Junior midfielder Amber Paul scored the golden goal with 36.9 seconds remaining in the first overtime to give DePaul a 2-1 win over Creighton women’s soccer in a battle for sole possession of third place in the Big East Standings. Paul played a cross from forward Elise Wyatt, and needed just one touch to put the ball in the lower left corner of the goal for the sudden victory.
“It was a really fast cross, and I was thinking it was going to go out,” said Bluejay goalkeeper Danielle Rice. “She just one-touched it back post.”
Both teams came out ready to fight third place away from each other. A couple minutes after a shot by Creighton’s Angie Benson, DePaul took advantage of a failed clear by Creighton. Blue Demon forward Erin Pekovitch possessed the ball and slotted a ball into the lower left corner past Bluejay keeper Rice to give DePaul the 1-0 lead just 6:58 into the match.
The Bluejays (9-4-1, 2-2-1 Big East) answered almost 10 minutes later after a Jill Richgels corner kick created a scramble for possession in front of the net. Creighton leading scorer Kirstyn Corder fired a shot that deflected off a DePaul defender and rolled to fellow midfielder Madelyn Buckner. Buckner wasted no time in sending another shot on goal, Blue Demon goalkeeper Alejandria Godinez was able to slow the shot down as she dove for the save, but she couldn’t control it and the ball rolled off of her and into the net for the tying goal with 29:21 remaining in the first half.
“(Corder) was trying to get the shot off and the ball just kind of popped out and I had time to just take a touch and hit it,” Buckner said. “The goalie kind of bobbled it. I thought she saved it at first.”
From that point on the Jays controlled the run of play in the half, and got a great chance to take the lead when Corder headed a corner kick past Godinez and towards the goal, but MaryKate Cicinelli was backing up her keeper as the ball approached the goal line and she quickly cleared it away to keep the matched tied. Despite a 9-6 edge in shots and chances like that the Jays were unable to capitalize with the go-ahead goal before the end of the first half as they went to the locker room tied at 1.
The Jays outshot DePaul (9-2-2, 3-1-1 Big East) again in the second half, 9-7, and had a couple great chances to score thanks to the play of sophomore Alyssa Jara. Her best look came in the 52nd minute when she beat two Blue Demon defenders in consecutive 1-v-1 situations to find an open area just outside the 18, she fired a shot at Godinez, but the ball was went just barely over the back post as it came back down.
“She just looked like she had a little more bounce in her step,” Creighton head coach Bruce Erickson said of Jara’s play. “She was causing problems. I don’t think we found her enough.”
Erickson was disappointed in his team’s effort, especially in the back, but believes this loss will teach his team that their work rate has to be at its best every night in conference play.
“The second half we were OK for the first four or five minutes, and then we were speechless,” he said. “It was just a lack of energy, a lack of focus. Our body language was such where it looked like we were two or three goals down. It came down to one play, a play that was an extra effort play made by them, and not an extra effort by us, and that’s what we talked about. We said that it was going to come down to that. We got outworked, and we got outworked at home, so that part is disappointing. You can’t just show up and expect the magic is just going to happen by playing well, you have to work your butt off in this league.”
The Bluejays will now get a much-needed five days to prepare for another two-game road trip against Villanova and undefeated No. 6 Georgetown. The Jays and Wildcats will play on Thursday, Oct. 17, in what will decide who grabs the fourth place spot in the Big East standings. The Jays currently hold a one point edge over Villanova after the Wildcats played to a 1-1 draw against St. John’s on Saturday night.