Pekovitch Sends DePaul into BIG EAST Championship Title Game
Nov. 8, 2013
MILWAUKEE - Erin Pekovitch took a history-making shot on Friday night in the BIG EAST Championship Semifinals that was heard all around Lincoln Park and anyplace else where alumni and fans gather to root for the Blue Demons.
Pekovitch bent in a shot from 20 yards away in the 68th minute to give DePaul a memorable 1-0 victory over No. 15/8 Georgetown that sends her team onto the BIG EAST Championship title game at 1 p.m. Sunday that will be televised by FOX Sports 1.
DePaul (13-4-2) will face the winner of the 7: 30 p.m. semifinal match between No. 13/6 Marquette (16-3-0) and St. John's (11-4-3) at Marquette's Valley Fields.
It's the first time in school history that a soccer team from DePaul will be competing for the BIG EAST Championship title and an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
"This is a great group to coach," said DePaul coach Erin Chastain. "They are inspiring, motivated and they're kids that play hard for each other.
"We knew Georgetown was supposed to win this game. But we weren't going to go down without a fight.
"We know who we are. We are going to play to our strengths and we defend---hard."
Georgetown (15-2-2) outshot the Blue Demons 26-2, had a 7-2 edge in shots on goal and a 9-1 advantage in corner kicks.
All of that was erased by a single shot.
"I got by the Georgetown player that was marking me and took the throw-in from Rachel Pitman," Pekovitch said. "I dribbled straight at their center back, cut hard to my left and hit it with my left foot as hard as I could.
"It was from just outside the top of the box, and it went near post. After the ball went in, I got back up and Ashleigh Goddard was the first to hug me. Everyone was so pumped up after that."
Give DePaul a late goal and the stingiest team in the BIG EAST knows just what to do.
BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year Alejandria Godinez and the BIG EAST's best back line demonstrated why DePaul has given up the fewest goals in the conference.
Godinez was brilliant once again in earning her ninth shutout of the season, tying a school record set by Claire Hanold in 2009.
Defenders Kylie Nordness (All-BIG EAST First Team), Rachel Pitman (All-BIG EAST Third Team), Nina Kodros and Brianna Ryce had their keeper's back all night. In the final minutes with the Hoyas launching an all-out assault for the equalizer, Pitman blocked a shot in the mouth of the goal.
"Our defense played really well and Georgetown had four good chances to score," Chastain said. "One of those hit the crossbar. But outside of those four chances, there weren't dangerous shots.
"Our goal was to get to halftime 0-0 and we did that. A lot of our kids were blocking shots, especially at the end of the game. The whole team stepped up tonight. Erin scored a great goal, and she has been playing so well for us.
"I'm just really proud of our team."
DePaul and Georgetown battled to a scoreless tie in the first 45 minutes. The Blue Demon defense stood firm against a wave of shots. Georgetown took the first 15 shots of the game with three on goal.
DePaul's lone shot of the first half was on-target as Elise Wyatt forced Hoyas goalkeeper Emma Newins to make the save.
"After we had tied Georgetown earlier this season 1-1 at Georgetown, we knew we had a shot in the final four," Pekovitch said. "Our team gets excited to play Georgetown.
"We came here tonight to fight for each other and to tackle for one another. It's so awesome that we'll be playing for the BIG EAST title on Sunday."
NOTES: One more victory and DePaul will tie the school record for wins in a season that was set after the 2003 NCAA tournament team went 14-7-2... Godinez needs one more shutout to set a new single-season school record... the Blue Demons have only given up 12 goals in 19 games this season... this was their first game at a neutral site this year... Godinez went into Friday's match No. 3 in the nation in save percentage and No. 25 in the country in goals-against average and total saves... Godinez made seven saves against the Hoyas... as a team, DePaul is No. 2 in the nation in save percentage... in the BIG EAST regular season, the Blue Demons lost 1-0 to Marquette on Oct. 20 at Wish Field... Pekovitch and Wyatt took the only shots for DePaul on Friday---and both were on target.