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Freshman Duo Leads Blue Demons Past Cincinnati

CHICAGO - Too bad DePaul doesn't have a way to celebrate the special accomplishments of their freshmen soccer players.

If so, Chelsea Grant and Claire Hanold might have been doused in cold water after the Blue Demons defeated Cincinnati 1-0 Sunday at Wish Field.

Grant scored the first goal of her collegiate career in the 36th minute on a header with assists from Arianna Foster and Jenna Fagerman.

Goalkeeper Hanold and the DePaul back line took it from there, limiting Cincinnati (6-5-0, 1-2-0 in the BIG EAST) to one solitary shot.

For Hanold, this was her seventh shutout of the season, tying a school record set by Lindsey Deason in 2003.

"It's pretty cool to tie a school record as a freshman," Hanold said. "The defense did a great job of limiting Cincinnati's opportunities, and I didn't have to make many plays."

Grant is a key part of DePaul's back line along with Dominique and Janina Locascio and sophomore Beth Perry, and all four have contributed to the Blue Demons' 7-3-2 record, 2-1-0 in the BIG EAST.

"Winning back-to-back games in the BIG EAST and starting out 2-1 in the conference---we're making a huge statement," Grant said.  "We're doing so much better than last year.

"But we're definitely still the underdogs in our conference."

For Grant, which was bigger---scoring the winning goal or limiting Cincinnati to one shot?

"Oh, that's a tough one," Grant said. "It's so exciting to score your first college goal, and also have it be the winning shot.

"But I'd have to say holding Cincinnati to one shot was bigger.  It took our whole team to do that, and everyone deserves credit for that."

Hanold pointed out that the Blue Demon forwards and midfielders did a thorough job of separating the ball from Cincinnati's attackers.

On the winning goal, Fagerman kept the ball in play and Foster set up Grant with a high-arching ball.

"Jenna and Ari combined well on that play," Grant said. "I was able to re-direct the ball with my head.

"It felt great, and then all my teammates rushed me. They were pounding me on the back and everything."

DePaul coach Erin Chastain was pleased with the way her team protected the winning margin while continuing to attack. DePaul outshot Cincinnati 14-1 with eight shots on goal.

"We didn't just sit back," Chastain said. "We continued to press our advantages and looked to create more scoring opportunities.

"To win back-to-back games in the BIG EAST is quite an accomplishment. That hasn't happened much. That's a pretty good team we just beat"

Leave it to a pair of freshmen to come up with another way for the Blue Demons to continue in their turnaround season.

NOTES: This was DePaul's first three-game winning streak of the season... the last time DePaul's women's team won three straight was Oct. 15-22 2004... the 14-1 advantage in shots was the largest disparity for the Blue Demons in their 12 matches... Shannon Williams led the barrage with three shots while Tara Strickland, Lauren Pagone, Morgan Celaya and Kelly Blumberg each had two shots... Blumberg had two shots on goal... Hanold wasn't required to make a save until late in the match.