DePaul 1-0 Valparaiso: Women’s soccer wins wet one

DePaul 1-0 Valparaiso: Women’s soccer wins wet one

An early Kelly Blumberg goal on a sloppy, rainy Sunday afternoon gave the women’s soccer team all it needed to see off Valparaiso at Wish Field 1-0.

Blumberg’s goal — her first of the season — came in the sixth minute of play. Ashleigh Goddard picked up a Rebekah Roller free kick before feeding Blumberg on the edge of the area. The senior co-captain took one touch past a defender to cut in before calmly firing far post for the game’s only goal.

“I saw Ash calling for it and got myself in position,” Blumberg said. “I knew when it came I had to compose myself and place it in the corner, not over-hit it.”

In a game of few chances — only two total saves were made on 12 shots — it was Blumberg’s finish and the strong defensive play by the Blue Demons (3-1-0) that earned special praise from head coach Erin Chastain.

“There was not a lot of chances, so it was about who took care of the ball and finished,” Chastain said. “I’m happy with the back four with two shutouts this weekend. They stood strong and didn’t give up any real good chances.”

The rainy conditions impacted the play of both teams, with Chastain saying the team should have made a tactical shift sooner.

“It was hard to play our style in the rain,” she said. “We should have played more direct sooner because it was hard to play the ball on the ground.”

Valparaiso (2-1-1) opted for a more physical approach to the game as conditions worsened at Wish Field. Both teams had hard fouls, with the Crusaders committing more infractions than DePaul, 16 to 12.

The match also saw three bookings, with Jordyn Ryfiak and Shelby Oelschlager carded for the Crusaders, and Brianna Ryce for DePaul. Ryce and Oelschlager were both booked for a shoving match in the 59th minute as the match became chippier with each tackle.

“It was so physical out there,” Blumberg said when asked about the match’s physicality. “There was a lot of jersey grabbing and talking going on. Erin told us at half they were playing physical and we needed to match that in the second. It got to the point where you got scared someone might get hurt since (the official) wasn’t calling too much.”

The win over Valpo gives the Blue Demons their third win of the season, matching last year’s total in what resulted in a disappointing 3-14-1 campaign last year.

“I knew from preseason it was a new team and a new beginning,” Blumberg said. “We have a good group of girls, a different group, so it’s exciting to be 3-1 instead of last year’s start.”

The win ends a four-game homestand for the women’s soccer team to open the season. The team will now travel to the state of Ohio for two matches next weekend, taking on Wright State Aug. 31 and Dayton Sept. 2.