Sept. 10, 2013
CHICAGO – Getting off to a fast start is critical in a sport whose season comes and goes so quickly.
It’s only the first week of classes at DePaul and already one-third of the women’s soccer season will be completed after the Blue Demons take on Green Bay at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Wish Field.
DePaul has won four of its first five matches and will be shooting for its fifth win in a row against the Phoenix (2-2-2).
“Having early success can boost a team going forward,” said DePaul coach Erin Chastain. “It’s good for the team’s confidence to be creating chances and scoring goals.
“When we’ve had successful years, early confidence was so important. This season, our forwards are getting good chances and finishing. I watch Elise Wyatt in training, and she is playing with confidence. Elise is definitely composed out there. She is being really thoughtful about her decision-making on the field.
“Rebekah Roller is doing an outstanding job for us in the midfield, and she is playing with a lot of confidence.”
Going to more of an attack formation has resulted in the Blue Demons outscoring the opposition 11-3. DePaul’s forwards (Wyatt, Natasa Radosavljevic, Ana Greik, Erin Pekovitch, MaryKate Cicinelli) have scored nine of the team’s 11 goals and have five of the six assists.
“All of our forwards want to score goals,” Chastain said. “That’s your job as a forward. The backs are responsible for preventing goals. The forwards want to contribute by getting points and creating dangerous chances.
“This is a hard-working group with good leadership from the seniors. They know how important the beginning of the season is in creating your identity and having a successful nonconference season in preparation for the BIG EAST.
“The team attitude has been great. We had a specific plan of how we wanted to go at Milwaukee (1-0 win) last Friday based on that team’s strengths and weaknesses. Our group bought into it and was able to execute based on the scouting report.”
Green Bay is coming off a 1-1, double-overtime tie at Drake on Sunday and is led by Hekla Palmadottir (two goals, seven points) and Heidi Hartmann (three assists, five points). The Phoenix has outshot teams 93-66 and possesses a 36-35 edge in shots on goal.
“Green Bay is a dangerous opponent that is organized and well-coached,” Chastain said. “They have proven they can play against some big-time teams, and this will be another good challenge for our team.”
Chastain has been impressed with her team’s growth and development.
“The thing I am most pleased with is that no matter where they are on the field or what position they’re asked to play, everyone is trying hard to make this team better,” Chastain said. “That’s been such a big part of our fast start---players being willing to do whatever it takes to help the team.
“Brianna Ryce is a good example of that. Despite never playing center back in her career, she has fully embraced that role. That’s a difficult thing to do, especially because she is so used to being an attacking player.
“Kylie Nordness has done a great job of being a leader back there for us. She is as tough as nails and sets the tone for the defensive group. Rachel Pitman and Nina Kodros are doing a nice job on the outside helping with our attack."