Screaming Blue Demons Draw Indiana in NCAA Tournament Opener
Nov. 11, 2013
CHICAGO – The Sullivan Athletic Center conference room erupted with a huge roar on Monday afternoon the moment DePaul’s name was flashed across the screen for the 2013 NCAA Championship Division I Women’s Soccer tournament.
The room was jammed with soccer players, soccer coaches, staff members and coaches from other DePaul teams excited to share in a very special moment.
Coach Erin Chastain wiped a tear of happiness from her face and the smile across her face spoke volumes about the journey her women’s soccer program has undertaken and where it was headed now.
For the second time in program history, DePaul will compete in the NCAA tournament, drawing Big Ten foe Indiana (14-6-1) in the opening round. The match will be played at 6 p.m. (Central Time) at Indiana's Armstrong Stadium.
This is the 10-year anniversary of the Julianne Sitch, Lindsey Deason DePaul team that won the Conference USA Championship in 2003 before falling 2-1 to Purdue in the NCAA opener.
“I’m just very excited for the team,” Chastain said. “This group has fought and battled so hard for each other all season long, and they have earned the chance to compete in the NCAA tournament.
“What an awesome moment this is to represent DePaul in the NCAA tournament. I am so proud of this group.”
Like everyone else in the room, Chastain’s nerves were on edge when the first set of brackets with Midwestern schools were revealed and did not include DePaul’s name.
But finally, near the very bottom of the second set of brackets, the Blue Demons received their NCAA bid.
“I was looking around at peoples’ faces and you could see the tension,” said Rebekah Roller. “Everyone was waiting.
“Then we saw our name and everyone started going crazy. All this was worth my fractured nose (from the BIG EAST title game loss to Marquette on Sunday).”
Nothing has come easy for this team, and together, this tight-knit group of student-athletes overcame all kinds of adversity.
“This (NCAA berth) says a lot about the character of this team,” said Ashleigh Goddard. “We’ve had to fight so hard for everything. It’s amazing.”
DePaul (13-5-2) finished second in the BIG EAST Championship and earned an NCAA bid with a defense that never stops battling.
“With our style, we have to play defense,” said Kylie Nordness. “It starts with the forwards and goes back. We play defense all over the field.
“You can’t just defend with the back line. Playing defense all over the field gives us a better chance to score.”
DePaul Athletics Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto took in the scene with a smile.
“I am so happy for our kids,” Ponsetto said. “They have worked so hard all year long and had so many thrilling wins along the way.
“They have been through so much adversity such as starting goalkeeper Megan Pyrz suffering a season-ending injury. It all starts with the seniors who supported new goalkeeper Alex Godinez and gave her confidence.
“Alex goes in, becomes BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year and has a fairy-tale season. This whole team has so much fight in them.”