Women’s soccer lose 2-1 heartbreaker to Loyola


Erin Henze

DePaul midfielder Beth Smyth hangs her head Thursday night after the Blue Demons suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Loyola.

DePaul women’s soccer lost to Loyola on Thursday, Sept. 8 by a score of 2-1. The Blue Demons played the Ramblers tough all game long, but a late go-ahead goal clinched the win for Loyola. 

“I have mixed emotions,” said head coach Michele O’Brien after Thursday night’s loss. “I’m proud of our team and thought we came out strong because we generated chances early on and should’ve been up 2-0 within the first 10 minutes. We didn’t capitalize on our chance, but I’m still proud of our group for coming out so strong, bringing great energy and playing like we were the dominant team. We just cannot give up late goals against good teams.”

DePaul dropped their second consecutive Chicago Red Line Rivalry game and fell to 5-8 all-time against Loyola. The Blue Demons have only won two games at Hoyne Field since their rivalry began in 1997.

“This stings so much,” said junior midfielder Beth Smyth. “There were a lot of really good one-on-one battles going on in the game, they were fouling and we were holding strong and just to concede like we did at the time we did was just really painful. I think it’s something that is gonna really drive us forward in the season and we just can’t be giving up these late goals. I think the sting we feel right now is going to drive us and help us win games.”

DePaul trailed early after Loyola capitalized off of a ricochet goal by forward Sarah Noonan at the 22:42 mark. Graduate goalkeeper Mollie Eriksson was injured on the play after being hit in the face on the play, which resulted in the Ramblers fortunate goal.

Eriksson was removed from the game and did not return, but O’Brien did confirm postgame that her injury is not believed to be serious. Senior goalkeeper Elena Milam played the remaining 67 minutes recording  four saves and allowing only one goal.

“We were all pretty shocked and didn’t know what was going on,” said Milam. “My coaches told me to get ready, so I was just trying to get my mind right, lock in and have a good rest of the half. There were a lot of things going on in my mind, but I think the most important thing was trying to keep my composure, focus on the basics and do whatever I needed to do to execute the game strategy.”

The Blue Demons were able to stay neck and neck with the Ramblers for the remainder of the first half, only trailing by one as they headed into halftime. DePaul finished the first half with six shots, two corner kicks and five saves.

DePaul was on the verge of losing another close matchup as the second half was coming to a close, but out of nowhere, Beth Smyth scored the game tying goal in the bottom right corner of the net at the 77:03 mark.

“I feel like we played some balls into the boxes and then they cleared, but we won the second ball, which was a really key area for us to improve,” said Smythe. “It’s really great to see that we won that second ball and then it just dropped really nicely to me in the box and then I was able to put it away. It was a really great feeling being able to help the team out in that aspect.”

Unfortunately, just minutes later DePaul gave the goal right back after Sarah Noonan scored her second goal of the game in the bottom left corner of the net at the 85:33 mark. 

“She [Noonan] just hit a beautiful ball to the lower left corner of the goal,” said Milam. “I even talked to my keeper coach and asked her if there was anything I could do and she said that’s both of our dreams to be able to save that. I’m not too hard on myself about it, but it always sucks especially when we just got back into the game.”

With less than five minutes left in the match, you could visibly see the defeat on the Blue Demon’s faces knowing they were just minutes away from a draw. Loyola’s defense played lights out in the final few minutes of the game as DePaul could not even get a shot off as time expired.

“You cannot take plays off against good teams because they will find ways to capitalize, especially against Loyola,” said O’Brien. “I told my scout team that they will never give up and they score a lot of late goals, so I know that about them. I think it is a learning lesson for us to finish games out and never take a play off, especially when you come back after being down.”

DePaul (1-4) will be back in action on Sunday, Sept. 11 at Wish Field against Stanford (5-1) with first touch set for 1:00 PM CST.   

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