[dropcap]D[/dropcap]ePaul women’s soccer head coach Erin Chastain knew what Illinois State was capable of before Thursday’s game at Wish Field, remembering a 4-3 overtime loss from last season. So when the Blue Demons went down 1-0 in the 25th minute, Chastain needed her team to overcome a slow start.
She wouldn’t have to wait long.
On the following possession, true freshman Alexa Ben scored from six feet out to tie the game. Senior Elise Wyatt added two more goals as the Blue Demons earned a 3-1 victory over the Red Birds.
With the win, No. 25 DePaul improved to 5-0 tying a university record set in 2001 for best start.
“I’m excited about our start and the win for our team, that’s a huge win for our team,” Chastain said. “I’d be surprised if they don’t win their conference. It was just a good soccer game. They had chances. We had chances. Anytime you can score three goals against a good team, we’ll take it.”
Chastain said her team prepared for Illinois State, but it took them too long to get into the game. She said the first goal let the Blue Demons breathe and compose themselves.
In the 36th minute, Wyatt hit her first goal of the game off a deflection from Ben at the top of the box. The shot went up and curved into the goal.
“It was a really nice goal for myself,” Wyatt said. “Once they scored that first goal, we realized that this team was here to win. One of the goals we set for ourselves was to be undefeated on our home pitch so we responded very well.
“We just realized that we are a good team and we’re capable of beating anyone,” she added.
The Blue Demons also had a strong second half, controlling the tempo and remaining aggressive. Wyatt found her second goal when teammate Ana Greilk unselfishly passed up a goal and the junior forward put it in the net.
“Elise really stepped up for us,” Chastain said. “She and I talked yesterday and she knows how important she is to our team. I think it’s just great for her confidence to score two really great goals and create so many chances for us.”
This was DePaul’s second win at home this season. The Blue Demons were ranked this week No. 25 nationally by the NCSAA/Continental National Rankings due to an upset over No. 11 Nebraska.
DePaul next travels to Milwaukee to play Milwaukee at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
“I think it’s nice to show we can settle down (after a slow start),” Chastain said. “It means our seniors are trying to set the tempo. I just think that needs to happen sooner. But again, I couldn’t be happier with the result today.”