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October 3, 2010

After 85 Minutes, Bluejays fly away with win

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Despite Tuesday night’s loss at Elmhurst (1–0), which broke Chicago’s four-game winning streak, the outlook for men’s soccer remains optimistic.

In the 85th minute of Tuesday’s game, Bluejays forward Matt Sterner broke a 0–0 tie, shooting off a pass that streaked through the Chicago defense. “We did many things pretty well, but not well enough and not frequently enough,” said head coach Scott Wiercinski in reference to the loss. “We should have been passing more. Elmhurst is a big team, a physically imposing team, and we were forced to play their game.”

Third-year goalie Chris Giusto held off the Bluejays’ assault with seven saves before Sterner slipped the goal in. Still, what quickly became a defensive game left the Maroons little opportunity to come back, stifling the solid offense that has served them so well in recent regional games.

Prior to Tuesday’s defeat, the Maroons pulled off consecutive shutouts of their own against the Carthage Redmen (2–0) and Millikin Big Blue (3–0). The team took an early lead against Carthage, with third-year Stanton Coville scoring in the 27th minute and second-year Steven Chase driving in another goal eight minutes later, capitalizing on assists by second-year Daniel Hahn and first-year Sawyer Kisken.

The game against Millikin remained close until Coville scored in the 60th minute, following up with another goal in the 74th minute. Kisken clinched the game with an unassisted goal in the 89th minute.

The last few games illustrate what Wiercinski describes as “our most successful game: a lot of passing, a lot of possession. We need to play on our terms.” The loss at Elmhurst drives this point home, while the Carthage and Millikin games exemplify the strength of the passing and possession strategy when applied.

“The season has been up and down so far. Being 2–2 was a bit disappointing to start, but the four-game win streak was great and gave us a huge boost we need going into UAA play. The loss at Elmhurst last night was definitely disappointing, but we really have to focus on the UAA,” said Coville, adding that he fully expected the team to regain their spot in the NCAA tournament.

After his spectacular performance against Millikin, it comes as no surprise that Coville was named the UAA Athlete of the Week. He remains focused on the strength of the team as a whole, stating, “The athlete of the week honor was nice, as it was a league honor and our league is so competitive. However, it is more important that it came as part of the big four-game win streak.”

The Maroons stand at 6–3 going into UAA games, which begin at home on Saturday against Carnegie Mellon’s Tartans. “Carnegie Mellon is undefeated and ranked number 3 in the country. This makes it a huge game and a big opportunity to get a great start to the UAA schedule,” said Coville. The game is at 1:30.

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