Down to 10 players, DePaul falls to Alabama in non-conference finale


Senior Franny Cerny races past Loyola midfielder Abby Swanson while picking up an assist for DePaul’s only goal in a 1-0 win. Xavier Ortega | The Depaulia

A tough week for DePaul (4-3-2) ended in frustrating fashion with a 1-0 loss to Alabama (6-3-1), in their first ever meeting, on a hot day Sunday afternoon at Wish Field.

DePaul found themselves having to play the last 27 minutes with 10 players after Defender Gwen Walker was sent off in the 63rd minute after fouling Alabama forward Abbie Boswell on a  clear goal-scoring opportunity. The Blue Demons had a strategy all afternoon of trying to be aggressive especially after they turned the ball over.

“I think it was high press to get to every ball first, because if we could get the ball back as soon as we lost it, then we are not caught nor outnumbered,” senior captain Franny Cerny said. “High intensity right away is what we tried to do.”

Cerny led the Blue Demons with five total shots, including two on goal. She occupied Alabama’s centerbacks up top, but the Crimson Tide outnumbered DePaul in the midfield, thus forward Cerny played in a deeper role to give the midfield support.

Substitutes Madeline Frick and Jade Eriksen-Russo added a different dynamic for DePaul offensively stretching Alabama’s defense out wide giving Cerny and at times with Frick overlapping, more room to operate within the 18-yard box. Despite this, the Blue Demons were not able to find their way into the scoresheet.

“We had a lot of shots and created really good opportunities. We didn’t finish our chances,” head coach Erin Chastain said. “I thought they [DePaul] fought hard and tried to attack the right spaces and they really were assertive in their attacking decisions.”

Near the 78th minute, the Crimson Tide caught DePaul on a counter-attack, as Boswell launched a deep ball into the penalty box, and Emma Thomson headed in the winning goal. After that, DePaul pressed forward but could not get the tying goal.

“Who cares if we go down 2-0, we just want to throw numbers up and try to get a goal back,” Cerny said. “We did get good chances. We couldn’t get a goal at the end, but we were close.”

Within the last dying minute of regulation, DePaul mustered one last shot, the only shot they had after Alabama scored. Franny needled a pass on the far post to Russo, but the ball went just inches above the post.

Chastain’s squad finished the non-conference schedule with a record of 4-3-2 and will begin their conference season on Saturday at Seton Hall. Last year’s meeting ended in a 1-1 double overtime draw, DePaul leads the all-time series, 8-2-3.

“It’s a new season, and you’re fighting for points,” Chastain said. “We are opening at Seton Hall, so all week we will be preparing for that game, and that’s going to be the most important game of the year.”