DePaul Looking to Finish Season in Style
Oct. 20, 2011
CHICAGO - DePaul would love nothing better than to finish up the 2011 women's soccer season with a memorable performance at Notre Dame on Friday night.
After all, this historic campus located 93 miles east of Lincoln Park has a history of producing great moments.
Why not add a Blue Demon upset of the 2010 NCAA champion to the cavalcade of sports classics?
"Notre Dame is the defending national champion, and it's a great opportunity for our group to play them," DePaul coach Erin Chastain said of the 6:30 p.m. match. "Notre Dame always seems to get other teams' best efforts because of the storied success and tradition.
"They are typically one of the top five teams in the country every year."
The Fighting Irish were atypically 4-5-2 following a loss at then-No. 14 Marquette on Sept. 25.
The Irish have since turned their season around, going 4-1-1 in the last six games and outscoring opponents 13-4 in that span.
"Notre Dame (8-6-3, 5-3-2 in the BIG EAST) is having a more difficult time than usual this year," Chastain said. "But they always play their best at the end of the season and are getting a couple players back from injury."
The Blue Demons will keep a close eye on preseason All-American Melissa Henderson who is second in the BIG EAST Conference in goals with 13 and second in points with 33.
The Irish attack also features Lauren Bohaboy (six goals, three assists), preseason All-American Jessica Schuveiller (six goals, one assist) and Adriana Leon (five goals, four assists).
Notre Dame is outscoring teams 37-20 and outshooting opponents 351-182. The Fighting Irish have outscored opponents 21-8 in the first half and have a 146-78 advantage in shots on goal.
DePaul gave Notre Dame one of its toughest matches last year, trailing 1-0 until pressing for the tying goal and giving up a late score in a 2-0 loss.
"We played them tight last year at Wish Field, but it's going to be different playing at Notre Dame." Chastain said. "We know this is our last game of the season while they still have the BIG EAST Championship tournament coming up.
"There's going to be a lot of emotion on their side with Senior Night. They will come out with a lot of energy, and hopefully we can match that."
If so, the Blue Demons (3-13-1, 1-8-1) could end the 2011 season on an upbeat note.
"Despite the fact that the results haven't gone our way, I still think this is a confident group," Chastain said. "They are playing good soccer and still believe in themselves.
"We need to play a little more disciplined, and we have to generate a consistent offense over 90 minutes."
DePaul assistant coach Michele O'Brien will not be with the team Friday night as she will be embraced by Irish 3,650 miles from Notre Dame.
O'Brien will be playing either forward or outside midfielder for the Ireland national women's soccer team in Saturday's European Championship qualifier against Israel.
"It's going to be exciting getting back with the team and going back to Ireland," said O'Brien of the pool-play match at a stadium just outside Dublin. "I'm really looking forward to playing on Saturday."
O'Brien has been playing on Ireland's national team since 2003.
BLUE DEMON QUICK KICKS
Assistant coach Tina Estrada will step into O'Brien's role as Chastain's top aide Friday night.
DePaul is second in the BIG EAST in saves with 96.
Freshman goalkeeper Megan Pyrz leads the BIG EAST in saves per game at 6.5
Pyrz is third in the conference in saves with 52.
Pyrz is seventh in save percentage at .788.
Morgan Celaya leads DePaul in goals with four.
Celaya also leads in points with nine, shots (42) and shots on goal (21).
Amber Paul is second in goals with three.
Rebekah Roller tops the Blue Demons in assists with three.
Celaya, Paul, Roller and Michelle Scandora have started in all 17 matches.
Sarah Gorden has started in all 16 matches that she has played.