DePaul 2-1 Towson: Women’s soccer starts season with win

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It only took DePaul women’s soccer 11 seconds to get the 2012 season off to a winning start thanks to the strike partnership of Ashleigh Goddard and Natasa Radosavljevic, who each tallied a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win over Towson Friday at Wish Field.

An errant Tigers pass along the backline was intercepted by Radosavljevic, whose weighted throughball put Goddard in on goal in a 1v1 situation. The junior from London curled the ball low to the far post with the outside of her right boot to give DePaul (1-0-0) the early lead in just the first minute of play.

“I thought the group did a good job setting the tone early,” said DePaul head coach Erin Chastain. “They came out strong from the first play.”

Goddard returned the favor 12 minutes later when she assisted Radosavljevic’s goal. A neat combination between the two put Radosavljevic through, her near post finish giving the Blue Demons a two-goal cushion early in the match.

One reason for the success of the two on Friday is their relationship.

“I love playing with Ash,” Radosavljevic said. “She’s my roommate and we have great chemistry. We’re very athletic and competitive (with each other). Both opinionated (laughs), but both can handle each other’s opinions.”

The strike partnership could turn out well for the Blue Demons due to the dynamism of the two, Chastain said.

“They’re both dynamic players who are good in front of goal and make good runs,” she said. “They’re a dangerous two. We have some other forwards who will also do some good for us this season.”

The play that led to each goal came as a result of hard work in training, according to Goddard, who was named one of two captains for the season.

“We’ve been practicing the 1-2 combination in practice. It paid off today,” she said. “The two goals definitely gave us a big lift. Coach always says you need to score at least two goals to win a soccer game.”

Towson got one back in the 67th minute, however, thanks to a fine finish by Cheyenne Skidmore. Kat Sipes fed the senior forward with a low throughball from a deep position, giving Skidmore a 1v1 with DePaul keeper Megan Pyrz. Skidmore finished coolly on the near post, just tucking her shot inside the upright.

“I don’t think our second goal was a breather because we were forced to play a tight game for the last 20 minutes,” Chastain said. “We should have closed out the game earlier in the second half, but we checked out a little in the back.”

Skidmore’s goal for the Tigers resulted form a defender-splitting throughball from Sipes, who split Kylie Nordness and Ren Stoecklin for the assist.

“We didn’t have enough pressure on the ball for their goal and the backs didn’t mark tight enough,” Chastain said.

DePaul had a few good opportunities to further their lead had it not been for Erin Quinn’s six saves and the Blue Demons hitting the woodwork twice. Quinn’s diving stop on Erin Pektovich and kick save on a Radosavlijevic breakaway helped keep the Tigers in the game. Senior Kelly Blumberg, co-captain with Goddard, hit the post twice, once on a header in the first and a shot off the crossbar in the second.

The win gives the Blue Demons a good start to the season after going 3-14-1 last year and missing out on the Big East playoffs. However, Goddard feels there’s still plenty of work to be done.

“We’re a bit disappointed to let one in and not score more, but it’s a good start,” she said. “A lot of work to do still, but it sets us up for the season.”

The women’s soccer team is back in action Sunday when they take on Loyola at Wish Field. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

NOTES

Sophomore defender Sarah Gorden started the match at CB (center back), having played all of last season at RB (right back). “Sarah’s played CB a lot in her youth career,” Chastain said. “She’s a huge attacking weapon (at RB) but she’s also a smart defender. She could be the top CB in our league.”

Rachel Pitman started the match at RB but also played striker in the second half. “Rachel is just a good soccer player. You can put her just about anywhere and she’ll do well. She played RB for the U-17 England team, but she’s also a great forward.”

Upon hearing her opening goal came just 11 seconds into the match, Ashleigh Goddard’s reaction was, “Blimey! I didn’t know it was that early!”
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