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Huge Challenge for DePaul in No. 11/11 USF
Austin Toth and the DePaul defense will be tested by No. 11/11 USF Wednesday night in Tampa, Fla.

Austin Toth and the DePaul defense will be tested by No. 11/11 USF Wednesday night in Tampa, Fla.

Oct. 11, 2011

CHICAGO – DePaul is playing its best soccer of the season---and just in time.

The Blue Demons are 3-1-1 over their last five matches heading into a 6:30 p.m. BIG EAST Conference showdown Wednesday against No. 11/11 USF in Tampa, Fla.

USF (7-2-2, 2-0-1 in the BIG EAST) has beaten four nationally ranked opponents in its last five games.

“USF is an outstanding team, and this is an opportunity for us to show our improvement,” said DePaul coach Craig Blazer. “We’re facing the challenge of playing on a huge field against a very strong team that’s in first place.

“By the same token, we have a chance to take advantage of playing on that big field. A lot of it comes down to defending properly.”

DePaul’s defense has taken an upturn with Eric Sorby at goalkeeper supported by a back line of Austin Toth, Kyle Gustafson, Brian Lunar and Curtis Weir.

“The improvement of our goalkeeping and the back four has made a big difference,” Blazer said. “Sorby has played well in goal, and he kept us in the Villanova game until we could get the tying goal.

“Our overall defending has improved, both individually and collectively. These guys understand now how much crazy energy and commitment it takes to be in a game.”

USF’s Dom Dwyer will be the primary focus of the Blue Demon defense on Wednesday night. The Bulls’ junior forward is the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week after scoring three goals last week, and leads the conference with 10 goals.

The Bulls top the BIG EAST with 21 goals while giving up 12, and Leston Paul has scored in three consecutive games.


 

 

DePaul (4-6-2, 1-1-1) will counter with the one-two punch of Antonio Aguilar (six goals) and David Selvaggi (five goals).

“We are learning how to stay in control of managing a game by eliminating mistakes offensively and defensively,” Blazer said. “It’s understanding what we do well and going back to that.

“We have gone back to the foundation of our program, and within that, we’re more in control of a game. The concentration levels are sharper and the breakdowns are fewer. We are not scrambling as much.

“If a mistake is made, it’s not resulting in a goal. There’s more cover. Other players are recognizing the situation and covering for each other. One problem isn’t becoming two problems.”

With such a young and inexperienced team, Blazer knew September would be full of growing pains.

“September was a feeling-out process with everybody getting an opportunity. In October, we know who we are and it’s all about executing.

"October is all about getting results and winning games.”

BLUE DEMON QUICK KICKS

• Aguilar was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll after putting up two goals and two assists last week.

• Aguilar is No. 34 in the country in total points and No. 36 in goals scored.

• Selvaggi is No. 69 in the nation in goals scored.

• Sorby is No. 58 in the country in save percentage and No. 59 in saves per game.

• Aguilar is second in the BIG EAST in shots and tied for second in goals and points.

• Aguilar is fourth in the BIG EAST in assists.

• Selvaggi is tied for seventh in the conference in goals and tied for 10th in points and shots.

• As a team, DePaul is second in the BIG EAST in saves and sixth in goals.

• Selvaggi has scored four times in the last six matches.

• Aguilar has three goals and two assists in the last five matches.

• DePaul has outscored its opponents 10-5 in its last five matches.

• The Blue Demons return home for a 1 p.m. matchup Saturday against Rutgers at Wish Field.