SPORTS

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October 14, 2011

UAA championship hopes depend on East Coast trip results

Chicago (5–4–2, 0–2–0 UAA) has a full slate of UAA play this weekend. During the team’s first two-game road trip of the school year, the team will take on Brandeis (7–3–1, 0–1–1 UAA) in Boston at 3p.m. on Friday, October 14, and then travel to New York to play NYU (5–5–1, 1–1–0 UAA) on Sunday, October 16 at 10a.m.

Both games are conference games, together comprising two of the remaining five UAA games the team has left this season. The conference games are crucial; the team essentially needs to win all five in order to be in the running for the UAA title and a bid to the NCAA tournament.

The team’s early successes have been tempered recently by a three-game losing streak, but attitudes are still positive.

“We are very focused and motivated as a team to make sure this small slide doesn’t go any further,” fourth-year midfielder and forward Stanton Coville said. “We have a great team and have proven we can play some great soccer by our early results. Lately, we have still been playing high-quality soccer, we just feel as though we have been very unlucky when it comes to a bounce here or there,” he added. Coville sees both of this weekend’s games as [possible wins]. “[If we] play to our ability and play our brand of soccer, [we can win both games],” he said.

“All of our emphasis right now is on Brandeis. After that game, we will look towards the NYU game,” Head Coach Scott Wiercinski said. The one-game-at-a-time approach has players focused on how to counteract Brandeis’s aggressive style of play. “They play a very physical style. If we settle down and play our good-quality brand of soccer, we should be able to come out with a win,” Coville said.

After that, they will look ahead to NYU. “NYU won the conference last year, so it is definitely going to be one of the tougher UAA opponents. We won there two years ago, and I am confident that we will do it again,” fourth-year center back Ryan Tunstall said.

One potential challenge of the weekend is the concept of the road trip itself, which comes as the workload is getting heavier and midterms are fast approaching. “An added stress on a long weekend,” Wiercinski called it. “This is sort of a typical weekend for them with their club circuits,” Wiercinski said, in reference to the competitive teams that the first-years, who are unaccustomed to traveling in a college context, were members of during their high school careers.

The team’s hope is to return home victorious, with one or even two wins. “We need to play composed soccer and connect passes. When we calm down and think out our decisions, we are unstoppable,” Tunstall said, setting the tone for the weekend.

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