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After clinching a spot in the NCAA tournament and the UAA championship for the first time in 11 years by defeating Brandeis University 2–0, the Maroons continue conference play against Washington University in St. Louis on Saturday.
Historically, games against Wash U have been close. But Chicago has proven its grit, having successfully adapted to a number of different field conditions throughout the season and taking more shots on goal combined than its opponents both overall and in conference play.
As fourth-year midfielder Emily Benoit pointed out, while the team has “already secured the UAA title and a bid into the NCAA tournament,” the game against Wash U will still have an impact on the NCAA tournament.
Head coach Amy Reifert noted the game “will have a large impact on our regional rakings and who and where we have to play in the NCAA tournament.”
The opportunity to host the first round of the NCAA tournament would, as Benoit remarked, “be a great advantage for us as well.”
Chicago will emerge from the game on Saturday as the UAA champion regardless of how they fare against Wash U. But coach Reifert said, “A great result against Wash U would be the best preparation we can have to play well in the [NCAA] tournament.”
“Wash U is a good team and we must show up ready to play on Saturday,” said Benoit.
Saturday’s game is an opportunity for the team to improve their game and prepare for the tournament. “Washington University is one of the most dynamic teams in the country, and they have played one of the toughest schedules in the country,” added Benoit. “They should still get in the tournament as they have a lot of significant wins against ranked teams.”
While Chicago faces a fight on Saturday, the team seems optimistic and excited to get in more game time before the NCAA tournament, which begins November 11.