Blue Demon rundown: 1-18-15

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Softball will look to defend its 2014 Big East regular season and tournament titles. (Photo courtesy of DePaul Athletics)

Softball will look to defend its 2014 Big East regular season and tournament titles. (Photo courtesy of DePaul Athletics)

Softball

DePaul softball was tabbed to repeat as Big East conference champions Thursday in the conference’s annual preseason poll.

The Blue Demons gathered 48 points and six first place votes. The Blue Demons went 44-11 last season, including going 18-1 in the Big East. DePaul beat St. John’s 3-0 in May.

The team will be without  star pitcher Kirsten Verdun this season. Instead, the team will return reigning Big East Player of the Year Mary Connolly and Big East Rookie of the Year Dylan Christensen. The Blue Demons also have a strong senior class of Brittany Boesel, Staci Bonezek and Ali Lenti.

DePaul’s season begins in February with the team taking a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii against Oklahoma, who mde the Women’s College Word Series last year. DePaul’s season ended in the Regional Final against Kentucky.

Men’s basketball

Former DePaul guard Brandon Young was waiting on the perfect opportunity to continue his basketball career. Young participated in pre-draft workouts with the Dallas Mavericks, Charlotte Hornets and the Chicago Bulls, but went undrafted.

Now, Young will continue his basketball career. Young signed with the   Texas Legends of the NBA’s Development-League (D-League) Thursday, the Legends announced. Young is expected to join the team on Jan. 22.

The Legends are an affliate of the Dallas Mavericks. Young hypothetically  could get called up or be signed by another team if he plays well enough.

Young finished his four-year DePaul career in the spring. He’s the only Blue Demon to total at least 1,200 points, 400 assists and 100 3-pointers. He averaged  15.1 points per game, 4.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game through his colligate career.

Young is the third player from last season’s Blue Demons team to sign a professional contract.  Forward Sandi Marcius signed a contract to play oversas in his native Croatia. Former forward Cleveland Melvin also plays in Mexico with the Jefe Fuerza Lagunera.

Melvin also spent time in the D-League, playing with the Erie BayHawks in 2014. He appeared in 10 games and averaged 11.2 points per game.

Women’s soccer

Freshman standout Alexa Ben was named to Soccer Amercia’s All-Freshman First Team Thursday for her remarkable season.

Ben, from Schaumburg, was a large reason why DePaul was nationally ranked in the fall and had a program-best 16-1-4 record. Ben had a school record 11 assists to go along with her 29 points, which led the team along with junior Elise Wyatt.

Ben is the first freshman to be named to an All-Freshman team since Juliane Sitch, who was named by Soccer Buzz Magazine to their All-Freshman team in 2002.

DePaul soccer had a historic
20-game win streak last season, ending their regular season undefeated. The team’s season ended with a first-round tournament loss at Wisconsin.

Tennis

Prior to the beginning of the season, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams have representation in the rankings.

Overall, the women’s tennis team is ranked 46th in the nation. They went 22-4 in 2014 and won the Big East tournament championship.

Individually, freshman Patricia Lancranjan has a strong debut coming in at 93rd in the singles poll while seniors Jasmine King and Patricia Fargas will start the year ranked 52nd in the doubles poll.

The Blue Demons also return junior Ana Vladutu, who became the first DePaul women’s tennis player to play in the NCAA singles tournament.

On the men’s side, juniors Kyle Johnson and Sten Leusink are ranked 56th in the International Tennis Association doubles poll. They went 7-5 as a duo last year, going 7-0 in the No. 2 doubles spot.

The men’s team went 11-14 last season and placed second in the Big East championship. They will try to replace senior Filip Dzanko’s production.

Both teams opened up their seasons this weekend with the women travelling to the Purdue Invitational while the men play the University of Illinois at Chicago.