Aguilar, DePaul Cash in on a Golden Opportunity
CHICAGO - When Antonio Aguilar kicks his game into high gear, you might say he's as good as gold.
The unassuming freshman's late goal in regulation time and his game-winner in double overtime left the 5-foot, 7-inch forward breathless under a pile of celebratory teammates Sunday at Wish Field.
"It's an amazing feeling," Aguilar said about the 2-1 comeback victory over Marquette for DePaul's first BIG EAST Conference victory.
"My roommate Josh Magness was the first one to greet me after the overtime goal, and he just tackled me. Then, it seemed like the whole team had jumped on top of me.
"I was squished."
Marquette's Chris Madsen had scored in the 83rd minute for a 1-0 lead. Just 65 seconds later, Aguilar tallied his second goal of the season off a pass from Peter Sterbenz.
"The shot skipped off the wet turf and curved to the left," Aguilar said. "It gave our team a chance to go into overtime."
In the 108th minute, Nathan Feltz had penetrated deep into the right side of the Marquette defense off a pass from Andre Gutierrez when he was fouled.
"Feltzie did a good job setting up the penalty kick," said DePaul coach Craig Blazer. "I told Antonio to kick it in between the goalie and the right post. And I wanted him to curve it a little inward."
Aguilar's powerful left foot placed it perfectly beyond the reach of Golden Eagle goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski.
"Antonio is a special player," Blazer said about the Blue Demons' most elusive dribbler. "What he did today is defining our team and our whole season.
"He earned us our first win in the Big East and gave us three points (in the league standings)."
Aguilar's heroics helped take away some of the sting from Friday's tough 2-1 loss to No. 21 Notre Dame.
"I'll be honest---it was difficult to get that Notre Dame game behind us," Blazer said. "The guys had been really disappointed, but they came out today and showed a lot of resolve and composure."
All of that culminated in Aguilar's golden moment.
"I saw the goalie was a little out of line," Aguilar said. "He probably thought I was going to cross it. I just shot it over his head.
"I could tell it was going in. You could just see he wasn't going to get it.
"This will bring up our energy for the next game."
DePaul improved to 4-3-0 overall, 1-1-0 in the BIG EAST while Marquette fell to 1-4-1, 0-1-1 in the BIG EAST.
NOTES: Aguilar's pair of goals gives him three and a share of the team lead with Steffen Vroom... both forwards also have a team-high seven points along with Mark Plotkin, whose three assists tops the Blue Demons... Plotkin, Alex Mangan and Matt Leinauer each have two goals... in just seven games, DePaul's 14 goals already surpasses the total of 13 the Blue Demons scored in 20 games last season... Aguilar & Co. outshot the Golden Eagles 11-6 as Aguilar got off a team-high three shots.