Coming off two straight Big East conference wins for the first time since 2009, confidence was at an all-time high for the DePaul men’s soccer team.
The Blue Demons (3-11-0, 2-3-0) welcomed the No. 10 Georgetown Hoyas (9-2-2, 5-0-0) to Wish Field following a pair of wins over Villanova and Seton Hall. The Hoyas left Chicago 1-0 victors and extended their own undefeated streak to 10 matches.
“Georgetown is ranked No. 10 in the country for a reason,” goalkeeper Mack Robinson said. “We’re coming off a two-game win streak and we were ready for an upset to say the least…it didn’t come today.”
DePaul held one of the strongest offenses in the Big East scoreless for 75 minutes until Arun Basuljevic latched onto an Alex Muyl deflection near the penalty spot and slotted home the decisive goal. Robinson thinks the team needs to work on not giving up goals like this as often.
“A lot of our goals we’ve given up this year have been very scrappy goals,” Robinson said. “The little details like just clearing it the first time [are important]. It’s tough to stay in a good position when the ball is rebounding all over the place in front of you.”
The Hoyas outshot the Blue Demons 23-5, 13 of which came in the second half. Despite statistically doing better in the first half, coach Craig Blazer said the team really stepped up for the final 45 minutes.
“We played a better second half…even though (we gave up) the goal in the second half,” Blazer said. “We did a little bit better of managing (their possession)…and were able to establish more possession in the midfield.”
Caleb Pothast and the rest of the DePaul defense rarely had much time to rest with the high-powered Hoyas pressuring them throughout the entire match. The Hoyas have one of the best midfielders in the conference and strong strikers to play in front of them; something Pothast knew was going to be difficult before it even started.
“We knew going into this game today that we’d have to play a defensive game, have a defensive mindset and work together because the defensive side would create the offensive side,” Pothast said. “Together we all stepped back, defended together and held the No. 10 team in the nation…for 75 minutes.”
Blazer and his team know every game is important and he said the team is growing with each result, win or lose.
“Our guys are committed to the idea of qualifying for the Big East tournament,” Blazer said. “The guys are generating a better understanding of how to play and the results show.”
While no loss is good, this was certainly a loss the Blue Demons can use to build off of and move forward. It marked the second time this season DePaul has held a top-10 team to just one goal and that’s kept the fire burning within the squad.
“Going to Creighton, the No. 1 team in the nation…then coming to play the No. 10 team in the nation and [doing the same], it’s unbelievable,” Pothast said.
“The guys are disappointed, but not defeated by any means,” Robinson said. “We really think with what we’ve seen against some top-10 teams in the nation that we can play, we can win. That’s what we’re going to do.”