Blue Demons and Billikens Tangle in C-USA Tournament
CHICAGO - The defending Conference USA Tournament champions enter the 2004 edition as the No. 8 seed. The Blue Demons take on 2004 regular season champion, and top seed, Saint Louis in the final match of the first round. DePaul and the Billikens tangle at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Robert R. Hermann. DePaul enters the tournament with a 9-8-2 overall record and a 4-5-1 mark in Conference USA play. Saint Louis stands at 13-5-1 and 9-1-0 in C-USA action. A year ago, the Blue Demons won the tournament as the No. 6 seed. They knocked off Saint Louis in a penalty kick shootout in the championship match in Charlotte, N.C.
Looking at the Blue Demons: 2004 marks the ninth season of women’s soccer at DePaul University... Lea Hill and Julianne Sitch lead the club with 25 points each... Erin Walter has 18 points (4G/10A) followed by Jennifer Dyer (6G/5A) and Lauren Spacht (5G/5A)... 2004 marks the first season with five players totaling at least 15 points... Hill has a team-high 10 goals with five assists while Walter leads the club and Conference USA with 10 assists to go with four goals... Hill is just the second player in school history, joining Sitch, with at least 10 goals in a season... Walter leads C-USA in assists and the 10 assists are a single-season school record... in three seasons, Sitch has recorded a program-best 77 points, 29 goals and 19 assists... DePaul’s six goals and nine assists against Liberty on Sept. 5 are both school records... the club tied the scoring record in the 6-1 win against Northern Iowa on Sept. 17... head coach John Wilson is in his fifth season in Lincoln Park.
DePaul’s C-USA Tournament History: The Blue Demons are making their second consecutive C-USA Tournament appearance and the fourth in school history. In the four tournaments, DePaul owns a 2-2-1 record.
Recapping the 2003 C-USA Tourney: As the No. 6 seed, DePaul knocked off Marquette, Tulane and Saint Louis in consecutive days to win the program’s first C-USA Tournament Championship. Julianne Sitch and Lindsey Deason were named the Offensive and Defensive MVP’s while Lauren Spacht and Erin Walter were picked for the All-Tournament team.
In the first round win over Marquette, Walter’s goal in the second overtime gave DePaul a 2-1 victory. Sitch scored the first Blue Demon goal and assisted Walter’s game-winner. Spacht scored both goals in the 2-1 semifinal win over Tulane. Kelly DeBaene and Amber Prindle assisted the goals by Spacht to move DePaul to their first C-USA Tournament championship match. Goalkeeper Lindsey Deason posted the shutout while making 13 saves.
The final saw Margo Sackmaster score for DePaul early in the second to tie the match at 1-1. Neither team could score for the remainder of regulation and two overtime periods. In the shootout, the Blue Demons prevailed, 4-3, to win the tournament title. Deason made a pair of key saves in the shootout to seal the Blue Demon victory.
Previewing the 2004 C-USA Tourney: The Blue Demons enter this week’s tournament as the No. 8 seed. DePaul finished the regular season tied with Tulane and TCU at 4-5-1 in league matches. The team got the tournament berth based on a 3-0 win over TCU during the regular season and a better record against common conference opponents with Tulane.
DePaul went 2-4-1 against the seven other teams in the 2004 tournament. They defeated Marquette and Louisville while dropping matches against East Carolina, Memphis, Saint Louis and UAB. DePaul and Charlotte played to a tie during the regular season.
Taking the Long Road: The Blue Demons are the only team of the eight competing this week that played every other team in the tournament. DePaul posted a 2-4-1 record in their seven matches against the 2004 tournament field. Charlotte, East Carolina, Marquette, Memphis and Saint Louis played six of the teams during the regular season while Louisville played five and UAB played just four of the qualifiers.
Updating the Season Recordbook: For the third straight season, the women’s soccer team has broken all offensive records in the program’s history. Entering the C-USA Tournament, the Blue Demons hold new team records with 138 points, 45 goals and 48 assists.
Individually, Erin Walter set a new program single-season record with her eighth assist two weekends ago. She currently leads Conference USA with 10 assists. Both Lea Hill and Julianne Sitch are threatening Sitch’s 2003 record of 12 goals in a season. Hill has 10 goals in 19 games while Sitch has tallied nine scores. Sitch and Hill have 25 points apiece to combine for the highest total by two players in a single-season. Last year, Sitch and Lauren Spacht totaled 48 points.
Scoring in Bunches: DePaul’s 45 goals through 19 games shattered the record set a year ago. The 2003 Blue Demons set the top mark with 33 goals in 23 matches. Twice this season, the team has scored a school-record six goals in a match. The nine goals in back-to-back matches against Northern Iowa and Marquette are the most in a two-game stretch. DePaul’s 12 goals in the three games against UW-Milwaukee, Northern Iowa and Marquette tied a record set in 2002 with 12 goals against IPFW, Indiana State and Drury. The Blue Demons are spreading the wealth as 11 different players, including goalkeeper Lindsey Deason, have scored at least one goal and five players have at least 15 points. DePaul’s 2.39 points per game ranks 34th in the latest NCAA statistical rankings and leads Conference USA while Walter’s 0.56 assists per game is 25th among individual leaders.
Sitch on Hermann Trophy Watch List: DePaul junior and preseason Conference USA Player of the Year Julianne Sitch is one of 25 student-athletes named to the preseason Hermann Trophy watch list. The Hermann Trophy is annually awarded to the top men’s and women’s collegiate players. The 25 players on the preseason list are considered to be among the top players entering the 2004 college season and are the ones to watch this fall. A list of 15 semifinalists will be announced in November, with three finalists selected in early December. The winner will be announced at a dinner at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Mo., on Jan. 8, 2005.
Head Coach John Wilson: DePaul head coach John Wilson is in his fifth season with the Blue Demons. Entering the C-USA Tournament, his overall record stands at 42-49-6. In 2003, he led the team to the program’s first Conference USA Tournament title and subsequent NCAA Tournament berth. Over the last three seasons, the Blue Demons have posted the fourth-highest win total among C-USA schools after winning just nine combined games in Wilson’s first two seasons.