DePaul Welcomes Xavier to Season's Inaugural Field Trip Day
Oct. 8, 2013
CHICAGO - DePaul kicks off its highly successful and popular 2013-14 Field Trip Day program at noon Wednesday at Wish Field when nearly 500 school children will be screaming for the Blue Demons in their BIG EAST Conference soccer match against Xavier.
Entering the eighth year of the Field Trip Day program, there have been a total of 83 elementary schools and more than 12,000 students who have participated over the last seven years.
Scheduled to attend on Wednesday are elementary schools Jane A. Neil, James B. McPherson, Eugene Field, John T. McCutcheon and the Hendricks Math/Science Academy.
"I don't know how many other universities do something like this, but we are fortunate that our athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto makes this all possible," said Dave Corzine, community outreach administrator for DePaul Athletics. "DePaul typically provides bus transportation and Blue Demon T-shirts for the school children.
"This has been an extremely popular event that began with women's basketball and later expanded to include volleyball, men's and women's soccer and softball. That allowed us to get an additional 1,600 students involved with the program. We typically bring in around 1,800-2,000 for a women's basketball game.
"It's primarily focused on Chicago Public Schools but also includes suburban and Catholic schools as well. The school kids absolutely love it, and many of them begin thinking about attending college someday."
Community service events such as Field Trip Day provide Blue Demon student-athletes with a greater perspective on their college lives.
"Throughout the year we do a lot of community service that really benefits our guys as much as the Chicago Public Schools system and other local organizations," said DePaul soccer coach Craig Blazer. "Being a part of Chicago and its communities is something we really embrace.
"Field Trip Day is a very special event for us. We bring in a lot of young students, and a lot of times this is the only chance they have to be on a college campus and experience a college soccer game. It gives them a little taste of what college is all about.
"It's definitely important for us to give back to the community. You're not only playing for your teammates and coaches, but you're also playing for the crowd. It's a fun and exciting way to try and help grow the game of college soccer."
DePaul (4-5-2, 0-1-1 in the BIG EAST) will face a Xavier team with the same overall record that is 0-2-2 in conference. The Musketeers have been outscored 13-11, outshot 135-85 and opponents hold a 51-36 advantage in shots on goal.
Xavier's attack is headed by a pair of brothers as Matt Walker has three goals and five assists while younger brother Will Walker has two goals and two assists. After defeating Pittsburgh 2-1 on the road last week, the Musketeers went to Omaha, Neb. and fell 2-0 to No. 4/6 Creighton.
The Blue Demons had a five-game unbeaten streak snapped last Saturday in a 2-0 loss at No. 16/17 Butler. DePaul goalkeeper Eric Sorby comes into Wednesday's match No. 5 in the nation and No. 1 in the BIG EAST in saves. The Blue Demons are No. 28 in the nation in total goals as seven different players have each scored twice.
After Wednesday's match, DePaul returns to Wish Field for a 1 p.m. showdown Saturday against BIG EAST adversary No. 25/23 Providence (7-1-2, 2-0-0). The Friars have outscored their opponents 17-11, outshot them 149-94 and have a 61-35 lead in shots on goal.
Julian Gressel leads Providence with four goals and one assist while BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week Anthony Baumann has two goals and two assists.
"As challenging as the nonconference season was---after two conference games our younger players are starting to realize how exciting it is to compete in the BIG EAST," Blazer said. "With all the intensity of these games, there's little room for error. You have got to be prepared."