DePaul Will Host BIG EAST Playoff Opener
Oct. 24, 2010
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The good news on Sunday is that DePaul will be hosting a BIG EAST Conference playoff game for the first time in its women's soccer history.
The bad news is the Blue Demons will head into the postseason on a four-game losing streak after dropping a 2-0 decision to Villanova, which snapped the Wildcats' seven-game losing streak.
The loss combined with Rutgers' victory over Louisville Sunday moved the Scarlet Knights into third place in the National Division and dropped DePaul into fourth.
That means DePaul (10-8-0, 5-6-0 in the BIG EAST) will face Pittsburgh (7-10-2, 4-6-1) at 2 p.m. Thursday at Wish Field at Cacciatore Stadium in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship tournament.
Pittsburgh closed out the regular season winning three-straight home games to grab the fifth and final playoff spot in the American Division.
"After a stretch of four road games where we weren't successful, we're excited to play at home," said DePaul coach Erin Chastain. "Last year we were the five-seed and had to play on the road (1-0 playoff loss at USF).
"Hopefully having home-field advantage will help us rebound from two tough losses on the road over the weekend."
Villanova (7-12-0, 2-9-0) scored in the 40th minute on Sunday when Kate Ryan notched her team-high ninth goal of the season after an assist from Channing Press. Ryan got behind the Blue Demon defense and fired into an open net.
"We played well for the first 15 minutes and created some chances, but after that we made some bad decisions in the back and let in a soft goal," Chastain said. "We knew their forwards (Ryan and Heidi Sabatura) scored most of their goals, and we didn't do a good job of stopping Ryan.
"Our group wasn't sharp today, and we didn't stick to our game plan."
There was an 18-minute stretch in the second half when DePaul forced Villanova goalkeeper Jami Kranich to make three saves. Michelle Scandora had a header attempt, while Beth Perry and Tara Strickland had good shots turned away by the Wildcat keeper. In the 87th minute, Bridget O'Brien added an insurance score on a penalty kick.
"Our team has been through a lot of adversity," Chastain said. "We'll get this turned around and heading in the right direction.
"The playoffs are all about a second life, and we're excited about the opportunity to play a very good Pittsburgh team at home."
The Blue Demons are 8-2-1 at Wish Field this season and 2-6-1 on the road.
NOTES: After winning five in a row, DePaul has lost the last four... the Blue Demons have been outscored 7-2 in those four consecutive road games... Pitt's last three games were a 3-0 win over Villanova, a 2-0 decision over Providence and a 1-0 decision over Connecticut... DePaul outshot Villanova 9-4 in the second half and had four shots on goal to two for the Wildcats... overall, DePaul outshot the home team 12-9 and was an even 5-5 in shots on goal... Strickland and Lauren Pagone each had three shots with one on goal... Scandora (shot on goal) and Morgan Celaya each had two shots while Kelly Blumberg and Perry each had one shot on goal ... there were four yellow cards issued in the game, three to Villanova players.