Oct. 11, 2013
CHICAGO – You couldn’t ask for a more intriguing BIG EAST Conference soccer match than Saturday night’s showdown in Omaha, Neb.
Both DePaul (8-2-2) and Creighton (9-3-1) have identical 2-1-1 conference records and are tied for third place as they battle at 7 p.m. for precious points and a berth in the BIG EAST Championship.
The Blue Demons will be making their first appearance at Morrison Stadium. The Bluejays’ home field is a $13 million facility that opened in 2004 with a seating capacity of 6,000 that features a state-of-the-art video scoreboard, luxury suites and covered chair-back seating.
Creighton women’s soccer led the Missouri Valley Conference in attendance the last seven years before joining the BIG EAST this season.
“Saturday is going to be a really exciting matchup,” said DePaul coach Erin Chastain. “We are tied in the standings. Creighton has found a way to get results this season.
“It will be our first time playing at Creighton in their stadium. They have a turf field which we are comfortable with, and it’s going to be a night game.
“Considering all the factors, this is going to be a great match.”
One of the biggest factors is the offensive-defensive contrast. Creighton is third in the BIG EAST in goals with 32 while DePaul is first in goals-against average and also tied for first in fewest goals allowed at seven.
It shapes up as a terrific confrontation between the Blue Demon back line of Kylie Nordness, Rachel Pitman, Nina Kodros and Brianna Ryce versus Creighton’s Kirstyn Corder (seven goals), Kelsey O’Donnell (four goals), Paige Jarsombeck (four goals) and Jill Richgels (six assists).
The Bluejays have outscored their opponents 32-14, outshot them 208-174 and hold a 110-80 advantage in shots on goal. Twice this season, they have scored six goals in a game.
Both Blue Demon goalkeeper Alejandria Godinez and her counterpart Danielle Rice both have 66 saves on the season.
“Points in the standings are incredibly important, especially as the BIG EAST has proven that anyone can beat anyone on a given day,” Chastain said. “You take each game as it comes and try to come away with as many points as possible. Try to maintain the same mentality whether you’re home or on the road.
“You want to put yourself in the best position possible by the end of conference play. At the same time, you can only control your own results. You don’t want to rely on other teams.”
That’s exactly what the Blue Demons did last week with conference wins over Seton Hall and Villanova.
“Head-to-head matchups carry even more significance,” Chastain said. “In the event that two teams are tied at the end of the BIG EAST season, the head-to-head result is the first tiebreaker.
“It was important to win those games last week against Seton Hall and Villanova for that reason. Since those games were at home, we felt they were must games for us to win.”
DePaul’s defense continues to be rock-solid. The Blue Demons are No. 3 in the nation in save percentage and No. 15 in the country in goals-against average.
“Our back line continues to improve, and our backs are getting more comfortable working together,” Chastain said. “I’m seeing a nice connection developing between our back line and our goalkeeper.
“We’d like to generate more scoring chances from an attacking perspective. This past week we had some good chances, and we’d like to capitalize on those this weekend.”