DePaul wins first Big East crown
JAMAICA, N.Y. -- DePaul, which celebrates every goal as if it won an NCAA championship, mobbed one another after it was all said and done on Sunday afternoon at Belson Stadium on St. John’s campus.
DePaul’s 2-0 victory against Georgetown brought home the program’s very first Big East Championship title in the same season the No. 13 Blue Demons also won their first Big East regular-season crown.
DePaul extended its record-breaking unbeaten streak to 20 games with a program-best 16-0-4 overall record. The Blue Demons snuck up on coach Erin Chastain and dumped a Gatorade container of ice water on the proud leader of the program.
“This means the world to our staff and the whole school,” Chastain said. “This group has worked as hard as any team we’ve ever coached.
“They play so hard for each other, and you could see that in the final 20 minutes when they were blocking shots with their body and taking hits for the team. These girls are leaving their mark in the history of this program, and they are not done yet.”
Elise Wyatt took off on a counterattack and worked her way into the box where she was able to unleash a shot that was saved by Georgetown (11-4-5) goalkeeper Emma Newis.
The deflected ball stayed in the box and came back to Wyatt who calmly buried it into the net from six yards out for a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute.
It was Wyatt’s 11th goal of the season, putting her one behind team leader Abby Reed and one away from tying the season record originally set by Julianne Sitch in 2003 and equaled by Reed this season.
Big East Championship Offensive Most Outstanding Player Amber Paul had a chance in the 49th minute from the right side of the goal box, but her shot went just wide.
Paul took full advantage of a second chance in the 60th minute. Alexa Ben worked the ball into the middle of the box and sent a pass to Paul on the right wing. Paul deposited the ball into the lower left of the Hoya net for a 2-0 lead.
That was Paul’s eighth goal of the season, a career high. It was Ben’s 11th assist that set a single-season record, topping the previous record of 10 by Erin Walter in 2004.
The DePaul back line turned in another stellar performance led by Big East Championship Defensive Most Outstanding Player Sarah Gorden. Gorden, a senior center back, has a nose for being in the right place for almost every dangerous situation, often using her speed to neutralize Georgetown runs.
“Everyone had lots of energy today,” Gorden said. “We had some amazing practices leading up to today, and I knew we would all bring our best game."