DePaul Qualifies for BIG EAST Playoffs Despite Loss
Oct. 17, 2010
STORRS, Conn. - The number "two" had a double meaning for DePaul on Sunday.
For the first time this season, DePaul lost two in a row.
But the silver lining inside Sunday's 3-1 setback to Connecticut is that the Blue Demons qualified for the BIG EAST Championship tournament for the second year in a row.
"That's the first goal our players write down every year---to qualify for the BIG EAST tournament," said DePaul coach Erin Chastain. "It is something we expect out of our group.
"We want to represent DePaul in a positive and competitive way, and we're excited we did that by making the BIG EAST tournament."
What comes next is the jockeying for the most favorable position in the postseason.
After Sunday's matches, DePaul (10-6-2, 5-4-0 in the BIG EAST) is third in the National Division with 15 points. Rutgers is fourth with 10 points and Louisville fifth with nine. Only the top five teams qualify for the playoffs.
Sixth-place Seton Hall has seven points and with two games remaining could only compile a maximum of 13 points.
The Blue Demons still have a chance at finishing second as Notre Dame (14-1-1, 8-0-1) has clinched a divisional title with 25 points. DePaul takes on second-place Georgetown (18 points) on Friday in Washington, D.C.
"We have to finish out the season strong and put ourselves in as good a position as possible," Chastain said.
Connecticut (8-6-3, 4-3-2) scored the only goal of the first half on a six-yard header by Angelika Johansson from a cross by Melissa Busque.
DePaul went on a 12-minute tear right after the Huskies went ahead 2-0 in the 54h minute on a goal by Busque after a through ball from Kacey Richards.
The Blue Demons pelted the Huskie net with six consecutive shots---five on goal---including Kelly Blumberg's shot into the right corner of the net in the 64th minute after UConn's defense failed to clear the ball out of the box.
It was Blumberg's second goal of the season.
Less than two minutes later, Blumberg's header was saved by goalkeeper Jessica Dulski. In those 12 minutes, Blumberg had five shots with four on goal.
"All our numbers were pushing forward to go for the tying goal," Chastain said. "I'm proud of the way our girls fought back in the second half."
It was 50 seconds later when a DePaul foul led to a Linda Ruutu free kick from 30 yards out, and the Connecticut sophomore fired it past the wall into the lower left corner of the net.
"Within 50 seconds, instead of a 2-2 game, it became 3-1," Chastain said. "We learned some valuable lessons that we'll take on the road with us next week.
"The way we played in the second half is how we need to start every game."
NOTES: DePaul took nine of its 10 shots in the second half, and six of its seven shots on goal came after halftime... Blumberg led the Blue Demons with five shots and four shots on goal... Goddard, Celaya and Arianna Foster each had a shot on goal... UConn outshot DePaul 12-10 and both teams had seven shots on goal... one of DePaul's top defenders, Casey Mercurio, started on Sunday after missing the last three games... Mercurio had not played since getting injured in the 2-1 overtime win over Syracuse on Oct. 3... in the last nine matches, the Blue Demons have outshot teams 120-71 and hold a 58-34 advantage in shots on goal... they have outscored opponents 14-10 in that span and have gone 6-3... this is the second time DePaul has put together back-to-back, double-digit winning seasons... the first time it happened was in the 2002 and 2003 seasons.