Senior defender Rachel Pitman said earlier in the week that the Blue Demons were still looking for a full, 90-minute performance.
Ninety minutes and a 4-0 victory over Loyola-Chicago later and head coach Erin Chastain was ready to call it the first complete team performance of the year.
“This is probably the first ninety minutes we’ve put together and probably the first really good start we’ve had,” she said. “I think the group really stepped up and was ready at the first whistle.”
The Blue Demons stepping up early was rewarded with a sixth minute goal. Freshman midfielder Jessie Schmidt got the pass to junior forward Elise Wyatt, who split the defense and earned an open shot from 15 yards out, just inside the box. Her shot went near post and in for her fourth goal of the year, putting DePaul up 1-0.
The goal also moved Wyatt to second all-time on DePaul women’s soccer career goal list with her 16th career goal.
“(Chastain) has been telling me to shoot and be selfish so I was thinking ‘okay, I’m going to shoot this,’” Wyatt said. “Then I was able to put it away.”
DePaul continued to pile on in the 15th minute when they took advantage of another Loyola defensive miscue. Senior defender Rachel Pitman sent in a low cross that was met by an unmarked Alexa Ben, who calmly finished for the score. Her third goal of the year put the Blue Demons up 2-0.
The Demons almost made it 3-0 in the 23rd minute when a cross from Ben was headed towards goal but it was saved off the line by a sliding clearance from junior defender Kristin Rodriguez.
Alexa Ben continued to terrorize the Ramblers’ defense in the 30th minute when she took the ball down the flank, before making a turn inside and garnering an open shot just inside the box. Her far post shot, however, was not able to get past the hands of senior goalkeeper Monica Gonyo.
The second half started off just as well as the first for DePaul. In the 50th minute, Ben took the ball from the top of the box and sent it out wide to Pitman, who sent in a cross towards the back post. Wyatt was there to convert the scoring chance for her second goal of the day and her fifth of the year. DePaul took a 3-0 lead with forty minutes still to play.
As Erin Chastain started to give her substitutes more playing time with the score so divided, Loyola was able to pressure the Blue Demon defense more in the second half. The Blue Demons still only allowed one shot on goal as the half progressed, keeping their shutout intact.
In the 87th minute, Amber Paul put the icing on the cake for the Blue Demons, putting in a side-volley from the middle of the box for the score. Ana Greik had the assist on the cross, her fourth assist of the year. That would be the final score of the game, giving DePaul the 4-0 victory.
Chastain credited the continued pressure of the Blue Demons in not allowing Loyola to get back into the game after the first goal.
“I think sometimes we can see an early goal and see the team let down but they didn’t do that,” she said. “They kept building and creating a lot of chances.”
The Blue Demons only have one more non-conference game before they take on Georgetown in the Big East opener, a game that Wyatt is hoping the team can bring their momentum to.
“We definitely have solid momentum going forward,” she said. “Cincinnati is a very good team and that will be another test for us leading into Georgetown.”
DePaul faces Cincinnati Thursday at Wish Field before welcoming Georgetown on Sept. 25 in the Big East opener.