DePaul Looks to Keep Momentum Going Against Eastern Illinois
Sept. 24, 2013
CHICAGO - If the Blue Demons come out with a sense of urgency on Wednesday, there's a good chance they'll come away with a result to their liking.
DePaul will carry a little momentum into its 3 p.m. match against Eastern Illinois at Wish Field with a tie and a win in the last two outings.
The scoreless, double-overtime tie at Drake and a 2-0 victory over SIU-Edwardsville were exactly what this team needed after three overtime losses.
"It's been a tough start with the overtime games," said stellar goalkeeper Eric Sorby who is second in the nation in saves. "You see what you're made of and where you are as a team. We picked each other up, kept training hard and last week was the reward.
"We're developing a mentality that going into overtime no matter whether we've won, lost or tied in the past---we believe we are going to win. We don't want to just be in a game. We want to win."
Key contributions from a number of players have enabled DePaul (2-4-1) to gather a head of steam. It begins with Sorby who has been nothing short of sensational between the pipes with 27 saves in the last three games.
Koray Yesilli and Jalen Harvey have anchored the back line with Yesilli doing a terrific job last Saturday containing SIU-Edwardsville's most dangerous scoring threat. Michael Stankiewicz and Erik Rodriguez came through with big offensive performances.
Kyle Gustafson, Jake Douglas and Jake Rawlings stepped up when called upon. Joe Brinckwirth and Thiago Ganancio continued applying pressure up top. Anthony Hunter is playing with increased confidence, and his speed on the outside is a constant threat.
"These guys know they can defend and also create scoring opportunities," said DePaul coach Craig Blazer. "The biggest key to these last two games is all about being in control of a match."
Maintaining control has resulted in back-to-back shutouts and a 200-minute scoreless streak for Sorby.
Eastern Illinois (0-5-1) will be looking for its first win behind Garet Christianson (three goals), Jake Brillhart (two goals, four assists) and Jake Plant (two goals, three assists).
The Panthers have scored 12 goals in six matches but also given up 21 goals. Opponents have a 55-28 advantage in shots on goal and a 111-76 edge in shots.
"The biggest thing at training this week is stressing a return to the fundamentals and emphasizing that we get a little better every day," Blazer said. "The performance against SIU-E was as good as we've played all year.
"But at the same time, we also feel that we can play even better. Our guys have that bit of confidence now, and we are very excited for Wednesday's game."
Following the Eastern Illinois match, DePaul will open its BIG EAST Conference season Saturday at Wish Field against No. 9/7 St. John's (5-2-0). Sean Sepe has three goals for the Red Storm and Jimmy Mulligan has two. Standout goalkeeper Rafael Diaz sports a 0.68 goals-against average.
"We're really looking forward to Wednesday's game while also realizing the next phase of our season---the BIG EAST---is upon us," Blazer said. "We are anticipating the challenges of qualifying for the BIG EAST Championship and finding a way to get home-field advantage for the playoffs."