Chicago’s season came to a close this past weekend in Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The women’s soccer team won the first round with a matchup against Sewanee for a 3–0 win on Friday, but lost against No. 8 Thomas More College by a score of 1–0 on Sunday.
In their first match of the weekend, the squad got off to a hot start with a goal from fourth-year forward Julia Ozello in the second minute of the match. The Maroons would tally another two goals, one from second-year defender Kaitlin Price in the eighth minute and another from third-year midfielder Lily Wolfenzon in the last two minutes of the match. The Maroons killed the team statistics leading Sewanee (22–4) in shots, (11–2) in shots on goal, and (8–3) in corner kicks.
“The things that led to the shutout against Sewanee was our battle for 50/50s. We won every first and second ball and were hard on every tackle and got stuck in. Sewanee’s whole team revolved around one girl and wherever she was we shut her down, so they panicked a bit and we capitalized on our chances,” Price said.
“We put ourselves ahead in the first five minutes with a beautiful penetrating ball from Naomi Pacalin to Julia Ozello. Taking the lead this early on really set the tone for the rest of the game. We outworked them and outmatched on all of the 50/50s. We had an edge on the athletic front and our outside midfielders consistently beat their outside backs. We ended up scoring two more goals with that momentum and solid defense,” said second-year forward Caroline Olivero.
Because of the win, Chicago moved on to the second round of the tournament to face the 19–2 Thomas More for the first time ever.
The matchup featured a scoreless first half. In the second half, Chicago took more shots while trying to create opportunities to score. Despite their efforts, Thomas More scored a goal late in the 50th minute that the Maroons never responded to. In the final 90 seconds of the game Chicago earned a corner kick but just missed the goal.
The South Siders outshot their opponent (13–6) and earned more corner kicks (5–0), but lost in shots on goal (5–6).
Price believes that a failure of execution and lack of luck caused the loss in the second round.
“Against Thomas More, we also played really well and were hard with tackles. We switched our game plan up and shut down their two players that were their playmakers and kept them in their half of the field a majority of the game,” Price said. “Sadly, we didn’t capitalize on our chances and they got one clean look on goal and buried it. The only thing we could have done differently was finished our chances. We played pretty well and were just unlucky with a lot of our chances.”
“This game was particularly heartbreaking because, in my opinion, we outplayed them and were overall the better team,” Olivero said. “We outshot them significantly—more than twice what they had—and had opportunities within inches of the goal line that we just didn’t finish. They had one particularly tenacious forward that got the better of us on one play, and this play ended up deciding the game.”
“Despite this, I don’t think the score was indicative of the game overall. This was one of the best games I’d seen us play all season, and it’s unfortunate that the score did not reflect that. They put away the one chance they had and we didn’t put away the countless chances that we had, and this is one of the tragedies of the game we play. The better team doesn’t always win,” she said.
This match was the last game for the eight fourth-years. In the past four years their class received a bid to the national tournament three times and had a .679 winning percentage.
The Maroons ended their season 13–7.