Blue Demons men’s soccer shows optimism

By Brandon Smith

After a 1-1-0 start to its season, the DePaul Blue Demons men’s soccer team might need more than good statistics to stay positive through the remainder of the season.

A disappointing loss to the Western Illinois Leathernecks on Aug. 29 is not an indicator of the season’s course, DePaul Head Coach Craig Blazer said. Even though the scoreboard read defeat, the Blue Demons dominated the game statistically with 21 shots on goal, while the Leathernecks had six.

Blazer believes his team still has what it takes to pull off a winning season, a feat they failed to accomplish last year.

“I very much feel optimistic about the rest of the year,” Blazer said. “Our goal is to get better every day, and today we did that. We say to our guys that every game is an NCAA game, and if you want to play, you have to

be consistent.”

Compared to last season’s 6-11-2 record, the men seem to be on track, and Blazer said his team is ahead of the curve.

“I actually feel like we are ahead of where we were against [the University of Illinois at Chicago Flames],” he said about the team’s Aug. 24 game. “In comparison to last year, I feel like we’re more experienced and ‘up’ mentally. We showed some inconsistencies, but I like where we’re at.”

Thiago Ganancio, a junior midfielder, scored both goals against UIC in the 2-1 victory. But Western Illinois managed to shut down the Big East offensive player of the week in their Aug. 29 matchup.

“[Ganancio] didn’t really have any chances today,” Blazer said.

But senior midfielder Antonio Aguilar had many chances at the net, with three of the team’s 21 shots coming from him.

“[Aguilar] played better today than he did against UIC,” Blazer said. “But he unfortunately missed the frame. He did well to free himself up and get his looks and pull his shots, but it just wasn’t on frame.”

Freshman midfielder Brian Hindle did manage to find the net, scoring his first collegiate goal.

“It feels good to get on the board as a freshman, and hopefully moving forward I can continue to help the team,” Hindle said.

Though the loss is disappointing to the team, Hindle has confidence in their defense.

“The second goal we got countered, but we had the numbers in the back to stop them,” he said. “The other team just managed to make the play.”

The Blue Demons have scored three goals in their regular season while taking three goals against, but if they continue to statistically govern their season with aggressive offensive tactics, they may find the scale tipping to their advantage, Blazer said.

“We did well, our possession is good and we’re doing a lot of the things that we want to do,” Blazer said. “It’s hard to be the offensive team, and we pride ourselves on that. So that’s going to be there and that’s encouraging but sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.”