They finally did it.
The DePaul men’s soccer team ended a 12-match winless streak stretching back to Sept. 27 of last year with a 4-0 thumping of Fordham in the season home opener.
In doing so, the Blue Demons also recorded the first, second, third and fourth goals of the season after being outscored 6-0 in the first three matches.
For a team that won both preseason matches 3-2 and 3-1 respectively, it wouldn’t seem that was an issue. But once the regular season kicked off, the goals vanished. That hasn’t diminished the team’s confidence, though.
“The belief was there that we could score and we knew we could,” Simon Megally said. “I said to the guys yesterday, ‘I know we’re going to get one and then the floodgates are going to open.’ It was just getting past that one barrier to get that and then the confidence was high.”
Megally and Erik Rodriguez scored a pair of goals each to give DePaul the win the team had been craving this season, despite it still being early. Rodriguez said the team was excited to be in front of the home crowd finally and get the season rolling.
“It’s been a tough three game stretch,” Rodriguez said. “We hadn’t gotten a win and today we just did it for pride.”
It was a testy match from the opening whistle with both teams playing extremely physical, despite the blistering heat on the turf. As the game progressed, Fordham’s tackles gradually became harder and harder, resulting in four yellow cards in the second half.
“At the beginning, tackles were more fair and as it got later, tempers flared,” Megally said. “I think the ref did a good job protecting our players and giving out cards because I think if he didn’t do that, they would have come in even harder.”
“It was exhausting out there and the turf was really hot. Being down 3-0 or 4-0, the other team was getting mad about that so we tried to pass the ball a lot and quickly to avoid tackles,” Rodriguez added.
Head coach Craig Blazer was just as excited, if not more than the team, to notch a win under his belt and end the almost yearlong winless streak. However, he said he is not going to let it get to his head because the season is just getting underway.
“(I’m) really encouraged with our guys’ level of focus and response. The season is early, we’re four games in and sometimes it takes a little time to get going,” Blazer said. “We’re going to have this win under our belt for the week and then we’re going to get back to work on Tuesday.”
The men are in action again on Sept. 13 when they welcome the undefeated University of Nebraska-Omaha who are fresh off a pair of home wins this weekend, including an impressive 1-0 shutout of No. 13 UC Irvine.