Blue Demons fall to Villanova in first round of Big East Tournament


Alexa Sandler

DePaul junior forward Jade Eriksen-Russo goes for the ball in the box against Marquette on Friday at Wish Field.

After conceding a goal 28 minutes into the first half, the women’s soccer team concluded their season following a 1-0 loss at Villanova in the first round of the Big East tournament. The Blue Demons were coming off a hot 4-0 win against Marquette on Friday and had just one day to turn their focus to the fourth seed Wildcats.

This was the second time that the Blue Demons traveled to Villanova, PA for a match. They had lost 1-3 on Oct. 13. Their match against the Wildcats on Sunday dropped the team to a final record of 8-8-3 on the season. 

The game on Sunday was closer than the one earlier in the season, but the same result of a loss came out. The Blue Demons were pressured early on, with goalkeeper Mollie Eriksson having to make five saves in the first 25 minutes. With the relentless pressure, it was about time that one goal came through just a few minutes later. 

Villanova mustered up all ten of their shots in the first half, while DePaul had five and four in each half with five of those coming on goal. A flurry of pressure came between six and twelve minutes in the first half, Eriksson made three saves and the Blue Demons defended against multiple set pieces. 

The Blue Demons were on a hot streak coming into this game. The four games leading up to the postseason included three big wins and a gritty 2-1 loss against Xavier. Yet the Blue Demon’s offense could not find the back of the net against Villanova.

This was the eighth straight time that head coach Erin Chastain has gone to the Big East tournament with her DePaul squad. Last season, they traveled to Cincinnati, OH and fell to Xavier in penalty kicks. The last time DePaul made it past the first round of the tournament was in 2014 where the team was 17-1-4 overall, reaching the NCAA tournament. 

DePaul’s defense kept them within striking distance throughout the second half, but they could not get through the Villanova defense to find an equalizing goal. Even with their growth through the year, the team’s 2019 campaign came to an end.