Fresh off a tie in their first UAA Conference game of the year against Carnegie Mellon, the Maroons will ride a 6–4–1 record into the Peach State.
For the Maroons, it has been a positive season thus far, as they have been able to maintain a record above .500 through the entire year. On the other hand, the Eagles are red hot as they roll into tomorrow’s match in the midst of a five-game winning streak.
Against Carnegie, the Maroons could not find a way to get separation and seal the deal and the game ended in a double overtime 0–0 tie. Both goalies were in form and able to block anything that came their way. The two goalies, Carnegie’s fourth-year Jacob Rice and Chicago’s first-year Hill Bonin, each put together masterpiece performances with nine saves apiece.
“I think it was an even game for both sides. Both teams had great opportunities, and both keepers stepped up when needed,” said fourth-year midfielder Nick Codispoti, “Overall, I think both teams had some good moments, but the entire pressure of the first conference game and the cold weather kept the game sloppy.”
While the elements did make for a sloppier game than usual as rain poured down in Hyde Park throughout the match, Condispoti still felt there were areas where the Maroons could improve before the Emory match.
“I think it’s just a matter of execution,” Codispoti said. “We have a great group of guys fighting for each other and who know that we can win every time we step on the pitch, no matter who we play. I don’t think we need to improve upon anything in particular, but if we have individual players stepping up when important moments arise in the game, we’ll get the results we need. “
On that note, an important storyline to make note of this weekend against the Eagles will be the return of third-year midfielder Jorge Bilbao. He started the first nine games of the season before being knocked out due to an injury. His presence elevates the play of all his teammates, and the improvement of others is a crucial role of a midfielder, such as Bilbao.
“I need to put my teammates in dangerous positions so they can score,” he said.
Getting away from the individual, Bilbao also spoke about what he believes will be the key to getting the win against Emory.
“I think we just need to believe in ourselves and our style of play to break them down,” he said. “They haven’t been put in difficult situations, so if we’re able to put them on their heels, I think they’re going to panic. We all know this is a huge game, and I have confidence in our team to get the job done.”
With Bilbao’s confidence running high, the Maroons will head into Emory with the expectations of fireworks in a high-intensity affair that begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11.