DePaul Women’s Soccer Season Preview: “Win the Warm-up and Compete Everyday”


The DePaulia Staff

Junior Defender Grace Phillpotts clears a ball during a win over UIC last season.

DePaul’s women’s soccer is back and ready to rebound from a losing season. They are looking to take the next step forward with second year head coach Michele O’Brien leading the way. 

“We have a really motivated group and last year, we lost a lot of close games,” O’Brien said. “Just having that strong competitive edge every time you step onto the field for training and just wanting to win and compete in every moment is what exactly this group has.”

DePaul will be entering this season without star player Morgan Turner since she just recently graduated. She made a huge impact not only on the field, but in the locker room as well and was responsible for 36% of the Blue Demons points last season and led the team in goals with nine. 

“Morgan was great, she was a competitor and wanted to win every time,” O’Brien said. “She spent five years in our program, she knew what it took and I think the players under her followed her and watched how she did that. I still talked about her before our last game and how that’s what it takes and you need to want to win the warm up and compete.”

Replacing Turner offensively will be a tough task, but O’Brien and the rest of the Blue Demons feel comfortable with their in house talent and 2022 recruiting class. Boos and incoming England freshman recruit Freya Jupp have come up as names to keep an eye out for this season as the heir apparent goal striker to replace Turner.

“I think just with the addition of [Jupp], our new freshman and other younger players stepping up into a new role, our attack is going to change,” Boos said. “I’ve already been performing well, scoring a lot of goals and all of us up top have been performing well too. I’m really confident that I’ll get a lot of goals and everyone else across the board will score a lot of goals too.” 

If DePaul wants to come out on the opposite side of their one score games, they’ll need to rely on returning graduate student Mollie Eriksson carrying the team’s success on her shoulders. She will be entering her fifth year as goalkeeper of the Blue Demons.

Last season, Eriksson saved 75.7% of her goals, while the opposing goalkeeper saved 80.9% of their goals. Being a goalkeeper comes with a lot of pressure, and Eriksson is aware how much of an impact she has on the team’s overall success.

“Fortunately being a goalkeeper even just to center back, your mistakes are highlighted on a different level,” Erikkson said. “A striker might miss an open net, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you go down a goal.”

The Big East recently released the women’s soccer preseason coaches’ poll, where DePaul was projected to finish ninth out of 12 places in conference for 2022.

The Blue Demons ended up in eighth place in the 2021 conference just a year ago during O’Brien’s inaugural season as head coach. The team finished with an unfortunate 7-11 record, which included going 2-7 on the road and 4-6 in conference play. 

O’Brien identifies improving on the road this season, especially if they want to be considered a threat in a tough Big East conference.

Senior midfielder Ebba Costow dribbles up the pitch against Providence last season. (Patrick Sloan-Turner)

“I think away games are hard, we have a really tough away schedule with some big opponents,” O’Brien said. “I think it’s about execution and being up for the game on the road and being able to manage the game better. We need to figure out what we need to do even though it might not be the prettiest soccer or how we really want to play. Sometimes you might need to change your tactics just to get the result you want on the road.”

The Blue Demons will be adding five new faces to the program, with the hopes of making a significant impact this year. DePaul added goalkeeper Olivia Medina (Park Ridge, Illinois / Main East), midfielder Lilly O’Rourke (Glenview, Illinois / Glenbrook South), midfielder Olivia Beam (Eureka, Missouri / Eureka High School) along with two international recruits including midfielder Lina Dantes (Hamburg, Germany) and forward Jupp (Portsmouth, England).

Medina will provide depth behind Erikkson as the team’s goalkeeper and has the potential to become the heir apparent to Erikkson in 2023. Prior to joining the Blue Demons, Medina played club soccer for FC United with the developmental academy and was also recently in the Girls Academic League.

O’Rourke was a midfielder and team captain for Glenbrook South High School, earning All-Selection honors. She also won back-to-back state championships in 2019 and 2021 as team captain for FC United club soccer. 

Beam scored seven goals over her final two years at Eureka High School and was named 2022 first team all conference. She also was a member of the National Honor Society and was selected to the Middle Atlantic Conference All-Star game.

Dantes was named the Hamburg youth player of the year in 2019-2020 and played for the U19 German National team. In 2021-2022, she played in 11 games for the Hamburger SV women’s team, where she totaled seven assists. 

“I’m really excited for her and just putting her out there and seeing what she could do being in a totally different environment from what she’s used to,” O’Brien said. “She’s only going to get better and I’m really excited about her potential.”

Jupp has been known as a goal-scorer, she made a huge impact offensively with the Arsenal U21 squad in London, England. She scored 19 goals in just 18 games and should receive a lot of playing time for the Blue Demons this year. 

“Seeing her potential in the first week of training, I could see that she’s a competitor and she wants to score goals,” O’Brien said. “Absolutely excited about her and I think she has a ton of potential to be super dangerous for us up top this year.”

O’Brien’s message to the team this season will continue to be to win the warm up and compete every day.

“I think it puts into perspective that if you have that mindset every time you step onto the field and you want to win so badly, it will carry you further than a team who’s more talented and has more depth,” O’Brien said. “It’s all about having that desire and hating to lose the feeling that you hate it so bad that you are willing to do so much more work, just so you don’t have that feeling because you want to win.”

The team believes they are much better than what their record showed, especially since they were only outscored by their opponents 18-17 on the season.

“We didn’t score a lot of goals, so I think that was our biggest area because a lot of our games were 1-0 and games really shouldn’t end that way,” O’Brien said. “You need to be able to score goals to win games, we need to find the competitive edge in the final third and just be assertive and do everything you can to want to score and I think we have the pieces to do it.”  

DePaul hasn’t finished above .500 since 2018, but nevertheless, expectations remain high and the team has their eyes set on being a force in the Big East conference.

“I’m excited for this upcoming season, we’re going to be good,” said senior forward Kristin Boos. “I think it starts from a personal level of like competition and really wanting to compete for you, but overall for the team. We’re going to do good things and I know we’re at least number four in the conference.”

Connect with Tom Gorski: @ThomasGorski33 | [email protected]