There was high drama on North Kehoe Field over the weekend as the Hoyas suffered a demoralizing 2-1 loss to South Florida on Friday, but battled their way back up on their feet on Sunday to hold DePaul to 1-0.

The Bulls, who were responsible for knocking the Hoyas (6-2, 1-2 Big East) out of last year’s Big East tournament with a 4-0 rout, reopened the old wounds when they snapped the host team’s undefeated home record and handed them their second consecutive Big East loss of the season.

“I was disappointed in our performance,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said after the game. “I thought we looked flat, I thought we didn’t have any fight today; and there’s nothing more discouraging for a coach than when it looks like his team’s lacking fight.”

The Hoyas had a good start to the game – senior forward Peter Grasso opened the scoring early into the first half, blasting in an 18-yarder off a deft through-ball from classmate midfielder Corey Zeller with just 11:06 on the clock.

Grasso’s goal, however, was one of the few shining moments for the Hoyas during a match in which their luck ran short time and again in front of the goal, and where their opponents controlled the pace of play for the majority of the 90 minutes.

Just as the first half was winding down, it appeared that the Hoyas would be able to hold on to the lead until halftime – but the Hoya defense allowed the Bulls space to take a shot at goal in the dying minutes of the first half. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Mark Wilber parried the effort away athletically, but the Bulls’ junior midfielder Jorge Mora pounced on the rebound while Wilber was still on the ground and put it in the net for the equalizer.

Conceding the goal seemed to give the Hoyas newfound energy, and they pushed early in the second half. Lady Luck snubbed their efforts, however. Midway into the half, the Hoyas ran out of steam and the Bulls capitalized on the Hoyas’ sluggishness on the ball, keeping play limited to the midfield.

With 13 minutes left on the clock, the Bulls managed to sprint up behind the back four and put the ball in the back of the net to take the lead. Although the Hoyas finished the second half with seven attempts on goal, their last-ditch efforts in the dying minutes of play were to no avail.

“To be able to rebound, to be on our game mentally on Sunday, I think will be a challenge,” Wiese said on Friday. “We’ve got to get ourselves quickly refocused. You have to handle wins well and you have to handle losses well, and we have to handle this loss and get back up.”

With just one day’s break in between, the boys in blue and gray took to the pitch again on Sunday, overcoming DePaul with a 1-0 victory – their first Big East win of the season in front of their home crowd.

The lone goal for the Hoyas came from sophomore midfielder Seth C’deBaca, just three minutes into the first half. The Hoyas’ number nine found the gap between the Blue Devils’ defense from the top of the box, and took no time lining up a shot that rocketed past the keeper’s flailing gloves to put the host team in the lead.

“Man of the match for me was Seth C’DeBaca,” Wiese said. “He was winning balls, he was playing, he had a terrific goal. He makes things go for us when he’s playing well.”

C’deBaca would go on to record a total of four shots at the DePaul goal. Another Hoya to match C’deBaca’s stats was Grasso, who would not find the back of the net despite four shots of his own.

“When I got that goal, it was a sigh of relief,” C’deBaca said after the game. “I was so frustrated after the game on Friday and we felt like it was a missed opportunity. But we knew we had to win today and I think we did really well.”

Halfway through the second period, the Blue and Gray racked up five corners and four shots on goal within the span of six minutes, with chances coming in from C’deBaca, Grasso, junior midfielder Scott Larrabee and sophomore defender Alex Verdi. Senior defender Alex Pangraze got high praise from Wiese for filling in the central midfield role and almost scoring a stunner in the second half that was ruled offsides.

Although the Blue and Gray offense troubled DePaul’s back four – recording a total of 14 shots on goal and forcing five saves – the Blue Devils had one more shot and also made sophomore keeper Matt Brutto make five blocks. The Hoya back four had a nervy game but managed to hold their own for 90 minutes to earn their team a well-timed victory.

“Bottom line, it doesn’t matter how sexy the soccer is or how ugly the soccer is, you have to find a way to win,” Wiese said. “I would have loved to have knocked down a few more goals in the first half, but the format of these Big East Friday-Sunday games is [such] that you run out of gas pretty fast.”

The Hoyas now have a week’s break before they head off to Rutgers on Friday and Villanova on Sunday in their next two Big East matchups.

“We’re playing Rutgers at home,” Grasso said, “and they’re always tough at home. It’s a night game, so they’re going to have a lot of fans and they’re going to be jacked and ready to go. And then we go to Nova, and they have a really strange field that only they are used to playing on. But we expect to get two wins.”

“These next few games are really important to get a winning record in the Big East,” C’deBaca added. “We have to take all six points next weekend.”

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