Women's Soccer Opens Home Schedule
CHICAGO - The DePaul women’s soccer team starts the home portion of the 2004 campaign this weekend against visiting Western Michigan and Liberty. The Blue Demons and Broncos tangle on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. while Liberty comes to Wish Field for a 1 p.m. match on Sunday. Sunday’s match is the first of a DePaul soccer doubleheader as the men’s team takes on Valparaiso at 4 p.m.
Looking at the Blue Demons: 2004 marks the ninth season of women’s soccer at DePaul University... Lea Hill surpassed her freshman year scoring totals with five points on two goals and an assist at the CMU Invitational last weekend... DePaul returns 19 players and welcomes seven newcomers to the 2004 roster... of those 19 returners, six are seniors, four are juniors and there are seven sophomores... offensively, the Blue Demons return the top four scorers from a year ago... junior and Hermann Trophy candidate Julianne Sitch is the top returning scorer... in two seasons, she has recorded a program-best 52 points, 20 goals and 12 assists... the Blue Demons are 3-6 all-time in season-opening matches... head coach John Wilson is in his fifth season in Lincoln Park.
Sitch on Hermann Trophy Watch List: DePaul junior and preseason Conference USA Player of the Year Julianne Sitch is one of 25 student-athletes named to the preseason Hermann Trophy watch list. The Hermann Trophy is annually awarded to the top men’s and women’s collegiate players. The 25 players on the preseason list are considered to be among the top players entering the 2004 college season and are the ones to watch this fall. A list of 15 semifinalists will be announced in November, with three finalists selected in early December. The winner will be announced at a dinner at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Mo., on Jan. 8, 2005.
Recapping the CMU Invitational: DePaul opened the regular season at the CMU Invitational in Mount Pleasant, Mich. last weekend. After defeating host Central Michigan, 3-0, on Friday, the Blue Demons fell to Ball State, 2-1, on Sunday.
Lea Hill scored twice and added an assist in the win over the Chippewas on Friday. Jennifer Dyer also scored a goal and was credited with an assist on Hill’s first score. Julianne Sitch finished the match with two assists while goalkeeper Lindsey Deason totaled 11 saves in the shutout.
The Blue Demons weren’t as fortunate on Sunday against Ball State as they outshot the Cardinals, 15-8, but came up with just one goal. Dyer gave DePaul the early lead with her second goal of the season, but two second-half scores by Ball State’s Lindsay Wiltshire put the Cardinals over the top.
Looking at the Broncos: Western Michigan enters Labor Day weekend at 1-1-0... they joined DePaul in the NCAA Tournament last year in Champaign, Ill., and lost to Purdue in the second round... Western Michigan is a member of the Mid-American Conference and is located in Kalamazoo, Mich.... they opened the season with a 2-1 win over Oakland and a 2-0 loss to Michigan State... head coach Mike Haines is in his seventh season. The series: Friday marks the first meeting between the two programs.
Scouting the Flames: Sunday’s opponent, Liberty, is a member of the Big South Conference and is located in Lynchburg, Va.... the Flames enter the weekend at 0-1-0 and play at Loyola on Friday evening... in 2003, they posted a 4-14-2 record... Liberty dropped a 5-0 decision to No. 6 Virginia on Wednesday... head coach James Price is in his eighth season. The Series: Sunday is the first match between DePaul and Liberty.
Ranked In the Region: With nine starters returning from last season’s NCAA Tournament team, the Blue Demons found themselves ranked fifth in the SoccerBuzz preseason rankings. Following the loss to Ball State, the club dropped to No. 10. A year ago, the club was ranked as high as eighth in both the SoccerBuzz and NSCAA regional rankings.
The Blue Demons are scheduled to face five of the top 15 preseason teams in the Great Lakes Region this season. In addition to the exhibition match against Purdue, the team also takes on No. 7 Indiana, No. 10 Western Michigan, No. 12 Marquette and No. 15 Eastern Illinois. Other 2004 opponents preseason ranked in their respective regions include Saint Louis (No. 13 – Central) and UAB (No. 8 – Southeast).
Preseason Picks: The Blue Demons were picked third in the annual Conference USA preseason coaches poll. DePaul, who won the C-USA Tournament last year, was third behind defending regular-season champion UAB and Saint Louis. Julianne Sitch was named the C-USA Preseason Player of the Year and was the only Blue Demon on the preseason All-Conference USA team. Last season as a sophomore, Sitch was picked as the league’s Offensive Player of the Year and the C-USA Tournament Offensive MVP.
What’s Ahead: The home schedule starts the first weekend of September with matches against Western Michigan and Liberty. The Blue Demons then travel to Eastern Illinois and UW-Milwaukee before returning to Wish Field for games against Northern Iowa and Marquette. September closes with a pair of road matches at Memphis and Saint Louis.