Last Saturday, the 10–2–0 Maroons put the biggest notch in their belt thus far this season, as they took down the then–No. 7 Emory Eagles in Atlanta.
While a huge win for the South Siders, one that drove them up a spot into the NCAA Division III rankings to No. 13, the team has had little time to rest on their laurels. Instead, they have spent this week readying themselves for two critical games: Rochester in New York later today, and Case Western in Ohio on Sunday.
For the Maroons, the importance is not limited to overall record, but conference record as well. Currently, the team is 1–1 in conference, as a result of a tough loss against Carnegie Mellon two weeks ago and Chicago’s triumph over Emory last weekend.
The players know how critical this weekend is to fulfilling their goal of winning a UAA Championship, and they are not letting that mission go unstated.
“This weekend is our first doubleheader in UAAs, so we’re really looking to get two more strong wins. Coming off a huge win last weekend, we need to keep our focus and treat each game with the same importance,” second-year defender Lily Wolfenzon said.
The first of those games will be against the Rochester Yellowjackets later today. The Yellowjackets enter tonight’s match-up with a 5–4–3 record but the same 1–1 UAA record as Chicago after beating Brandeis last weekend.
To beat Rochester, the Maroons will have to contain the likes of Yellowjacket midfielder Laurie Cowie-Haskell, a first-year who has taken control of the Rochester’s offensive attack, leading the squad with four goals this season.
To stop Cowie-Haskell, and the rest of the Rochester offense, the Maroons will turn to a stacked defensive line stacked with fourth-year team captain Katie Shivanandan, third-year Ryann Hanley, and a multitude of others. With such a staunch defense and a high-powered offense led by the likes of fourth-year forward Meghan Derken, third-year forward Mary Bittner, and fourth-year midfielder and team captain Sara Kwan, it’s going to be a tall order for the Yellowjackets to knock off the South Siders tonight.
Following their game against Rochester, the Maroons will get a break on Saturday, which will ultimately be nothing more than a travel day as they make their way to Ohio on Sunday to take on another conference opponent in Case Western.
The Case Western Spartans enter the match with a 7–3–2 record, but they remain without a win in conference play as they have lost tough matchups to Brandeis and NYU to stand at 0–2 in UAA play.
Against Case, Chicago will face perhaps the toughest defense it has seen all season. While the Spartans have struggled to put up goals this season, sitting at only 11 through 12 games, they have managed to put together one of the strongest defenses in the country, allowing just six goals in their twelve matches. To overpower that Spartan defense, the Maroons will look towards Derken, Bittner, and first-year Kaitlin Price, who leads Chicago with five goals this season.
Wolfenzon mentioned the importance of quick ball movement in the Maroons’ attack.
“One thing we are focusing on is to switch the field as much as possible in order to break their line of defense quickly,” she said. “Most importantly, we will win these games as a team working hard for each other on every single play.”
The Maroons will take on Rochester tonight at 7:30 p.m. before heading to Ohio to take on Case Western at 1 p.m. on Sunday.