Godinez and DePaul Defense Take On St. John's and Nation's Top Scorer
Nov. 1, 2013
CHICAGO - DePaul goalkeeper Alex Godinez is No. 2 in the nation in save percentage.
St. John's forward Rachel Daly has scored 18 goals to lead the nation and also tops NCAA Division I with 38 points.
The two are going head-to-head at 7 p.m. Saturday in a BIG EAST Conference finale in the Big Apple that will have a serious impact on the league's playoff picture.
DePaul (11-3-2, 5-2-1 in the BIG EAST) has locked up the No. 3 seed. The Blue Demons would need a victory over the Red Storm combined with a Georgetown loss at home against Seton Hall to move up into the No. 2 spot with the first-round bye.
In addition, coach Erin Chastain's side is within range of an NCAA tournament at-large bid with its 45 RPI.
St. John's (9-4-3, 3-3-3) is locked in a four-way battle for three BIG EAST Championship berths. The Red Storm is in fifth place with a shot at finishing fourth and hosting a first-round game.
"We're on the bubble now for an NCAA berth," Chastain said. "Our focus is on a good performance at St. John's. We know they are a good team and are fighting to advance to the BIG EAST Championship and possibly host a first-round game.
"Everything is so tight with the fourth through sixth seeds. It's going to be St. John's Senior Day and Alumni Day. We want to finish the BIG EAST season strong and get a winning result."
In her first season starting between the pipes, Godinez has compiled a .913 save percentage and a goals-against average of 0.54 that is No. 16 in the country. She leads the BIG EAST in save percentage, GAA and saves per game and is tied for first in shutouts with seven.
After junior keeper Megan Pyrz was sidelined with a season-ending injury in the preseason, the sophomore Godinez stepped right in.
"Alex has been really good for us," Chastain said. "She is making the saves she should make and also making some point-blank, above-and-beyond saves. She is developing a good chemistry with the back line and is really invested in our team.
"Her confidence has grown throughout the season. Her freshman year last season was tough as it is for every freshman in the country. She is getting accustomed to a lot of new things this season and has really settled into the position.
"Alex kept us in the game against Georgetown and Marquette making saves on point-blank shots. She certainly made the most of her opportunity, and that's what it's all about."
The Blue Demon defense continues to lead the BIG EAST in fewest goals allowed with nine. That is four less than No. 15/9 Georgetown has given up.
"Our back line just doesn't give away a lot of chances," Chastain said. "All of our backs and our holding mid really play well as a unit.
"I'm proud of that group being so committed to getting shutouts and not giving away good chances to score. For me, I don't put a lot into total saves. It's more about what kinds of chances you're getting in games.
"If a team is releasing a shot from 25 yards, that's not a good shot. The probability of scoring from there is low.
"Is your opponent able to get behind your back four? Our backs are doing a good job of keeping attackers in front of them and not allowing good chances."
Daly's 18 goals have come on 41 shots on goal and 84 total shots. St. John's is outscoring opponents 30-14 and holds a commanding 106-75 advantage in shots on goal.
Amy Marron backs up Daly with four goals and seven assists. At home, the Red Storm is 5-0-3 overall and 2-0-2 in the BIG EAST.
"Everything starts with defending, and our team has to be solid in that phase of the game all over the field," Chastain said. "Our back line needs to continue being successful in forcing long-range shots that are off-frame.
"Rachel Daly is the leading goal scorer in the country. This is going to be good preparation going into the BIG EAST tournament to face a dangerous attacking player like that."