DePaul 3-0 Ohio: First half attack gives women’s soccer the win

A three-goal first half by the women’s soccer team was enough to secure a victory over the visiting Ohio Bobcats Friday at Wish Field. The goals were scored by Natasa Radosavljevic, Amber Paul and Kaily Cox.

“Anytime you can score more than two goals and keep a shutout, you’re happy,” said head coach Erin Chastain. “We really wanted to focus on setting the tone, fixing some things tactically (from last week) after a good week in training.”

Radosavljevic notched her second goal of the season for the Blue Demons (2-1-0) in the 20th minute with the aid of the crossbar. Ashleigh Goddard made a sliding challenge in the middle of the pitch to win possession of the ball and continued play through Paul. Paul took on a few players and bent a pass with the outside of her right foot that found Radosavljevic at the edge of the area. The junior’s left-footed shot hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced off the turf and back into the roof of the net.

“Tash has got one of the best minute-to-goal ratios,” Chastain said. “She’s just a goal-scorer who looks for opportunities to shoot. She had a half-chance and scored.”

Paul got a goal of her own eight minutes later. A cross from Kelly Blumberg was tipped by Erin Pekovitch before being volleyed by Paul at the top of the box.

“After watching individual video from last weekend, I knew I had to pick it up or I wouldn’t play,” Paul said. “Coach challenged me and I came out with more of an edge. I always try to have three shots a half, and it felt good to score.”

The play of Paul was described by Chastain as “tremendous” with the sophomore attacking midfielder picking up a goal and an assist.

“I challenged her after last week,” Chastain said. “She responded all week in training and again today. She was awesome.”

Freshman Kaily Cox rounded out the scoring for DePaul in the dying seconds of the first half. With time ticking down, Rebekah Roller curled a free kick from the touchline into the box. Cox met the cross from around the six yard box to pick up her first collegiate goal with two seconds remaining in the half.

DePaul outshot Ohio (0-3) in the match 26 to to 10, including forcing keeper Mattie Liston into making 10 saves. Liston was forced into making a number of tough saves for the Bobcats, including two at pointblank range.

“As a team, it feels like our first real win,” Paul said. “It’s great to get a shutout.”

The good start by the Blue Demons mirrors the season opener against Towson, in which a quick start resulted in early goals. Chastain, however, hopes there won’t be a repeat of the follow-up match against Loyola when the team takes on Valparaiso on Sunday.

“It’s tough physically to play Friday-Sunday, but it’s also tough mentally,” she said. “We need to come out strong Sunday versus Valpo.”

The Valparaiso match will start at 4 p.m. Sunday at Wish Field.