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It's Plotkin vs. Plotkin as DePaul Renews Rivalry at Loyola
DePaul's Mark Plotkin will oppose his older brother, Loyola assisant coach Brian Plotkin, for the first time in their soccer careers.

DePaul's Mark Plotkin will oppose his older brother, Loyola assisant coach Brian Plotkin, for the first time in their soccer careers.

Oct. 1, 2013

CHICAGO – There’s going to be a little bit of a family feud going on at 7 p.m. Wednesday when DePaul takes the pitch for a nonconference matchup at Loyola Soccer Park.

For the first time in their athletic careers, DePaul assistant coach Mark Plotkin and Loyola assistant coach Brian Plotkin will go head-to-head.

“This is the first time we have ever faced each other in anything,” said Mark Plotkin who was a standout midfielder at DePaul and helped lead the Blue Demons to consecutive appearances in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals. “Going against each other is going to be fun because we’re both so competitive.”

Brian Plotkin is four years older and was an All-American at Indiana and led the Hoosiers to back-to-back NCAA titles in 2003 and 2004. He was a Hermann Trophy runner-up who was the 20th overall pick in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft and played three seasons with the Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew.

“There’s also a ton of respect between the two of us,” Mark Plotkin said. “We always check in with each other after games. This will be the only time I hope he doesn’t do well.

“He was my role model and idol growing up. I did my best to try and play like him.”

Mark Plotkin and DePaul (3-4-2) will be looking to extend their current four-game unbeaten streak while the Ramblers will be out to snap a three-game losing streak.

Ever since a scoreless tie at Drake on Sept. 17, the Blue Demons have outscored their opposition 8-3. They are doing it with a balanced attack as six players (Michael Stankiewicz, Art Garza, Anthony Hunter, Pat Flynn, Jalen Harvey and Brandon Loncar) have two goals apiece. Joe Brinckwirth, Erik Rodriguez, Koray Yesilli and Jake Rawlings have each scored once. DePaul is No. 25 in the nation in total goals.

At the other end of the field, goalkeeper Eric Sorby enters the week fifth in the nation in saves with 54 and has done a remarkable job keeping the Blue Demons in games.

“Our guys are starting to understand their roles and becoming better soccer players,” said DePaul coach Craig Blazer. “Our scoring balance comes from working hard at recruiting and developing players. We have a really talented freshman class, and the older players are making solid contributions.

“Everybody is playing their role, and the group is really excited about each game. They are starting to understand how important everything is that we do and starting to come together. There are a lot of challenges ahead, and the guys are ready for them.”

Loyola (3-4-0) is led by its one-two scoring combo of Eric Nock and Brian Bement who have scored four goals apiece and eight of the nine Rambler goals. Nock also has two of the team’s four assists.

On the season, the Ramblers have been outscored 14-9, outshot 104-74 and opponents have a 45-29 advantage in shots on goal. In the Blazer era, DePaul holds a 7-3-2 edge in the Red Line Rivalry.

Blazer believes his players have gained confidence while navigating their way through a difficult schedule. The Blue Demons have played three Top 25 teams with overtime losses to Northwestern and Wisconsin and a 2-2 tie against No. 9/7 St. John’s.

After the Loyola match, it’s back to the rugged BIG EAST with a 6 p.m. match Saturday at No. 16/17 Butler (7-1-1). Other Top 25 challenges remaining on the BIG EAST schedule are road games at No. 11/7 Georgetown (6-2-1) and No. 4/6 Creighton (5-1-2).

Butler has won three in a row and is led by David Goldsmith with seven goals and two assists. Zach Steinberger has four goals and three assists while Jeff Adkins leads his team with five assists. The Bulldogs have outscored opponents 18-9.

“We always have something to prove, and we’ll definitely be prepared for Wednesday’s match at Loyola,” Blazer said. “After that, Butler is a great team and is having a lot of success this season.

“Our team is gaining confidence, and our players know they still have a lot of work ahead of them to get to the BIG EAST tournament."