Anticipation Heightens for DePaul's Opening Act
Aug. 26, 2010
CHICAGO - With a magnificent stadium renovation serving as the backdrop, DePaul kicks off its home opener in women's soccer at 4 p.m. Friday against St. Bonaventure.
The dramatic makeover of Wish Field at Cacciatore Stadium has added even more to the usual spice of that first performance in front of a partisan crowd.
"The stadium looks awesome, and our players are really excited to be on our own field," said Blue Demons coach Erin Chastain as her team opened with two road matches last weekend.
"Home games are fun with all our fans coming out to support us. For our eight seniors, this is going to be their final home opener.
"That's exciting for our whole group."
Until DePaul secures an occupancy permit from the city, fans will be limited to temporary bleacher seating of 240. In addition, there will be room for another 100 standing-room fans outside the north fence.
Two days later, they trailed Northwestern 1-0 until the 88th minute when freshman Natasa Radosavljevic fired in a shot from 18 yards that gave her team new life.
But in the second overtime, Northwestern's Kate Allen ruined the comeback attempt with her second goal of the game.
"Early in Sunday's match, we had the run of play and didn't allow Northwestern a shot on goal until the 25th minute," Chastain said. "Fatigue set in at the end of the first half and into the second half.
"With the nearly hour-and-a-half weather delay at Iowa, the team didn't get back home until 3:30 a.m. Saturday. But I'm happy we had a tough start because it will prepare us for the difficult road weekends we'll be facing."
In addition to Hemming (one goal, one assist), Blumberg and Radosavljevic, Chastain commended center backs Chelsea Grant and freshman Rebekah Roller for their defensive effort against Iowa and forward Morgan Celaya for her ball-possession play.
St. Bonaventure (1-0) opened with a 3-2 comeback victory over Bucknell last Saturday. Trailing 2-1, all-Atlantic 10 forward Courtney Bosse scored her second goal to even things out in the second half.
In the 74th minute, all-Atlantic 10 forward Anna Cunningham scored the game-winner on an assist from Bosse. Cunningham had an assist on Bosse's first score.
The Bonnies have 10 returning starters from a 10-11-0 team that went 7-4-0 in the Atlantic 10 and finished in a tie for third place. They made back-to-back appearances in the conference tournament for the first time in program history.
Led by Bosse and Cunningham, St. Bonaventure welcomes back 100 percent of its goal scoring from 2009. In addition, freshman Jordan Calabria was named to the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Rookie Team.
"St. Bonaventure will be well-prepared and organized," Chastain said. "They had a good run in their conference last year, and I'm expecting a very competitive game."
DePaul will be back on the road Sunday to face a talented Illinois State ballclub that is favored to win its fourth consecutive regular-season title in the Missouri Valley Conference and is pursuing a return trip to the NCAA tournament.
The Redbirds were 12-7-1 last year, won the MVC tournament and then fell 2-0 to Florida in their NCAA opener. They are off to a 1-1 start in 2010, losing the season opener 3-0 at Akron before rebounding with a 2-1 win at Kent State.
Leading the way is forward Alyssa Schulz, who was selected as the MVC Offensive Player of the Week after her game-winning goal against Kent State.