Men’s Soccer falls 3-1 to Loyola in Red Line Rivalry


Nate Burleyson

Loyola defender Andrew Schweinert dribbles past a fallen DePaul junior forward Mark Gonda in the Ramblers’ win over DePaul Friday.

The Blue Demons mens’ soccer team came into their matchup with Loyola last night with a solid start to the season. Unbeaten at 2-0-2 and fresh off a draw on the road to Notre Dame on Sept 6, DePaul dropped their first of the season, 3-1 against their rival Loyola, on Friday night. 

The Ramblers took the lead 16 minutes in on a strike from Fabian Becerra and never trailed at home. From the start, Loyola controlled the middle of the field. The Ramblers’ forwards were able to step through and send DePaul on their heels. Dominating possession, Loyola took the first two shots of the game which were handled by Blue Demon goalkeeper Ghandi Cruz. But the attacks kept coming, and Loyola was able to get Cruz out of position for Becerra’s goal.

The sold out crowd started to get into it after Loyola took the lead as the first half continued in the Ramblers’ favor. The crowd would howl at Loyola’s scores, fitting for a game played under a full moon. Loyola outshot DePaul 7-2 in the first half, peppering Cruz with shots. DePaul would have to take more control in the second half. 

DePaul had a quick start to the second half and found their way to the Loyola box. Yet, the Ramblers struck quickly and took a commanding 2-0 lead, zapping the air out of the Blue Demons. Midfielder Billy Hency knocked in a close range shot after Cruz deflected the initial shot. 

2-0 up, Loyola was able to play out of their backline and get deeper into DePaul’s territory. They continued to dictate the pace of the game, winning almost every header and getting to more 50/50 balls. DePaul was able to respond with graduate student forward Jack Richards smashing in a close range goal to cut the deficit to one. 

The Ramblers seemingly kicked things into high gear from that point, with DePaul right back on their heels. DePaul began to foul over and over, giving Loyola some set pieces. Eventually, Becerra scored a dagger goal for Loyola, putting them up 3-1 and shutting the door on DePaul.

The Blue Demons had a busy week coming off of their road trip to South Bend on Tuesday. DePaul is winless versus their rivals to the north since 2013.

 “These are the games you have to be up for from the start because we know Loyola,” DePaul coach Mark Plotkin said. “We know how much they fight and we talked about having to match their energy. And I felt like we were a bit slow in the first half.”

Despite the slow first half, DePaul found some better footing in the second, but did not sustain much. “I think we picked it up and it looked a lot more like us in the second half, but they’re a good team and they finished off their chances,” Plotkin said.

Overall, DePaul is 2-1-2 on the season and has an eight day break until they face Butler in Indianapolis on Sept 17. They played three games in eight days with the conclusion of Friday night’s game, and the rest day should be much needed before they start playing conference games.

“The beginning of the college soccer season is so condensed and you have so many games so quickly and I think our guys have managed it really well,” Plotkin said. “But we are definitely looking forward to the break before we go into Big East play.”