Oct. 25, 2013
CHICAGO – It is full-speed ahead for DePaul’s playoff push, and the Blue Demons can bring some clarity to their BIG EAST Conference postseason picture on Saturday afternoon.
A victory over Xavier (8-7-1, 1-6-0 in the BIG EAST) in Cincinnati and DePaul (10-3-2, 4-2-1) will clinch the third seed in the BIG EAST Championship tournament. The No. 3 seed will host the No. 6 seed in the opening round of the playoffs on Nov. 5.
There is a remote chance the Blue Demons could wind up with the No. 2 seed, but that would require No. 15/11 Georgetown (13-2-2, 5-1-1) to lose one of its remaining two matches. The No. 2 seed receives a bye into the conference semifinals.
“We’re focusing on our own team and all the factors that we can control,” said DePaul coach Erin Chastain. “First of all comes the game on Saturday.
“Xavier is a tough team that is really hard-working. It is well-coached and has a couple of dangerous players.
“We want to treat this like a playoff game. We hope to pick up from the second half of last Sunday’s Marquette game where we had some of our best soccer that we’ve played to this point in the season.”
DePaul comes into Saturday’s match ranked No. 4 in the NSCAA Northeast Region and No. 1 in the BIG EAST in fewest goals allowed and goals-against average. Blue Demon goalkeeper Alejandria Godinez is No. 3 in the nation in save percentage and No. 22 in GAA.
“The BIG EAST regular season is where you put yourself in a position to gain a higher seed and win playoff games,” Chastain said. “Our team has experience winning playoff games at home and on the road. In the BIG EAST, that’s a difficult task.
“After the top two teams (Marquette and Georgetown), everyone else is pretty even. That’s why Saturday’s game is so important. Gaining home-field advantage in the first round means we play at Wish Field on a surface we are comfortable with and that we won’t have to travel.”
Xavier is led by Tori Doss with three goals and five assists. Ashton Green, Maggie Hare and Taylor Dearbaugh each have a pair of game-winning goals.
Elise Wyatt leads DePaul with six goals, four assists and has scored three game-winners. Ashleigh Goddard has four goals, two assists and a pair of winning goals.
“We’ve been a good road team (4-2-1), and that’s all about the seniors,” Chastain said. “They have played in and won a lot of big road games, and the team is taking their lead from them. The seniors know how to prepare for the mentality you need to have on the road.
“Our team will follow the seniors and not take any group lightly. We all know there is not a lot of room for error on the road.”