The Blue Demons (7-6-2) men’s soccer team lost to Providence (9-5-0) 2-1 Saturday.
Before the game, DePaul honored seniors midfielder Kevin Beyer, midfielder Ryan Martire, midfielder Simon Megally, forward Erik Rodriguez and defender Caleb Pothast.
Unfortunately, leading scorer for DePaul, Rodriguez, sat out during the game due to an injury. Prior to the match, Rodriguez had scored the last three goals for the Blue Demons, two of which were game winners against Seton Hall and Georgetown respectively.
“Erik (Rodriguez) has had a great season and we’re looking forward to getting him on Wednesday,” coach Craig Blazer said.” He’ll add a little bit of that continuity that he’s given us against Seton Hall and against Georgetown.”
Early in the game, Providence set a high pace for the match by recording their first shot in the second minute of the game.
The Friars came into the game against DePaul on a four-match winning streak. During their streak, the team recorded two shutouts and only let up two goals.
Providence continued to prod DePaul’s defense, and in the ninth minute put their first shot on goal which was saved by junior goalkeeper Quentin Low. Low had let only one ball past him during DePaul’s two-match winning streak against Big East teams.
Although Providence started out quicker, the Blue Demons found their feet and matched the pace in this offensive face-off. Junior midfielder Hans Wustling centered the ball into the Friar’s goal box causing both teams to scramble for the ball. Eventually, the ball found its way to Martire who put a knee on the ball that almost trickled into the net, but the six-foot-three sophomore goalie Colin Miller dove over his defensemen to make the save.
The Providence back line was very active for most of the game. The Friars chose to generate plays by using their defensemen to send balls deep into DePaul’s half of the field. Likewise, Miller was very active in the net. The goalkeeper would rush out to grab balls well outside the goal area, but DePaul was unable to take advantage of Miller’s aggressiveness.
After a ball was sent deep into DePaul’s zone, Pothast blocked a key shot that most likely would’ve scored for the Friars 37th minute during the first half. However, Pothast’s block set up a corner kick that resulted in Friars’ freshman defender Liam Wilson’s first goal of the season.
Before the half, Friars’ keeper Miller recorded two more saves totaling at three before the half. Low stopped one more shot for the Blue Demons.
In the 51st minute, a DePaul foul inside their box resulted in a penalty kick for the Friars. Providence’s leading scorer, senior midfielder Julian Gressel, buried a ball in the right side of the net and put the Friars up 2-0.
However, DePaul soon took hold of the offense. Late in the game, DePaul was able to hold the Friars in their zone for minutes at a time. The Blue Demons generated quality chances off of the seven corner kicks given up by Providence, but were unable to score.
DePaul’s best chance generated from the corner kicks was a ball that ricocheted off of the crossbar after a shot by freshman forward Stijn Van der Slot.
The Blue Demons continued to apply pressure to the resilient Providence defense no avail until late in the 86th minute of the match when Megally broke away from the Friars’ defense and scored.
“Kevin (Beyer) always sees me make the run and sends me a great ball,” Megally said. “Then I just cut into the right and shot and luckily it went in.” Beyer assisted Megally on the play by sending the ball from DePaul’s half to Megally, who was sprinting toward the goal.
“A lot of it is making sure I’m on the same page as the runner, in this case Simon (Megally),” Beyer said. “That comes from playing with a guy for so long. You recognize when to pass (to them).”
However, the Blue Demons weren’t able to find another late goal and Providence won 2-1.
“The way we fought back and the way this team was resilient, we didn’t give away many chances on the back,” Blazer said. “We did well at the end to make it 2-1 (. . .), but we’ll regroup and get ready for the game on Wednesday.”
The Blue Demons only have three more games left in their season, and are still looking to gain a spot in the Big East tournament. The men play their last home game of the season against Butler (9-4-1) Wednesday.