DePaul Finishes Regular Season
DePaul at Loyola-Chicago
DePaul vs. Syracuse
CHICAGO - With the regular season winding down and teams jockeying for BIG EAST Championship berths and seeds, the DePaul men’s soccer team steps out of conference play for a Wednesday night game at Loyola-Chicago before hosting Syracuse in the regular-season finale on Saturday. Both games are pivotal as DePaul tries to position itself for postseason play.
The Blue Demons sit in second place in the BIG EAST’s Red Division after knocking off Louisville and St. John’s last week. DePaul is 10-5-0 overall, 6-4-0 in BIG EAST play and tied for fifth in the NSCAA/adidas Great Lakes Region rankings. Loyola is ranked 10th in the region with a 9-3-4 overall record and 5-0-2 mark in Horizon League action. The Orange are 6-6-4 overall and 3-6-0 in BIG EAST play.
The Blue Demons have locked up a first-round bye by claiming a top four spot in the division standings. Should DePaul finish first or second in the division, they will earn a first-round by and host a quarterfinal match on Saturday, Nov. 10. A third or fourth-place finish has the Blue Demons hosting a first-round match at Wish Field on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
Just three points separate the top four teams in the Red Division with Louisville in first place with 19 points followed by DePaul. St. John’s stands in third with 17 points and USF is in fourth with 16 points. St. John’s travels to Syracuse on Wednesday and USF on Saturday. Other Saturday matches involving the top four teams include Syracuse at DePaul and Louisville at Villanova.
A Season of Firsts: The 2007 campaign has seen a number of program firsts for the DePaul men’s soccer team:
Visser Named BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week: Following wins over Louisville and St. John’s, the BIG EAST named Brian Visser BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week. Connecticut’s O’Brian White also led UConn to two wins, as he was selected BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week. The BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week honor was awarded to West Virginia’s Andrew Halsell, while Providence’s Nick Cianci was picked as BIG EAST Rookie of the Week.
Visser led DePaul to its two league wins over previous BIG EAST Red Division leaders Louisville and St. John’s. The junior keeper made two saves against Louisville, a 2-1 win on Oct. 24. Visser then made five saves at St. John’s in a 2-0 victory. He faced 13 overall attempts at the net, posting his eighth shutout of the season.
Patrick Hopkins was named to the honor roll after scoring both goals against Louisville and anchoring the DePaul defense in the shutout of St. John’s.
Noting the Blue Demons: DePaul’s 7-1-0 record at Wish Field is the program’s best home record... the Blue Demons are 3-0-0 in overtime matches this season... the 1-0 overtime victory at Pittsburgh on Sept. 30 was the first overtime win since a 2-1 victory against Marquette on Oct. 20, 2004... since the win over the Golden Eagles, the Blue Demons were 0-4-4 in matches with extra play... DePaul’s 1-0 win over No. 2/2 Connecticut on Sept. 23 marked the second straight win over a ranked team at Wish Field... DePaul defeated No. 16/11 USF last season by a 2-1 score... the Blue Demons opened the season at 4-0-0 for the first time in program history... DePaul returns 21 players from last season’s team that qualified for the 2006 BIG EAST Championship... the 2006 tournament appearance was the first for DePaul since the 1998 Conference USA Tournament... DePaul looks to continue the program’s improvement in BIG EAST play as the 2005 squad totaled seven points on a 2-8-1 record before last season’s team finished sixth in the Red Division with 12 points on a 4-7-0 record... after playing in 18 of 19 games last season with nine of the 11 starters as freshmen and sophomores, the Blue Demons return 10 starters this year... Alex Mangan has scored 11 goals in 30 career matches... four of his six goals this season have been game-winners... his goal at St. John’s on Oct. 27 moved him into a tie for 20th all-time with 23 points... Brian Visser tallied his 11th career shutout against Valparaiso on Sept. 14 to set a new career mark... he broke the previous record of 10 held by Terry Paulus (1983-84)... in 50 career matches, he has played in 4,546 of a possible 4,761 minutes in the net... his totals account for just over 95 percent of the minutes played in goal in the last two-plus seasons... Visser’s four straight shutouts to start the 2007 season is also a new single-season record for consecutive shutouts... Julian Chill moved into fifth all-time in career assists against Louisville on Oct. 24... he has totaled 15 assists in his career... DePaul is now 26-17-5 in the last five-plus seasons at Wish Field.
Last Defense Standing: Through the early portion of the 2007 schedule, the DePaul men’s soccer team stood as the only program in the nation to not allow a goal. The Blue Demons posted four straight shutouts to start the season over Jacksonville, UW-Green Bay, Xavier and Valparaiso. Providence ended the streak the with a 2-0 decision over the Blue Demons on Sept. 21. Shutouts is the theme of 2007 as each of DePaul’s nine games have been decided by a shutout.
Finishing the Tough Stretch: The Northwestern match marked the end of a five-game stretch that saw DePaul play three teams ranked in the top eight nationally. The 1-0 win over then-No. 2/2 Connecticut on Sept. 23 started the stretch followed by a 1-0 loss at then-No. 8/14 West Virginia. This week’s NSCAA/adidas poll sees Connecticut at No. 1, Northwestern at No. 12 and West Virginia at No. 20. The Soccer America top 25 has Connecticut at No. 3 followed by the Wildcats at No. 16 and the Mountaineers at No. 19. The Oct. 24th match win over Louisville marked the fifth ranked opponent in nine matches as the Cardinals were ranked No. 21 in the Soccer America poll. The Blue Demons also dropped a 2-0 match to USF on Oct. 16. The Bulls were ranked 22nd in the NSCAA/adidas poll.
Deuces Wild: DePaul opened the season by posting three consecutive wins by a score of 2-0. The Blue Demons blanked Jacksonville, UW-Green Bay and Xavier while scoring twice in each match. Additionally, DePaul also won a pair of exhibition matches over Northern Illinois and Western Michigan by the score of 2-0 in each match. Overall, four of the 11 regular-season matches have been decided by a 2-0 score. Providence defeated the Blue Demons by the two-goal margin of 2-0 on Sept. 21.
Vroom, Hopkins and Visser Named to BIG EAST Honor Roll: Five times this season a DePaul player has been named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll. Steffen Vroom was named list following the win over Jacksonville while Patrick Hopkins on two occasions this season. He picked up his first honor after wins over UW-Green Bay and Xavier and most recently after wins against Louisville and St. John’s. Brian Visser was named to the honor roll after leading the Blue Demons to a shutout of Valparaiso and also picked up honor roll honors after setting the season shutout record against Rutgers.
Wish Field Openers a Rarity: DePaul’s season-opening match at home against Jacksonville was just the second time the Blue Demons have started the season on Wish Field since the 2004 campaign. Since 2000, the match was just the second 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 2-1 defeat at Valparaiso.
Blazer In Seventh Season: Head coach Craig Blazer is in his seventh season with DePaul. In the last five-plus years under Blazer, the Blue Demons have posted a 26-17-5 record at Wish Field. Last season the Blue Demons went 3-6-0 at Wish Field with wins over No. 11 USF and St. John’s.
Checking on Loyola: The Ramblers are 9-3-4 overall and 5-0-2 in Horizon League play... the Ramblers are 5-0-2 on their current seven-match unbeaten streak including a 1-1 tie against Denver on Oct. 27... Michael Ferguson leads the squad with 29 points on 14 goals and one assist... head coach Brendan Eitz is in his third season at Loyola. The Series: Wednesday is the 27th all-time meeting between the two programs... the Ramblers hold a 15-10-1 advantage with DePaul taking four victories in the last six meetings... last season saw the Blue Demons on the positive side of a 2-1 score at Wish Field on two goals by Alex Mangan.
Scouting Syracuse: The Orange is 6-6-4 overall and 3-6-0 in BIG EAST play... Syracuse hosts St. John’s on Wednesday night and needs to win its last two BIG EAST games for a chance to qualify for the league tournament... Hansen Woodruff leads the team with 24 points on 10 goals and four assists... Robert Cavicchia has played a majority of the minutes in the net and holds a 0.99 goals against average... head coach Dean Foti is in his 17th season at Syracuse. The Series: The two teams have split the two meetings with each side winning on its home field... last season saw a 1-0 win for Syracuse.
Preseason Picks: The Blue Demons were picked to finish eighth in the Red Division by the league’s 16 coaches. DePaul was picked to finish eighth in 2006 before placing sixth and advancing to the BIG EAST Championship. Connecticut was selected to win the Blue Division while St. John’s was picked as the Red Division preseason favorite.
2007 BIG EAST Championship: The semifinals and championship of the 2007 BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Championship will take place in Storrs, Conn., on the campus of the University of Connecticut. The first round and quarterfinal matches will be hosted by the higher-seeded team on Nov. 7 and Nov. 10. The champion receives the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship.