Blazer's Message: Go Out and Have Fun
Oct. 26, 2010
CHICAGO - Craig Blazer has a message for his soccer players.
Forget about the numbers, the wins and losses, the BIG EAST Conference playoff race.
Just go out and have some fun.
The DePaul soccer coach is looking to alleviate some of the stress from a tough season when the Blue Demons take on Cincinnati Wednesday in the final game at Wish Field at Cacciatore Stadium.
Despite a 0-5-2 record and two points in the BIG EAST, DePaul (3-9-4 overall) is just one point away from a playoff spot in the Red Division.
Syracuse (three points) is home against No. 2 Louisville on Wednesday while Rutgers (three points) has a tough assignment playing at USF.
"We know we're still in the playoff race, but it's going to be tough," Blazer said. "Maybe we're pressing too hard. We want them to bring the energy, have fun and just play.
"Even though we're going through a rough stretch (0-6-3 the last nine games), enjoy your teammates and enjoy the experience of playing Division I college soccer in the BIG EAST."
What Blazer and his coaching staff are searching for is a difference-maker to reverse the Blue Demons' fortunes.
At the top of their list is Alex Mangan, DePaul's leading scorer who is tied for sixth in the BIG EAST with six goals.
"Alex could be the guy." Blazer said, recalling how Mangan's late goal last Wednesday tied Louisville and forced two overtimes where the Cardinals prevailed 2-1.
"We're asking everyone to do a little bit more," Blazer said. "Such a collective effort could be just what we need."
Mangan and Antonio Aguilar (four goals) have 10 of DePaul's 12 goals and have racked up 24 of the team's 34 points.
"We're asking for someone other than Mangan and Aguilar to get on the scoring sheet," Blazer said. "Austin Toth made a big difference, scoring that goal in the 1-1 tie with Providence (on Oct. 16).
"He stepped up and gave us a chance to win that game. We need more plays like that."
Cincinnati (6-4-5, 4-1-2) comes into Wish Field tied with Villanova for second in the Red Division.
The physical Bearcats lead the BIG EAST in fouls with 262 and are sixth in the conference in shots with 218. They have outshot teams 111-77 in the second half.
Cincinnati, which has only scored one more goal than DePaul, is led by Matt Bahner with six goals and three assists. Nick Weightman has three goals and two assists.
If the Blue Demons remain in the playoff hunt, Saturday's showdown at Rutgers could help determine the final playoff qualifier.
Rutgers (4-9-1, 1-6-0) had lost eight in a row before last Saturday's 3-0 home victory over Syracuse.
The Scarlet Knights have been outscored 19-12 and opponents have a 79-60 advantage in shots on goal,
"Everyone on the team has to take some responsibility," Blazer said. "But at the same time, you still have to enjoy being on the team and competing.
"Just stay together, play hard for each other---and the results will come."