Men's Soccer Faces Ramblers and Orange
CHICAGO - The Blue Demons play the final non-conference match of the regular season against Loyola-Chicago before stepping into the final stretch of conference games at Syracuse on Saturday. DePaul is unbeaten in its last four games (3-0-1), including consecutive wins last week over No. 11/10 USF and Cincinnati. Wednesday’s game against the Ramblers also concludes a three-match homestand with Saturday’s match at Syracuse starting a regular-season schedule-ending run of two road games and a pair of home contests.
DePaul stands at 4-2-1 in league play and is the defending BIG EAST Red Division champions. The four BIG EAST victories and a tie give the Blue Demons 13 points in the division standings and put them in a tie for third with Louisville. Loyola is 8-2-1 overall and 3-1-0 in the Horizon League. The Ramblers are tied for 10th in this week’s NSCAA/adidas Great Lakes Region rankings. Syracuse stands at 5-4-3 overall and 2-4-1 in BIG EAST action. With seven points, the Orange is seventh in the Red Division standings. DePaul is 5-4-3 overall and hosts Red Division leader St. John’s on Oct. 25 before traveling to Louisville on Oct. 29. The regular-season concludes with an Oct. 29 game at Louisville followed by a home match against Villanova on Nov. 1.
Honors Times Three: Following a combined two game-winning goals and an assists in wins over USF and Cincinnati, junior forward Steffen Vroom earned BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week honors and was named to the Team of the Week by both Soccer America and CollegeSoccerNews.com Vroom scored the game-winner in the 69th minute to lead DePaul over No. 11/10 USF on Oct. 7 before assisting the first goal and scoring the second in the 42nd minute on Oct. 11 in the 2-1 victory over the Bearcats. Vroom leads the BIG EAST with four game-winning goals this season and all six of his career goals have been difference-makers in DePaul victories. The BIG EAST honor is a first and the two Team of the Week selection mark the second time in his career that he has been named to both of the weekly national teams. He was named to the Team of the Week by Soccer America and CollegeSoccerNews.com in 2007 after scoring the game-winning goal in DePaul’s win over Cincinnati in the BIG EAST Championship First Round.
Noting the Blue Demons: DePaul is now 4-0-3 in the last seven overtime matches dating back to last season... the Blue Demons have won their last three games against ranked opponents at Wish Field... the four-match unbeaten streak (3-0-1) is the longest since DePaul won the first four games of 2007... all six of Steffen Vroom’s career goals have been game-winners... Alex Mangan has scored 12 goals in 36 career matches... eight of his 12 career goals have been game-winners... he is tied for 19th all-time with 25 points (12G/1A)... in 67 career matches, Brian Visser has played in 6,153 of a possible 6,371 minutes in the net... his totals account for just under 97 percent of the minutes played in goal in the last three-plus seasons... his next shutout will be the 25th of his career... DePaul is 30-17-6 in the last six-plus seasons at Wish Field.
BIG EAST Improvement: DePaul has improved in each of its three BIG EAST campaigns. The 2005 squad totaled seven points on a 2-8-1 record before the 2006 team finished sixth in the Red Division with 12 points on a 4-7-0 record. A year ago, the Blue Demons were picked to finish eighth in the preseason coaches poll and surprised the entire BIG EAST by winning the Red Division with 21 points and a 7-4-0 league record.
Through seven games in 2008, the fourth year with BIG EAST membership, DePaul is 4-2-1 for 13 points and a tie for third in the Red Division standings.
Checking on Loyola: The Ramblers enter Wednesday’s game tied for 10th in this week’s NSCAA/adidas Great Lakes Region poll... Loyola is 8-2-1 overall and 3-1-0 in the Horizon League standings... they knocked off Bradley, 3-0, on Oct. 11 and enter the match with a four-game winning streak... Eric Gehrig (4G/2A) and Keum Sung Kim (3G/4A) lead the club with 10 points each... head coach Brendan Eitz is in his fourth season at Loyola. The Series: The Ramblers lead the series, 16-10-1... Loyola posted a 3-0 win over DePaul at Loyola Soccer Park last season.
Orange Outlook: Syracuse stands at 5-4-3 overall and 2-4-1 in BIG EAST play... the Orange is seventh in the Red Division standings with seven points... they lost to Rutgers, 3-2, in overtime on Oct. 11... Kyle Hall leads the team with 10 points on four goals and two assists... head coach Dean Foti is in his 18th season at Syracuse. The Series: DePaul holds a 2-1-0 advantage in the series... all three games have been decided by a 1-0 score... Alex Mangan scored at 109:32 last season at Wish Field for the Blue Demon win.
Marquette Invitational Recap: The Blue Demons finished second in the four-team Marquette Invitational with three players earning All-Tournament Team recognition. DePaul’s 1-1-0 record for three points was second to Penn with four points (1-0-1). Willy Lara, John Kornfeld and Steffen Vroom were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Steffen Vroom scored in the 23rd minute against Columbia to lead DePaul past the Lions, 1-0. The Blue Demons outshot Columbia, 13-5, while Brian Visser was credited with one save in the shutouts. DePaul followed the win with a 2-0 loss to Penn. The Blue Demons had chances as Penn was able to thwart a penalty kick opportunity in the 63rd minute and a DePaul shot hit the crossbar in the 78th minute. DePaul outshot the Quakers, 12-7, and held a 7-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Preseason Picks: The Blue Demons were picked to finish fourth, and picked up two first-place votes, in the Red Division by the league’s 16 coaches. Connecticut was selected to win the Blue Division while USF was picked as the Red Division preseason favorite. O’Brian White from Connecticut was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year while USF’s Yohance Marshall received the Defensive Player of the Year nod and DePaul’s Brian Visser was the pick for preseason Goalkeeper of the Year. Visser is the first DePaul player to be named a conference player of the year honoree.
Blazer In Eighth Season: Head coach Craig Blazer is in his eighth season with DePaul. He holds a career record of 45-81-14 in his seven-plus seasons. In the last six-plus years under Blazer, the Blue Demons have posted a 28-17-6 record at Wish Field. Last season the Blue Demons went a program-best 9-1-0 at Wish Field with wins over No. 2 Connecticut and No. 21 Louisville.
2008 BIG EAST Championship: The semifinals and championship of the 2007 BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Championship will take place in Tampa, Fla., on the campus of the University of South Florida on Nov. 14 and 16. The first round and quarterfinal matches will be hosted by the higher-seeded team on Nov. 5 and Nov. 8. The champion receives the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship.
Wish Field Openers: DePaul’s season-opening match at home against Valparaiso marked the second straight year beginning the season at Wish Field, but just the second time overall since the 2004 campaign. Since 2000, Sunday’s match was just the third home game to begin a season. The Blue Demons started the 2004 season with a 2-0 win over Loyola-Chicago at Wish Field. A year ago, DePaul opened the season with a 2-0 victory against Jacksonville at Wish Field.
DePaul hosts nine matches at Wish Field this season after posting a school-record 9-1-0 mark last year. The Blue Demons defended the home turf in dominating fashion as they allowed just three goals in the 10 home matches and scored a total of 13 times. A 1-0 win over No. 2 Connecticut highlighted the home-field slate in 2007 while DePaul also dispatched No. 21 Louisville in Lincoln Park.