 19 games last season with nine of the 11 starters as freshmen and sophomores, the Blue Demons return 10 starters this year... Alex Mangan has scored eight goals in 18 career matches... Brian Visser tallied his 10th career shutout against Xavier on Sept. 9 to tie Terry Paulus (1983-84) for DePaul’s career record... in 38 career matches, he has played in 3,547 of a possible 3,677 minutes in the net... his totals account for just under 97 percent of the minutes played in goal in the last two-plus seasons... Visser’s three straight shutouts to start the 2007 season ties a single-season record held by four other goalkeepers... Julian Chill needs four assists to move into the program’s all-time top five in career helpers... DePaul is now 22-16-5 in the last five-plus seasons at Wish Field.
Deuces Wild: DePaul has posted three consecutive wins by a score of 2-0. The Blue Demons have shutout Jacksonville, UW-Green Bay and Xavier while scoring twice in each match. Additionally, DePaul also won a pair of exhibition matches over Northern Illinois and Western Michigan by the score of 2-0 in each match.
Vroom and Hopkins Named to BIG EAST Honor Roll: In the first two weeks of the season, a DePaul sophomore has been named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll. Steffen Vroom was named list following the win over Jacksonville while Patrick Hopkins was selected after wins over UW-Green Bay and Xavier.
Wish Field Openers a Rarity: DePaul’s season-opening match at home against Jacksonville was just the second time the Blue Demons have started the season on Wish Field since the 2004 campaign. Since 2000, the match was just the second home game to begin a season. The Blue Demons started the 2004 season with a 2-0 win over Loyola-Chicago at Wish Field. A year ago, DePaul opened the season with a 2-1 defeat at Valparaiso.
Blazer Begins Seventh Season: Head coach Craig Blazer is in his seventh season with DePaul. In the last five-plus years under Blazer, the Blue Demons have posted a 22-16-5 record at Wish Field. Last season the Blue Demons went 3-6-0 at Wish Field with wins over No. 11 USF and St. John’s.
Valparaiso Preview: The Crusaders are 1-3-0 entering this weekend’s action... Valparaiso knocked off IPFW on Sept. 7 after opening the season with a pair of losses to N.C. State and Duke in the Wolfpack Classic... they lost at Evansville, 4-0, in their last match on Sept. 9... the Crusaders have been outscored, 8-4, in their four matches this season... they were picked to finish ninth in the preseason Horizon League poll... head coach Mike Avery is in his first season with the Crusaders. The Series: DePaul leads the series, 10-6-3... Valparaiso knocked off DePaul, 2-0, in the last meeting on Aug. 25, 2006.
Preseason Picks: The Blue Demons were picked to finish eighth in the Red Division by the league’s 16 coaches. DePaul was picked to finish eighth in 2006 before placing sixth and advancing to the BIG EAST Championship. Connecticut was selected to win the Blue Division while St. John’s was picked as the Red Division preseason favorite.
2007 BIG EAST Championship: The semifinals and championship of the 2007 BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Championship will take place in Storrs, Conn., on the campus of the University of Connecticut. The first round and quarterfinal matches will be hosted by the higher-seeded team on Nov. 7 and Nov. 10. The champion receives the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship.