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Strickland Leads DePaul Past Western Illinois

CHICAGO Tara Strickland scored a goal and assisted two others to lead DePaul over visiting Western Illinois, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon at Wish Field. Her second goal of the season in the 36th minute put the Blue Demons ahead for good while she helped out on goals by Jenna Fagerman and Lauren Pagone.

Western Illinois (1-2-0) scored the first goal of the afternoon in the 22nd minute. Katelyn Wisner took a pass from Ashley Hoch at midfield and flipped a shot over a charging Kelsey Hoinkes. The ball looped over Hoinkes and bounced into the net at 21:07 to give the Westerwinds the early lead.

Less than 10 minutes later, DePaul answered with the first of two goals before halftime. Strickland started the action with a corner kick that found Casey Mercurio at the back post. Mercurio pushed the ball in front of the net where Fagerman fired a liner to the upper half and tied the match at 29:47.

Strickland struck again on another corner kick opportunity. However, this time she bent the serve towards the back post and it beat Western Illinois keeper Jessica Walsh and gave the Blue Demons the lead for good at 35:19. The goal was Strickland's second of the season.

The remainder of the match played even as Western Illinois looked for the equalizer and DePaul attempted to put the match away. The Blue Demons won the battle in the 72nd minute following a Westerwind foul at midfield. Strickland lined up the free kick and banged her shot from 35 yards off the crossbar. A charging Pagone was right there for the rebounds and headed it in for DePaul's third goal of the game at 71:37.

DePaul (1-5-0) totaled 12 shots while Western Illinois made six attempts. The Blue Demons used their nine corner kicks to their advantage with the two goals while Hoinkes finished the game with a pair of saves.

The Blue Demons hit the road next weekend for games at Miami (Ohio) and Northwestern. Following the weekend, DePaul opens BIG EAST play on Friday, Sept. 19 against Notre Dame.

Game Notes: Tara Strickland notched her third career goal and third and fourth career assists... the goal for Jenna Fagerman was the first of her collegiate career... Lauren Pagone's goal was the second of her career... the Blue Demons lead the series, 4-1-0.