DePaul men’s soccer falls to Georgetown offense, settles for draw

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DePaul men’s soccer falls to Georgetown offense, settles for draw

Senior midfielder Zach El-Shafei (left) fights for the ball against Georgetown junior defender Sean O'Hearn on Friday at Wish Field. DePaul tied Georgetown 0-0 in double-overtime.

Senior midfielder Zach El-Shafei (left) fights for the ball against Georgetown junior defender Sean O'Hearn on Friday at Wish Field. DePaul tied Georgetown 0-0 in double-overtime.

Xavier Ortega / The DePaulia

Senior midfielder Zach El-Shafei (left) fights for the ball against Georgetown junior defender Sean O'Hearn on Friday at Wish Field. DePaul tied Georgetown 0-0 in double-overtime.

Xavier Ortega / The DePaulia

Xavier Ortega / The DePaulia

Senior midfielder Zach El-Shafei (left) fights for the ball against Georgetown junior defender Sean O'Hearn on Friday at Wish Field. DePaul tied Georgetown 0-0 in double-overtime.

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DePaul men’s soccer had the opportunity to pull off something special in front of their home fans on Friday, defeating No. 5 ranked Georgetown. Instead, the Blue Demons had to settle for a 0-0 draw after 110 minutes of action at Wish Field. 

With the Hoyas sitting atop the Big East standings entering this week, as well as having a top 10 offense nationally, the Blue Demons’ game plan had to be altered in order to contain Georgetown’s attack. 

With DePaul being pinned back in their own half of the field for most of the game, the Blue Demons made it hard for the Hoyas to break them down. DePaul would either have everyone behind the ball or get 10 players back on defense, leaving just one attacker up the field. 

“I think us in the back, like it sounds maybe pretty dumb, but we are pretty comfortable with defending,” defender Max de Bruijne said after the game. “We got some big guys in the back, so us three in the back, or five in the back, is comfortable. But what we got to get used to after defending those long balls, getting the ball on the ground and play from there, and it didn’t really work out today.”

Xavier Ortega / The DePaulia
Freshman defender Dan Iscra walks after a double-overtime tie with no goals against Georgetown University on Friday at Wish Field.

When DePaul would retain possession of the ball, the Hoyas’ press and quick closing down of the ball would force the Blue Demons to play a long ball up the field. With few options being available for DePaul on the attacking end, Georgetown would win the aerial battles and, as a result, regained possession to start another wave of pressure. 

The few times the Blue Demons did manage to get ahold of the ball and get into Georgetown territory, their most dangerous player of the day was senior midfielder Zach El-Shafei. 

“It doesn’t change much; I know we each got to work for the team so I got to play my role,” El-Shafei said. “I had my opportunities, even though we defended a lot, I probably should have scored one at least. It didn’t change much, I had chances, but I’m happy with our performance overall.”

While chances were limited for the Blue Demons on Friday, only getting off two shots against the Hoyas, El-Shafei was presented with a golden opportunity in the first half when a cross was played into the box and the midfielder made a darting run into the box  — but, while wide open, his right foot couldn’t tap the ball into the goal.

Xavier Ortega / The DePaulia
Junior midfielder Timmy Iscra (left) stands with his twin brother Dan Iscra (right), a freshman defender.

DePaul’s only two shots of the game would come in the first half, with the final 65 minutes of the game proving to be even more frustrating for the home side. 

Regardless of the offense struggling to create much, head coach Mark Plotkin was pleased with his team’s performance  — especially against one of the best teams in the country. 

“It definitely gives our guys a ton of confidence, Plotkin said. “We’ve been putting in some pretty good performances the last few weeks, especially against Notre Dame earlier this week. I’m just glad the guys were able to get a point today and get the result. Georgetown is fantastic; there’s so many quality players and so good on the ball, pinned us back. Our guys kind of just did what we do, scrap and fight, and give us a chance to win.”

DePaul will be back in action next Saturday when they travel to face Butler.