DePaul Faces No. 13/6 Marquette Sunday in BIG EAST Title Game
Nov. 9, 2013
Live TV Coverage: 1 p.m. on FOX Sports 1
MILWAUKEE – Every single person in the DePaul women’s soccer program knows exactly what it will take to win the BIG EAST Championship title game that kicks off at 1 p.m. Sunday at Valley Fields.
Every Blue Demon from BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year Alejandria “Alex” Godinez to back-line leader and All-BIG EAST First Team selection Kylie Nordness to the midfielders, forwards and everyone on the bench has to play defense like never before.
Anything less might not be enough to upset No. 13/6 Marquette (17-3-0) which enters its home field having won 12 in a row that included a 9-0-0 run through the rugged BIG EAST. Sunday's winner gets an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
This is a national power that has outscored its opponents 50-15 with a 184-62 advantage in shots on goal.
Maegen Kelly leads the Golden Eagles with 10 points and eight assists and Mary Luba has eight goals and four assists. Mady Vicker has scored six times and five of those were game-winners.
DePaul (13-4-2) more than held its own in a 1-0 loss to the Golden Eagles on Oct. 20 at Wish Field. The Blue Demons kept the zero until the 44th minute when Luba scored on a hard shot into the upper 90 from 25 yards out.
“We’re really excited about Sunday, and this is what you compete for---to win a conference championship,” said DePaul coach Erin Chastain. “Marquette is a really talented team, and this time we’ll be playing on their field.”
And yet, what DePaul does best translates to any venue.
The Blue Demons have come this far because of a disciplined, hard-edge style of play in which all 24 players have bought into an intense defensive mentality where everyone has someone else’s back.
The accolades have come to Godinez, Nordness, All-BIG EAST Second Team defensive midfielder Rebekah Roller, All-BIG EAST Second Team forward Elise Wyatt, All-BIG EAST Third Team defender Rachel Pitman---and deservedly so.
But that’s only the beginning.
“Against Georgetown (1-0 win) on Friday, everybody on the field played a strong defensive game,” Chastain said. “We had good plays in the box, blocked shots, good markings on corner kicks and consistent tackling. This is how we’ve been successful this season.”
How did Chastain get all 24 Blue Demons to invest in such a mindset?
“The character of our team is exceptional,” Chastain said. “Our players have a blue-color mentality and are very close. They are willing to do whatever it takes to get wins. They know what they have to do to have success against a very good team like Marquette.
“When I first came here in 2007, I knew you had to build a strong defensive foundation before you can become a great attacking team.”
The Blue Demons have kept the zero in three of their last four games including a 1-0 shutout of Villanova in the BIG EAST Quarterfinals and the 1-0 result over Georgetown on Friday.
“This is amazing, and it’s the best feeling that we’re playing for the BIG EAST title,” said Erin Pekovitch who scored the winning goal against the Hoyas. “All the senior remember coming here four years ago and Erin (Chastain) telling us we were going to have a big impact on the program.
“We’ve all worked so hard and sacrificed for each other these last four years, and now we’ve come to the BIG EAST championship game.
“It’s going to be tough defending against a nationally ranked team like Marquette. But if we can come out with the same energy we had against Georgetown and all of us playing for each other, we’re going to be all right."