Men’s soccer eliminates USF from playoff contention with 3-2 win on Senior Day


On Senior Day at Wish Field, it was the play of the men’s soccer team’s four graduating players that gave DePaul a 3-2 win over South Florida Friday afternoon.

Antonio Aguilar, David Leverentz, Brian Schultz and Austin Toth all came up big for the Blue Demons (4-10-3, 1-6-1) in the final game of the season – and the final game of their college careers.

Aguilar had a goal and an assist, Leverentz scored twice, and Schultz and Toth were each credited with assists in a big performance that capped off the team’s first conference win of the season.

“You couldn’t have written a better script for this group,” head coach Craig Blazer said of his seniors.


First Half Dominance

Leverentz, starting in his first match of the season, made an immediate impact in his 25 minutes of work, scoring two goals to give DePaul an early 2-0 lead.

His first came in the 13th minute on an Aguilar corner. With his back to goal, Leverentz flicked the ball into the right bottom corner of the net.

Seven minutes later, Leverentz got his second on an almost identical play. Ray De Leon’s corner was taken short to Toth, who crossed into the box. Schultz rose up and headed the ball back, and Leverentz again flicked it in to give the Blue Demons a 2-0 lead.

“Shocking,” Leverentz said of coming into the match and scoring a brace. “It was instinctive to flick it past the goalie. I really wanted to play for all these guys knowing it was their last game and played for the guys on the team. These guys are like my brothers.”

Leverentz’s double strike put South Florida under immediate pressure with a 2-0 scoreline. But things would get even worse for the Bulls in the 32nd minute when Ben Sweat was given a red card for a handball in the box.

A long ball from Michael Kozielek found its way to Drew Dempsey at the edge of the area. The freshman took a few touches before shooting, however Sweat dove head-first toward the ball to block the shot. The official determined Sweat had used his hands and sent him off for denying a goal-scoring opportunity.

Aguilar would step up to take the ensuing penalty and buried it into the top left corner to give the men’s soccer team a commanding 3-0 lead at the break. The goal was his sixth of the season and the finale of a fine college career.

“I knew 3-0 is hard to come back from,” Aguilar said of stepping up to take the penalty.

“It’s been a great four years – I wish I had another four,” Aguilar said. “Our team goal was to win it for all of us. I couldn’t have asked for a better game to go out on.”


South Florida Comeback

There would be cause for concern, however, as 10-men South Florida (8-5-4, 2-3-3) needed a win to qualify for the Big East tournament. The Bulls would come out in the second half and score twice.

Their first goal came courtesy of a Lucas Baldin free kick. Taken from the 30 yards out, Baldin’s effort hit the underside of the crossbar before bouncing in in the 58th minute.

Sebastien Thuriere would cut the deficit to one 13 minutes later when his low, bending effort hit the back of the net in the 71st minute.

But that was all the Bulls could muster as the Blue Demons held on to win their first Big East game of the season.


Blazer’s Thoughts

“The Big East conference is a great conference with so many great teams,” Blazer said after the match. “Today, the guys executed everything we’ve been teaching them all year.

“There was a challenge of something we didn’t have all year: a 3-0 lead to defend,” he said. “The guys did well to manage. I’m very proud of the whole group. They continued to fight against a very good team.”

The win concludes an up-and-down season for DePaul, having failed to qualify for the Big East tournament for the first time in nearly a decade, while going 3-0 against other Chicago schools.

The experiences of this season should help the group going into next year, Blazer said.

“Our players realize if they really play together as a team and do what we ask of them, they have a great future,” he said. “I want to wish the best for Tony, David, Brian and Austin. But, we have a good core waiting.”



Aguilar’s goal was his sixth of the season, while Leverentz scored his first two of the campaign.

Eric Sorby made 4 saves – including two in the final 10 minutes – to preserve the lead. His counterpart Dallas Jaye made just one.

DePaul committed 23 fouls while South Florida committed 11. Meanwhile, there were 8 cards handed out including Ben Sweat’s red card. Toth, Aguilar, Joe Brinckwirth and Art Garza were booked for DePaul, while Wesley Charpie, Kyle Nicholls, Samuel Hosseini were cautioned for the Bulls.