Blue Demons are Ready for Redemption
CHICAGO - The Blue Demons were certainly looking forward to setting foot on the Gettler Stadium turf for Wednesday night's BIG EAST Conference soccer matchup at Cincinnati.
The next game can't come quick enough when you're trying to erase the memory of last Saturday's 6-0 loss to Louisville.
"It's good we're playing earlier in the week," said DePaul coach Craig Blazer. "You wouldn't want to spend an entire week thinking about the Louisville game."
No one on the team felt worse than senior captain Patrick Hopkins, the linchpin of DePaul's defense.
"I was embarrassed and humiliated," Hopkins said about the worst defeat since Aug. 21, 2002 when DePaul fell 6-0 at No. 15 Portland. "It was a complete aberration of what this team is capable of doing.
"As the leader of the defense, I was embarrassed---especially for myself. Making it difficult to score is something I pride myself on. Louisville made it look so easy. They had answers for everything we did."
This was the only time in 10 matches the Blue Demons have been dominated as Louisville outshot them 13-3 and scored four goals in a 16-minute span during the first half.
"Louisville is a great team, and every shot they took on Saturday was perfect," Hopkins said. "It seemed like every bounce they needed, they got it inside the box."
Blazer is confident his team will bounce back against the Bearcats.
"The tactical mistakes we made that led to the goals are very correctable, and we have addressed them," Blazer said. "Other teams have these kinds of results that aren't necessarily a reflection of that team.
"Notre Dame beat Louisville 4-0. We didn't get too high after beating Buffalo 5-1 and we won't get too low about losing 6-0.
"Cincinnati is a good team that will play a lot like Louisville---a direct team. They will pose the same sort of challenges to our team that Louisville did.
"It's up to us to respond."
Cincinnati (7-4-0, 2-3-0 in the BIG EAST) is led by Nick Weightman (10 points), Branden Stelmak (10 points) and Mark Konitsch (eight points) who have each scored three goals.
The Bearcats have outscored their opponents 19-11, own a 21-10 advantage in assists and have outpointed their opposition 59-32. They are 5-2-0 at Gettler Stadium.
DePaul (5-5-0, 2-3-0) is back at Wish Field on Saturday to face Rutgers (5-4-0, 3-2-0), which has a winning record despite being outscored 17-11 and outpointed 49-32.
The Scarlet Knights have been shut out four times this season, including a 2-0 loss to Georgetown and a 3-0 defeat to Syracuse in their last two matches. Yannick Salmon and Ibrahim Kamara lead Rutgers with four goals apiece.
Should the Blue Demons retreat into a more defensive posture for this week's matches?
"To shrink back after the Louisville game would be the completely wrong reaction," Hopkins said. "That would not show our true character.
"This team has a ton of heart with kids willing to fight. If we shrunk back and stopped playing our style, that would be the wrong move.
"That would not show anyone what we're capable of doing."