Aug 13, 2013
CHICAGO – The sense of anticipation is palpable as DePaul women’s soccer kicks off its 2013 season with a 6:30 p.m. exhibition match Wednesday at Northwestern.
There are two key areas to focus on for Blue Demon fans heading out to scenic Lakeside Field in Evanston.
First of all, DePaul coach Erin Chastain will be looking for the team’s rock-solid defense to maintain its high level of performance from last season---led by Preseason All-BIG EAST Conference defender Kylie Nordness.
In addition, a recharged offense would like to alleviate some of the pressure on the backline and goalkeeper Megan Pyrz.
“Our defense performed really well in a lot of games last year,” Chastain said. “We’ll continue to have that same kind of commitment defensively all over the field.”
Northwestern returns 10 starters from last year’s 7-10-2 team and is led by its top three returning scorers in Kate Allen (seven goals), Niki Sebo (five goals) and Georgia Waddle (four goals).
Allen has been the Wildcats’ leading scorer the last three seasons and has 18 career goals. Waddle is the daughter of ex-Bears wide receiver and sports-talk radio personality Tom Waddle.
The Blue Demons return nine starters from last year’s 9-10-2 team that advanced to the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals. Rachel Pitman and Sarah Gorden are back to solidify the backline while the offense is headed by Elise Wyatt (five goals), Ashleigh Goddard (three goals, four assists), Amber Paul (three goals) and Natasa Radosavljevic (two goals, three assists).
“We have some attacking players who are going to be scoring threats for us,” Chastain said. “The formations that we play should help enable them to have success. We’ll have a better picture of where the offense is at after Wednesday’s game.”
Chastain likes what she sees from preseason training.
“The energy level and enthusiasm have been really good since the start of training,” Chastain said. “Going into our exhibition game, I like the leadership of the group and the team chemistry seems good. In watching our practices, this team has a lot of potential.”
Key to that potential is seniors Nordness, Goddard, Rebekah Roller, Radosavljevic, Erin Pekovitch and Kimberly Denne.
“It’s nice to have the kind of experience we have with our senior class,” Chastain said. “They are leading the way and setting the tone of competitiveness at training.
“The seniors also do all the right things off the field. Overall, they are doing a really great job.”
Wednesday is the time for all of that to carry over onto the soccer field.
“We’re pretty excited about playing this first match,” Chastain said. “It’s always good to get out and play someone other than your own teammates.
“It’s time to see what we can do. We’ll find out what we’re doing well and what we’ll need to focus on for the remainder of the preseason.”
DePaul opens its regular season on Aug. 23 with a nonconference match at Valparaiso.