Late penalty kick lifts Providance Friars over Blue Demons


Jake Cox

Junior midfielder Jacob Huth tries to get past two Providence defenders in Saturday’s 1-0 loss.

One penalty goal was enough to decide the outcome of DePaul’s game against Providence on Saturday. The Blue Demons came out strong in the first half but couldn’t finish the few chances they had on offense and lost by a score of 1-0.

The game was physical and tough from the start, but the Blue Demon’s defense held for most of the time. Very few chances were created from both teams as the real battle was fought in the midfield. Head Coach Mark Plotkin saw the glass half full and praised the Blue Demons for their performance was one of the best of the season despite the final score.  

“I thought we were very organized defensively,” Plotkin said. “I thought we worked a lot on playing it from behind. The guys executed well, at least in getting into dangerous spots but we just couldn’t put one away.”

The physicality of Providence’s midfield made the job of Blue Demons midfielders strenuous, and forwards Marek Gonda and Jack Richards could not do much once they received the ball. As the central part of the field was highly congested, the main chances for DePaul came from the wings thanks to the tireless runs of Felipe Corral and Diego Rodriguez.

After seventy minutes of perfect balance, DePaul seemed to open the score, but the run of Saldana was called offside by the referee. On the counterattack, an insidious action by Providence on the left wing led right back David Gripman to commit a foul in the penalty box. The contact was unclear, but the referee didn’t think twice and pointed at the spot despite the protests of DePaul players.  From twelve yards, Providence defender Ramzi Qawasmy gave his team the lead with a clinical finish that beat Blue Demon’s goalkeeper Ghandi. 

Cruz up to that point was incredible, blocking first Darbian attempt and then Garcia’s insidious finish. 

“It was a questionable call from the referee,” Cruz said. “I believe in my honest opinion there really wasn’t any contact. I think everybody on the team can stand behind me. We all think that it wasn’t a penalty.”

With fifteen minutes to the final whistle, the Blue Demons desperately tried to attack Providence’s goal, but the away team’s time management and the multiple substitutions broke the momentum that DePaul was building. 

After ninety minutes of battling on the field, DePaul conceded a 1-0 loss to Providence. The final score does not reflect the positive attitude of the team who played aggressively until the end lacked efficiency in the last eighteen. On a positive note, Jacob Huth played a solid game, serving his teammates with precise passes, and aiding the offensive build up that Plotkin requested. 

“I tried everything I can going forward and creating as much as I can for the team,” Huth said after the game. “Not everything is going to come off perfect, but we have to stay focused for the whole game and that’s what I tried to do. My objective was to get my teammates and myself in those dangerous spots to score goals and potentially win games.”

Moving forward, the Blue Demons will have to quickly recover from this loss focusing primarily on finishing the dangerous plays they created during the game. 

They seek to earn their first victory in the Big East Conference as they travel to New Jersey for their match against Seton Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 6 PM CST.