Oct. 6, 2013
CHICAGO – What Ashleigh Goddard so aptly described as the “British Invasion” was a big reason why DePaul made a telling impact on the BIG EAST Conference on Sunday.
Fellow English soccer players and close friends Goddard and Rachel Pitman each scored a goal in the Blue Demons’ 2-0 victory over Villanova at Wish Field.
That gave DePaul (8-2-2, 2-1-1) two critical conference wins and six points in the league standings this week, following up Thursday’s 1-0 overtime victory over Seton Hall when Pitman notched the golden goal.
Goddard arrived in Lincoln Park in 2010 and made an immediate impact on the women’s soccer program. She convinced her good friend Pitman to join her in the Windy City in 2011.
Sunday was the first time this British connection had both scored in the same game.
“I was so happy when Ash scored,” Pitman said about Goddard’s goal in the 52nd minute during a scramble in front of the Villanova net.
Goddard flashed a big smile and shot back: “I was so happy when Pit scored her goal.”
The insurance score came in the 58th minute off a textbook cross from Elise Wyatt.
“We had beaten Villanova 3-0 last year at their place in the BIG EAST playoffs, and I wanted us to match that score,” Goddard said.
“We’ve had a lot of close games lately,” Pitman added. “I’m so glad this one wasn’t one-nil like on Wednesday. It was awesome that both of us scored a goal today.”
Goddard and Pitman played together in the legendary Arsenal soccer program at the youth level and competed together on various national teams from U-15 to U-23.
“What’s so cool about playing over here is that you have pre-game music, the National Anthem and other entertaining stuff,” Goddard said. “Back home, we just play the game in front of our parents.
“Pit and I have the same hopes and dreams about playing professionally, and what better place than this country with the best pro league. I wanted both of us to become a part of building a program and taking it to the high place we’re at right now.”
Pitman laughed and nodded her head.
“I knew Ash wouldn’t lie to me,” Pitman said. “But I don’t think she thought I was actually coming to DePaul until I walked through the door at our dorm.”
Goddard, Pitman, a defense that has recorded back-to-back BIG EAST shutouts and goalkeeper Alex Godinez’s seven saves proved too much for Villanova (5-6-2, 2-2-0).
“I thought it was a dominating effort by our team who did an awesome job defensively,” said DePaul coach Erin Chastain. “Villanova took a lot of long-range shots, and that’s a success for our defense. You aren’t going to score very often from 40 yards away.
“On our first goal, Ash was feisty in the box and finished with her left foot. On the second goal, Elise made a great cross to Rachel who had an awesome finish.
“Our pace up top has led to success beating defenders and putting a lot of pressure on them. Today, we took ownership of the first 20 minutes of the second half.”
The Blue Demons look to build on this BIG EAST momentum Saturday when they travel to Creighton for a 7 p.m. match.
NOTES: The last time DePaul reached 8-2 in a season was in 2003, the year the Blue Demons won the Conference USA title and advanced to the NCAA tournament… Villanova outshot DePaul 19-11 and had a 7-4 edge in shots on goal… the Blue Demons owned a dominant 8-0 advantage in corner kicks… Goddard paced DePaul with four shots and one on goal… Amber Paul had two shots with one on frame… Pitman and Ana Greik each had a shot on goal.