DePaul drops non-conference finale to UIC


DePaul Athletics

In their last rehearsal before beginning conference play, the Blue Demons (3-3) fell to UIC 2-0, on Tuesday afternoon at Wish Field.

In their last rehearsal before beginning conference play, the Blue Demons (3-3) fell to UIC 2-0, on Tuesday afternoon at Wish Field.

DePaul earned six corner kicks but couldn’t convert on their set pieces. After falling behind 1-0, Harry Hilling took back-to-back corners but three minutes after that senior forward Max Todd scored the Flames first goal.

“Going into the game, we knew UIC was really good on the transition,” Hilling said. “Unfortunately they caught us on a transition moment for the first goal.”

With two minutes left in the first half, UIC midfielder Jesus Perez positioned a corner kick towards the near post, finding fellow midfielder Peter Becht for header doubling the Flames’ lead.

The first half got physical with neither team having a sharp shape in their formation. DePaul committed eight fouls, while UIC committed five fouls. Brayden Callipari received a yellow card, nearly a minute shy from halftime. Hilling was proud of his teams efforted, but lamented their inability to find a goal.

“We took it to them in the second half, we came out and responded,” Hilling said. “It was just unfortunate we couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net, but taking from it, the guys are learning to work hard.”

DePaul had a chance to pull within a goal 11 minutes into the second half, Hilling had a dangerous header on goal saved by senior goalkeeper Sawyer Jackman. He created another chance in the 70th minute when he crossed a corner kick to sophomore midfielder Istvan Wilhelms, but got his shot blocked.

UIC had a chance to make it 3-0 late in the game, but Drew Nuelle made an extended penalty kick save from Jesus Perez with a minute left.

DePaul kept stretching the Flames’ defense by playing overlaps on the left wing, pinning UIC’s fullbacks on their own half, but dominating possession early on made the Blue Demons vulnerable on defending counter attacks.

“I thought portions of the game we possessed the ball pretty well and created some good chances,” head coach Mark Plotkin said. “When you play a really good team, and you make a couple of mistakes: one off a set piece where they countered perfectly, and another defending on a corner kick, they are going capitalize on those mistakes.”

Besides seniors Hilling and Michael Mojarro, the Blue Demons have youth in their starting lineup, two freshmen starting alongside four sophomores. The Blue Demons finished 3-3 in non conference play, but Plotkin said after this defeat, his team will be motivated for their next match.

“For us, it’s just focusing on those little details, those moments of execution,” Plotkin said. “It shows that the whole 89 minutes can be good but if you make a couple mistakes in one minute, as we did today, you can lose a game.”

DePaul has now lost two straight meetings with UIC, after losing 3-2 in double overtime last season.