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Fast-Starting DePaul Opens BIG EAST Season at No. 10/8 Georgetown
Kylie Nordness leads the Blue Demons into their BIG EAST opener Thursday at No. 10/8 Georgetown.

Kylie Nordness leads the Blue Demons into their BIG EAST opener Thursday at No. 10/8 Georgetown.

Sept. 25, 2013

CHICAGO – After getting off to a record start in the nonconference season, DePaul is ready to maintain that momentum heading into the BIG EAST Conference season.

The Blue Demons will open up against the best at 2 p.m. Thursday when they challenge No. 10/8 Georgetown (8-0-1) in our Nation’s Capital.

Three days later, DePaul (6-1-1) visits Providence (3-3-3) in another BIG EAST matchup set for an 11 a.m. kickoff.

The Blue Demons head into the BIG EAST season ranked No. 9 in this week’s NSCAA/Continental Tire Northeast Region rankings.

“Georgetown is super dangerous on the attack,” said DePaul coach Erin Chastain about a Hoyas team that has outscored opponents 32-6. “They are led by a preseason All-American in Daphne Corboz. Georgetown can score in a lot of different ways, and they haven’t given up many goals.

“This will be the toughest opponent we will face all year, and outside of Notre Dame, the highest-ranked opponent we’ve played in the last several years.”

Kaitlin Brenn leads the Hoyas with six goals and four assists while Corboz has four goals and five assists. Vanessa Skrumbis has also scored four times. Georgetown is outshooting teams 141-79 and holds a commanding 89-40 advantage in shots on goal.

Defensively, Georgetown is giving up less than a goal per game and goalkeeper Emma Newins has a 0.49 goals-against average.

The BIG EAST is once again justifying its reputation as one of the strongest soccer conferences in the country. In the nonconference season, the top seven teams in the league all had a .700 winning percentage or better. Those seven teams had a combined record of 47-9-6.

DePaul contributed to those glowing numbers with its terrific start.

“We have a really strong group of leaders and veteran players who have won big games,” Chastain said. “They understand what it takes to win games and the level of focus required for top performances.

“The seniors told me at the beginning of the season that they wanted to be a part of the best team DePaul has ever had. They are really motivated by that and excited about the potential of our group.

“Our players want to make their mark on the program’s history. After we didn’t get the result we wanted in our season opener at Valparaiso, this team had two choices. The players could dwell on the loss or step up to the plate. They are doing whatever it takes to get the result.”

Chastain’s decision to rev up the attack has resulted in five Blue Demons scoring multiple goals. Elise Wyatt leads the way with five while Ashleigh Goddard, Ana Greik, Natasa Radosavljevic and Gini Yost each have two.

Kylie Nordness has anchored a defense along with Rachel Pitman, Nina Kodros and Brianna Ryce that has only given up five goals in eight games. Rebekah Roller has been a commanding presence in the midfield. Goalkeeper Alejandria Godinez is No. 2 in the BIG EAST and No. 29 in the nation in save percentage.

“Ana Greik and Gini Yost have made some big contributions as freshmen,” Chastain said. “Elise Wyatt has stepped up and had a wonderful start to our season.

“The strength of our team is everyone who is on the field from the goalkeeper on up. There have been different people stepping up in different parts of each game. Overall, the whole group is very solid.”

Providence is led by Kathryn Hiller with five goals and three assists along with Amanda Webster with two goals and four assists. The Friars have been outscored 5-2 in the first half but have outscored opponents 12-7 in the second half.

“We’ve been to Georgetown a lot and played in that tough environment,” Chastain said. “The Hoyas are very good, and so is Providence. We realize every BIG EAST game is going to be tough.

“We’ll be ready to try and get the result against all these talented teams.”