Jared Blincow’s equalizer in the 75th minute ensured the men’s soccer team would get their share of the spoils following Tuesday’s 1-1 double overtime draw with Valparaiso at Wish Field.
Blincow netted his first goal of the season thanks in large part to freshman Michael Kozielek, whose header across the face of goal was deflected in Blincow’s path by Valpo keeper Kyle Zobeck. The junior centerback wasted no time in pouncing on the opportunity presented, smashing the rebound into back of the net off a corner.
“I’m always looking to score,” Blincow said of being up in the box on set pieces. “It was all reaction. I didn’t have time to think.”
Blincow’s goal leveled the score following a wonder strike by Charles Barden in the 66th minute. The junior midfielder ripped a shot from about 25 yards that found upper 90s. Just like the team’s 1-0 defeat to Villanova, goalkeeper Eric Sorby had no chance of getting a touch on the shot.
“Their goal was a result of a turnover on our part,” head coach Craig Blazer said. “We had a lack of pressure, gave (Barden) 20 yards of space. But give him credit, it was an amazing goal.”
The draw comes following a 1-0 defeat to Villanova on Saturday with a similar story: DePaul controls long stretches of the game, dictating the tempo of the match, but are unable to break down a stingy defense from the opposition.
Blincow’s goal in this match, however, was only the tenth goal given up by Valparaiso (1-6-4) who came into the match on an eight-game winless streak consisting of scoreless or one-goal games.
The Blue Demons (3-8-2) couldn’t muster enough chances in the match to break down the Crusaders’ backline and grab the winner despite good combination play and large spells of possession, Blazer said.
“We always play to win, so we’re disappointed we didn’t,” he said. “But with the season we’re having, we’re pleased with the performance. It seems like we keep giving up amazing goals, but sometimes that’s the way it goes.”
Goalkeeper Eric Sorby, who posted three saves in the match, echoed that sentiment.
“We put in a good effort. We played the way we wanted to play,” he said. “We are playing well and I think it showed character to battle back.”
The Crusaders nearly took the lead in the 25th minute through Jaymie Bullard. The senior’s effort, however, clattered off Sorby’s far post to keep the match scoreless as both sides failed to create quality goal-scoring opportunities.
The draw, meanwhile, snaps a three-game losing streak for the men’s soccer team, who will next head to Rutgers for a Friday night Big East match-up at Rutgers on Oct. 12. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.
Antonio Aguilar and Thiago Ganancio returned to the starting XI for DePaul after both missing out at the weekend.
Shots were broken down in favor of the visitors 12-11, as were corners 6-4.
Ray De Leon’s return to fitness continued as the junior logged the full 120 minutes in the 1-1 draw.
DePaul is now 2-4-2 at Wish Field this season.