It was cool and crisp, with Wish Field’s green turf glistening on a spectacularly sunny day, but all eyes were on the girls in pink. Setting aside their traditional home whites in favor of supporting breast cancer, DePaul took control in the second half of a tightly contested game and came away with a 2-0 victory over Villanova Sunday afternoon.
Villanova controlled the general flow in the first half and outshot DePaul by three but neither team found much momentum, finishing the first 45 minutes with a total of zero goals scored.
The first half ended with an exciting last minute corner kick. As the clock wound down to zero, DePaul got off a kick and nearly made contact with the ball on the far side of the goal, but the effort couldn’t net a score with time running out.
The physical game had several casualties, with players from both teams exiting minutes apart at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. It would set the stage for DePaul to put on a dominant display in the second half, a performance befitting of their 8-2-2 record.
After a stalemate through the first 10 minutes of the half, DePaul applied huge amounts of pressure around the Villanova net and Ashleigh Goddard put a bouncing ball past the goalkeeper from eight yards out to give the Blue Demons a 1-0 lead.
It didn’t take long for the Demons to pad that score.
Six minutes later, Rachel Pitman scored from a sharp angle on the near side of the net after a beautiful set of passes from all of Blue Demon forwards. The athletic play put DePaul up 2-0 and all but ensured the team’s eighth victory of the season.
“I think it was a dominating effort by out entire team,” head coach Erin Chastain said after the game. “We really limited their chances and scored two really great goals.”
“(It was a) British invasion,” Goddard said, referencing the fact that she and Pitman, who have known each other since their respective childhoods in England, scored in the same game for the first time in their careers.
“I was so happy when (Ashleigh) scored,” Pitman said.
Unprompted, Goddard responded immediately.
“I was so happy when (Pitman) scored her goal,” she said.
The British invasion may have been the stars of the show but DePaul’s defense really won the day. Villanova got off 17 shots but weren’t allowed many good chances. As well as the Wildcats played in the first half, DePaul absolutely shut them down in the second half and didn’t allow anything threatening.
The win was the second conference victory for the Blue Demons and their eighth overall. The team won just nine games total in 2012.
“I’m really proud of the group,” Chastain said. DePaul next plays at Creighton Oct. 12 to try and match last season’s win total.