DePaul women’s soccer falls short in conference opener to Butler


DePaul Athletics

DePaul freshman defender Bella Hanisch looks to pass the ball in a game against Valparaiso on Feb. 22.

There is something to be said about match fitness and developing an understanding with your teammates early in a season. DePaul has only played one game this season whereas Butler had already played three games heading into their match.

It could explain why the Blue Demons looked second best in the first half as they lost 3-1 to the Bulldogs to begin conference play.

Things headed south quickly for DePaul as freshman forward Alli Leonard scored her second goal of the season in the seventh minute. She took a shot from way outside the box that eluded the outstretched arms of junior goalkeeper Mollie Eriksson. Leonard would pick up her second goal of the half just five minutes later.

DePaul senior forward Morgan Turner would try to respond quickly and forced a save from the Butler goalkeeper only a minute later. It would be the only shot on goal the Blue Demons had in the first half.

Butler seemingly put the game out of reach in the 34th minute. A cross came in from the right side of DePaul’s defense, which Eriksson was able to parry away. The ball was loose inside the box, leading to a bit of a scramble. After a flurry of attempts to clear the ball, sophomore midfielder Becky Dean would manage to get the last touch in front of goal.

However, the Blue Demons looked like a different team in the second half.

What Butler was doing in the first 45 minutes — pressuring up high, not giving DePaul any time on the ball and forcing desperate clearances — DePaul was now doing to them.

The opening 15 minutes of the final half was all DePaul. They were creating danger on the Butler side of the pitch. Butler’s defense hung in there, not allowing that final pass that would have led to a goal. 

Butler survived the DePaul onslaught but the Blue Demons finally broke through in the 75th minute. Off a corner kick, senior defender Gwen Walker managed to get a foot on the ball for her first goal of the season. 

Despite being down two goals, DePaul kept fighting to get back into the game. But Butler’s defense stood firm and cut down any sort of threat.

Sophomore forward Kristin Boos led the Blue Demons with three shots. Turner was right behind her with two. Shots told the story for DePaul, who finished with 10 shots total. Of those, eight, including three on goal, came in the second half.

The loss drops DePaul to 1-1-0 on the season. The Blue Demons’ next game will be their home opener against Marquette on March 7.