In the coming days, the Maroons will start its final meet of the season. The stakes couldn’t be any higher. In a single-elimination tournament, Chicago will try to nab the UAA Championship.
The Maroons are ranked fourth among the eight-team UAA field, setting up a first-round matchup against five-seed Case Western.
Chicago will come into this meet with an 11–9 overall record. However, the win-loss column doesn’t quite do justice to how good the Maroons are: four of their losses have been narrow 5–4 defeats.
Both teams will enter the match quite familiar with each other. Back in February, Case got the better of the Maroons. However, just three weeks ago, Chicago handily defeated the Spartans 8–1. The South Siders, then, will head into the match prepared and confident.
Fourth-year leader Megan Tang spoke about the team’s chances this weekend, saying, “We are very confident in how we are playing right now. The team had good practices leading up to UAAs and we are playing well lately.”
With that in mind, much of the Maroons’ focus will be on Friday’s potential opponent, No. 1 seed Emory. However, the Eagles are ranked first not just in the UAA tournament, but nationally. The reigning national champions have a plethora of superstars and the experience to get back and make a run deep into the national tournament again this year. Emory will undoubtedly prove to be the Maroons’ stiffest competition yet.
And so, while Chicago is quite confident in its chances against the Spartans, there is markedly less enthusiasm among Chicago players for their potential second-round opponent. First-year Jasmine Lee commented on the possible matchup against the Eagles, saying, “We feel confident we will beat Case, but the Emory matchup will be tough for us as they are the best team in the country. We are going to go out and compete, though.”
Nonetheless, a better story line could not have set itself up for the Maroons. The Eagles will try to run through the field for their 26th UAA Championship. Chicago, meanwhile, will try to set the stage for a possible shock.
Chicago’s first match will be at 9 a.m. Thursday in Altamonte Springs, FL. If the Maroons win, their next match will take place the following day.