The DePaul men’s soccer team hasn’t won a game since Sept. 6 when they crushed Fordham 4-0. They haven’t won a Big East conference game since Sept. 27, 2014 when they toppled Seton Hall 3-1.
That all changed against Villanova (6-4-0, 1-2-0) at Wish Field when the Blue Demons (2-10-0, 1-2-0) won 3-2 after going down 2-0 just 19 minutes into the game.
“It means everything,” midfielder Simon Megally said. “It gives us a lot of confidence moving forward that we need…with a lot of games to play.”
Megally was the hero on the day scoring the second and third goals for DePaul. His second goal on the day came in the 84th minute from the penalty spot after he was taken down from behind just inside of the box.
“When it went in, it was just the biggest relief,” Megally said.
The result was important for the Blue Demons because it gave them a crucial conference win against a Villanova team that upset No. 13 Maryland just eight days prior to the trip to Wish Field. Not only that, but to do so after going down 2-0 due to defensive errors shows the resiliency of this team.
“It instills something in us that if something doesn’t go our way, we’re still in the game,” Megally said. “We knew we could do it, but doing it against a top program like Villanova in a conference game is absolutely huge.”
Coach Craig Blazer agrees with Megally about how important this win was for the program moving forward this season.
“The guys deserve this, we’ve been on the bad end of a lot of games and now to have this win really just gives them that new sense of belief that…we can play with anybody,” Blazer said.
While Megally scored the equalizing and game-winning goals, it was freshman Jake Scheper who started the scoring in the 29th minute. It was Scheper’s first collegiate goal of his career and he knew how important it was to get it when he did.
“It feels great,” Scheper said. “Being able to step-up for the team was a great feeling.”
The Blue Demons went down 1-0 in the 8th minute after goalkeeper Mack Robinson had a complete lapse in judgment and came out to the top of his box where there were already two defenders waiting, collided with the duo and gifted Andreas Bartosinski one of the easiest headers he’ll ever have. The second came after Zach Zandi dribbled through the entire DePaul defense and blasted home a shot into the left corner.
Kevin Beyer was the unsung hero of the day in the midfield. His commanding presence as the defensive midfielder allowed his to dictate play and led to the Blue Demons having more crosses and chances this game than they have all season long.
“(Kevin) had an outstanding game,” Blazer said. “He dominated in the air, played simple and his completion rate was really high.”
Even Scheper, who scored the first and assisted the second goal of the day, credits his holding midfielder for providing the spark needed for the comeback victory.
“He came out and pumped us up and brought the pressure defensively,” Scheper said. “That always helps to get us going offensively.”
Confidence is now at an all-time high this season and the Blue Demons will look to continue their newfound winning streak on the road against Seton Hall next week. With six conference games left to play and the best teams already out of the way, the men still have hope they can achieve the goal set out before the season began.
“They still believe we’re in it to qualify for the Big East tournament,” Blazer said.