June 11, 2013
CHICAGO – The arrow is definitely pointing upward for the DePaul women’s soccer program.
The Blue Demons finished their spring exhibition season with a 4-1 record that included a victory over local rival Northwestern.
And with a deep and talented senior class, DePaul is poised to make a memorable splash in the new BIG EAST Conference.
All-BIG EAST Third Team defender Kylie Nordness, Ashleigh Goddard, Rebekah Roller, Erin Pekovitch, Natasa Radosavljevic and Kimmy Denne want to make their final season in Lincoln Park one of the best in program history.
“We have a big senior class with a lot of experience that will provide the leadership on our team,” said DePaul soccer coach Erin Chastain. “We expect them to be on the field and winning games for us while setting the tone for the younger players.
“This senior class has been through a lot. They experienced two great years advancing to the BIG EAST quarterfinals and one tough year. It’s up to the seniors to really step up and set a positive tone for the rest of the team.
“It’s also their chance to make their mark at DePaul and on the new conference.”
The Blue Demons have qualified for the BIG EAST Championship tournament three of the last four years, advancing to the quarterfinals in 2010 and 2012. Last season saw Chastain’s club win its first BIG EAST Championship road game in program history.
“We had some great leadership emerge this spring, and there were some terrific performances from different individuals,” Chastain said. “Elise Wyatt and Erin Pekovitch played well on the front line.
“Rebekah Roller was really good in the midfield. Rachel Pitman was very good as an outside back. Ashleigh Goddard had a really good spring for us as did Brianna Ryce in the midfield.
“As for Kylie Nordness, you can’t play much better than she did last fall in making All-BIG EAST. She continued that in the spring and demonstrated the same high level of consistency she has attained the last two years.”
The Blue Demons will be solid at goalkeeper with the return of Megan Pyrz along with Alejandria Godinez. Pyrz was second in the BIG EAST in saves and save percentage and fifth in shutouts.
"Megan is very solid in goal and doesn’t give anything away,” Chastain said. “We look for her to become a real leader back there in the fall. Alex (Godinez) was injured this spring, but we’re expecting her to do some good things this fall.
“It will be a good battle between Megan and Alex. There’s depth at that position with two good goalkeepers.”
A top priority for Chastain heading into the 2013 season is ramping up the team’s performance in the attacking third of the field.
“Our attacking style will allow us to create more chances this season,” Chastain said. “We’ve gotten better with attacking, and I’m expected a couple of the new players (Ana Greik, Nikki Naclerio) to enhance our attacking formation.
“Elise and Brianna have made the transition from high school/club players to Division I collegiate players. The progress we see them making is really exciting. They are really committed student-athletes who understand what we want out of them. These kids are ready to take off.
“There was wonderful team chemistry last year, and I’m hoping that continues into the upcoming season.”
That chemistry was evident at the conclusion of the spring season when all 16 members of the women’s soccer team engaged in a community-service project.
They did garden work in the front and back of the building at the Lydia Home Association in Chicago. The Blue Demons raked, planted flowers, tilled soil, re-soiled and placed recycled food on compost bins.
Lydia Home is a successful alternative to state-run foster care and family assistance agencies. Its faith-based approach to helping troubled families and children is unique, reaching people in diverse communities with a continuum of clinical and supportive services that include the Safe Families for Children program, foster care, Learn & Care Preschool, alternative high schools and counseling services.