DePaul’s upset bid comes up short against Georgetown


Quentin Blais

Junior defender Bella Hanisch fights for the ball against Georgetown during Sunday’s 1-0 loss.

On a brisk Sunday afternoon when offense was hard to come by, DePaul’s women’s soccer defense stood tall in a 1-0 defeat against the reigning Big East champions and 19th-ranked Georgetown. 

The Blue Demons were able to handle almost everything that was thrown at them, shutting out the Hoyas in the first half. Entering the game, the Hoyas were averaging 1.91 goals per game, having scored 21 goals on 156 shots through their first 11 matches.

“We had a very clear gameplan, especially defensively,” senior midfielder Ebba Costow said. “It was evident to anyone watching today. We worked so hard, stood compact, and everyone did their individual job.”

Georgetown dominated the time of possession, attempting eight shots and earning six corner kicks in the first half. Yet the Blue Demons stood tall with senior goalkeeper Mollie Eriksson going four for four in save opportunities.

“I think it was our best defensive performance this season,” Eriksson said. “I am really, really proud of the group. This week we really honed in on training, just the details. Clearing the ball. Getting sucked in. They didn’t score any random play goals and I would attribute that to the very, very solid defensive performance.”

Known for their stingy defense, the Hoyas were holding their opponents to 0.56 goals per game, and DePaul was just the next team to be stifled offensively, only having one shot on goal in the first half.

At halftime, with the team focused on what was at stake, head coach Michele O’Brien reiterated the game plan.

“What you guys did now, it’s tied 0-0, it doesn’t matter,” O’Brien said. “We need to do it again for 45 minutes and you all have to commit and believe in the defensive gameplan. Keep the gritty mentality. You will not have the ball a lot which is ok. But you need to commit to every play and be ok with that. Do not let them break us down.”

The second half was reminiscent of the first, with defense being the star of the show. At the 70:11 mark, Georgetown seemed to take a 1-0 lead, but the goal was quickly called off due to an offsides call on sophomore forward Cyanne Doyle. From there, the Blue Demons continued to weather the storm, looking for any chance to strike. Their best scoring opportunity came at the 76:25 mark, with junior midfielder Beth Smyth just missing high on a header.

Georgetown finally broke the tie at the 78:14 mark, with graduate senior midfielder Maya Fernandez-Powell feeding senior midfielder Julia Leas for a header that just beat Eriksson. Backed into a corner, DePaul raised their intensity but was unable to capitalize on any late scoring chances, falling 1-0 to their conference rivals.

Despite the loss, there was plenty to be proud of with the Blue Demon’s performance.

“We are going to take a lot with us from this game,” Costow said. “We played a really good team, and we always play well against good teams. Now we just need to take this with us for the rest of the season. Because if we play like this against the rest of the Big East, I think we will do well and be able to turn things around.”

DePaul (2-8) will be back in action on Thursday, Oct. 6 for a road matchup against their conference rival Providence (3-7-1) with first touch set for 5:00 p.m. CDT.