DePaul Wins Conference USA Championship!!!
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A season of firsts continues for the DePaul women's soccer team as they defeated Saint Louis on penalty kicks to win their first Conference USA Championship on Saturday afternoon. Following a 1-1 tie through regulation and a pair of overtime periods, the Blue Demons outscored the Billikens, 4-3, in the shootout. Goalkeeper Lindsey Deason came up with a pair of huge saves to preserve DePaul third win in the last four days.
The Blue Demons were poised to take a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute only to see Billiken keeper Amanda Martin make a save on Julianne Sitch’s penalty kick. Saint Louis took advantage of DePaul’s misfortune and took the ball to the other end and found the net with less than a minute left in the first half.
Christie Cigno took a pass from Trisha Neidenbach and beat DePaul keeper Lindsey Deason for the first score of the match at 44:10. The first stanza ended with Saint Louis leading, 1-0.
DePaul (14-6-2) didn’t waste any time in equaling the Billikens when Margo Sackmaster scored her first goal of the season just under three minutes into the second half. Sitch found Sackmaster and the sophomore sent it home at 47:45 to tie the match at 1-1.
Neither team scored for the remainder of regulation and two overtimes as both keepers held their opponents scoreless. Right at the end of the first overtime period, Saint Louis (14-5-3) just missed a golden goal as Tara Gresco hit the post in the 99th minute.
The Blue Demons entered the shootout with 14 shots in the match while the Billikens took 18 attempts. Deason finished with six saves and her counterpart, Martin, was credited with seven stops. Of the 14 Blue Demon shots, nine were on goal.
Deason made a statement early in the shootout as she thwarted the Billikens top scorer, Jamie Perry, on her attempt. Freshman Lauren Spacht stepped up and calmly sent the ball to the back of the net for the first Blue Demon goal. Both teams traded goals as Courtney Hulcer, Kelly Ferguson and Dee Guempel scored for Saint Louis while Erin Davren and Sitch gave DePaul their second and third goals in the shootout. Following Amber Prindle's score, which gave DePaul a 4-3 advantage, Deason stopped her second shot of the shootout off Carrie Carlson to give the Blue Demons their first conference championship in the program's eight-year history.
Deason was named the Defensive MVP of the tournament while Sitch earned Offensive MVP honors. They two were joined on the All-Tournament team by teammates Erin Walter and Lauren Spacht. Deason finished the tourney with 28 saves in three matches while Sitch took 17 shots with a goal and two assists.
With the win, the Blue Demons earn Conference USA's automatic bid to the NCAA College Cup. The NCAA will announce the 64-team bracket for the Women's College Cup on Monday afternoon. ESPNews will carry the selection show live beginning at 3 p.m. CST.