Two goals within 63 seconds of each other were all the Blue Demons needed as they defeated the SIUEdwardsville Cougars 2-0 Saturday afternoon at Wish Field.
After a couple of good chances went for naught, the Blue Demons finally found an opportunity. Sophomore midfielder Joe Brinckwirth found freshman forward Erik Rodriguez at the top of the box and he fired a shot to the far post for the game’s first score in the 28th minute. It was Rodriguez’s first goal of the year.
It was only a matter of seconds before DePaul would score again. Junior midfielder Michael Stankiewicz received the ball near the six-yard line, facing away from the goal. That was no problem for Stankiewicz, however, as he kicked the ball over his left shoulder, past the Cougar’s keeper, off the post and into the net for a sensational goal. It was Stankierwicz first collegiate goal and the Blue Demons led 2-0.
It was DePaul’s second win of the season and pushed the team’s overall record to 2-4-1.
DePaul head coach Craig Blazer was pleased with his team’s progress and how they clicked in this match.
“We know we’ve been growing and that we’re close and sometimes it takes awhile for everything to come together and today it did,” he said.
A scary moment came in the 37th minute when Eric Sorby, the Demons’ senior keeper, took a shot off the mouth from Christian Volesky. He would be slow to get up, but would eventually return to his post in time to help defend the ensuing corner kick.
Even with a lead the Demons were still playing aggressive, although a bit too aggressive at points. Senior midfielder Art Garza went in too hard on a tackle near midfield and misplayed it. He would earn a yellow card, but no serious chance came from the ensuing free kick for the Cougars.
The Demons would go into the locker room at the half with a comfortable 2-0 cushion.
Sorby, who entered the game ranked second in the NCAA with 42 saves, added to his total in the 63rd minute. Jabari Danzy was streaking down the sideline for the Cougars and fired a shot from just inside the box. Sorby would make a spectacular, onehanded leaping save to push the ball over the bar and keep the Cougars scoreless.
DePaul would hold on for the rest of the match. It was the Blue Demons’ first home win of the season and their first win in four matches.
Michael Stankiewicz was happy with the Blue Demons’ first home win and predicted that this may be the point in the season where the Demons turn it around.
“It’s definitely going to help us,” Stankiewicz said. “We’ve been looking for that game to turn it around and I think this is the point where we will.”
Erik Rodriguez agreed with Stankiewicz, saying that this game may “change the tide.”
“We’ve gotten some very unlucky losses,” he said. “Winning this game means everything, especially at home.”
With Big East conference play just around the corner, they couldn’t have picked a better time to turn it around.