Big Test for DePaul at No. 14/15 Marquette
Sept. 21, 2011
CHICAGO - DePaul is bringing along a road warrior mentality to its next two BIG EAST Conference soccer matches.
Destination No. 1 is Milwaukee, where the Blue Demons face No. 14/15 Marquette at 7 p.m. Thursday in a rematch of last year's BIG EAST Championship quarterfinal.
Three days later, they're in Tampa for a showdown with USF.
DePaul's three-game road swing actually began last Sunday with a 1-1, double-overtime tie at Louisville.
"We'd like to carry over more of the first half of that Louisville game," said DePaul coach Erin Chastain. "In the first half, we created a lot of chances right away and set the tone of the game."
Bringing lots of intensity right from the opening whistle will be a prerequisite on Thursday night.
"Marquette is a good team with great speed of play," Chastain said of the Golden Eagles who are 8-2-0 overall and 1-1-0 in the BIG EAST. "They are hungry, come out with high energy and play real well at home (6-0-0).
"Anyone playing against Marquette definitely has to match their energy."
The Golden Eagles are led by sophomore Maegan Kelly who has nine goals and three assists. Former Marist High School star Lindsey Page has three goals and three assists while Kate Reigle has two goals and five assists.
Heading up the Marquette defense is Soccer America Preseason All-American Kerry McBride and goalkeeper Natalie Kulla.
DePaul fell to the Golden Eagles 3-0 at Valley Fields in last October's BIG EAST quarterfinal and also played on Marquette's home field in a spring exhibition match.
"Experience does wonders, and the stakes could not have been higher on that day," Chastain said about the quarterfinal match. "Our veteran players have competed on Marquette's field and seen what their home crowd is like.
"There are three players on our team from the Milwaukee area, and they know lots of kids on Marquette's team. It's a great rivalry in that sense."
DePaul's demanding nonconference schedule could pay dividends during this stretch of away games.
The Blue Demons went through a rugged road test playing at No. 15/12 Milwaukee (8-1-0) followed by games in Ann Arbor, Mich. against Michigan State (8-1-0) and Michigan (6-2-1).
"Our team has gotten better with every game and learned lessons by being exposed to a high level of competition," Chastain said. "As a result, our players are more and more motivated every day.
"This game at Marquette will be a great challenge for our group."
Blue Demon Quick Kicks
DePaul defender Rebekah Roller played on the same Brookfield (Wis.) East high school soccer team with Marquette's Kate Reigle.
The Blue Demons are 2-1-1 after a 0-5 start.
They have gone into overtime four times in the last five matches, including back-to-back, double-overtimes against Cincinnati and Louisville.
Claire Hanold ranks third in the BIG EAST in saves with 43 and is fourth in saves per game at 4.78.
Roller leads the team with two assists while Celaya, Paul, Goddard and Beth Perry each have one.