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Perry in Middle of Fight to the Finish
Beth Perry has helped the Blue Demons stay connected with her switch to the midfield.

Beth Perry has helped the Blue Demons stay connected with her switch to the midfield.

Oct. 6, 2011

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CHICAGO - When a change was needed, Beth Perry never wavered in the slightest.

Perry had played defender her entire soccer career at DePaul, but coach Erin Chastain needed to make an adjustment in the midfield.

Early in the season, Perry made the switch.

"Michelle Scandora and I are the defensive midfielders," Perry said as the Blue Demons hit the road this weekend to face Rutgers at 6 p.m. on Friday and Seton Hall at noon on Sunday.

"We can get into the attacking third and look to get the ball to a forward. Our role is to connect the backs to the forwards."

Perry has also been instrumental in serving up corner kicks with Rebekah Roller.

"Becca and I both go to the back," Perry said. "We have some great targets in the box with Michelle Scandora, Chelsea Grant, Amber Paul and Kelly Blumberg.

"We've gotten a couple of goals off corner kicks this season."

It is a season that is all-too-quickly winding to a close with the Blue Demons battling to qualify for the BIG EAST Conference Championship for the third year in a row.

"We're getting down to the end with just five games left in the regular season and in the BIG EAST," Perry said. "We need some wins to make it into the BIG EAST tournament.

"We got one win last weekend, but let one get away."

It's always more difficult trying to find three points on the road, although Rutgers (6-6-1, 1-4-1 in the BIG EAST) is trying to break a three-game losing streak.

The Scarlet Knights have lost four of their last five and tied Pittsburgh in double overtime. They are led by sophomore forward Jonelle Filigno who has six of the team's 13 goals.

Goalkeeper Emmy Simkins has four shutouts and a 0.96 goals-against average.

"We have to play on someone else's field this weekend, and it's so important for us to come together right now," Perry said. "We're so talented, and yet, we've had our struggles this season. We've had our chances with six overtime games.

"We're so close. If we can play our best soccer these last five games and finish strong, we still have a chance to end the season on a good note."

Chastain believes Perry's senior leadership has helped the team remain strong.

"Beth has played a large role in the success of DePaul soccer and in getting to the BIG EAST tournament the last two years," Chastain said. "She is one of our leaders, always saying and doing the right thing.

"Beth was one of the first players I recruited when I got to DePaul. She is a very coachable, hard-working soccer player with a good instinct for the game.

"Even though she has been a defender her entire career, we asked her to play defensive mid a couple games into the season---and she has embraced the change."

BLUE DEMON QUICK KICKS

• Villanova leads in the race for the final National Division playoff berth with six points.

• Cincinnati is right behind at five points while DePaul and Rutgers each have four points.

Morgan Celaya leads the Blue Demons in goals with three and in points with seven.

Ashleigh Goddard, Michelle Scandora and Amber Paul have each scored twice.

Sarah Gorden and Roller have one goal apiece.

• Roller leads DePaul in assists with three.

• Celaya is tops in shots with 36 and shots on goal with 18.

• Paul is second in shots with 25 and third in shots on goal with eight.

• Scandora and Pitman have each taken 21 shots and Scandora is second in shots on goal with 11.

• In its last game against Connecticut, DePaul started four freshmen and four sophomores.