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November 6, 2012

These Bears are best: Maroons ousted from NCAA contention

Chicago (12–6–0, 4–3–0) closed its season on Saturday with a road loss to conference champion Wash U (16–1–1, 6–0–1). The Maroons held their own against the Bears, but ultimately suffered a 2–1 defeat.

Going into a game against the No. 4 ranked team in the DIII national standings, the South Siders knew pulling an upset against the Bears would be a challenge.

Wash U has a strong offensive side that attacked relentlessly. The hosts outshot Chicago 7–4 in the first half, and kept the attacks coming.

The Chicago defense held strong for most of the first half, but the Bears were controlling the tempo of the game and had more opportunities. Wash U took the lead with a goal by junior Jessica Johnson in the 40th minute, and maintained the lead throughout the entire game.

The second half was mostly a deadlock, as both sides kept on the offensive, but couldn’t finish their attacks with goals. Chicago held the shot advantage with five to Wash U’s four, but couldn’t put them in the net. The Bears broke the impasse with a goal by sophomore Kaylin Bailey in the 73rd minute. The Maroons countered with a goal in the 78th minute by first-year Julia Ozello off an assist by fourth-year captain Brigette Kragie.

“We fought incredibly hard in the second half,” Ozello said, “as we knew it was our last opportunity to make the playoffs.”

The goal ensured that the Maroons weren’t shutout, but the outcome was unchanged. The South Siders were unable to crack the Bears’ defense again, and the victory went to Wash U.

In spite of the loss, the Maroons felt they gave their best shot.

“I think we performed well,” first-year forward Mary Bittner said. “Our second half was really great. We had lots of opportunities, and, unfortunately, you win some, you lose some.”

As UAA Conference champions, the Bears have secured an automatic bid to the DIII NCAAs. The Maroons finished fourth in conference after Wash U, Carnegie Mellon, and Emory. Though this loss may be a disappointing way to wrap up the season, the South Siders know the loss was not for lack of effort.

“It was disappointing just in the scoreboards,” Bittner said. “I thought we really did give it our all and we played really hard.”

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