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October 20, 2016

No. 1 South Siders Play Last Game at Home

This Sunday will see the No. 1 Maroons involved in a clash against Aurora University. A victory over Aurora would allow Chicago to continue on the impressive momentum that it has built up over the season.

Indeed, with two victories against Brandeis and New York University this past Homecoming weekend, the South Siders extended their winning streak to 14, putting them at an undefeated 14–0–0 record. These victories maintained the Maroons’ position at the summit of DIII men’s soccer. With much confidence and belief, the Maroons are ready to face anything thrown at them.

Standing in their way this time around is Aurora University, which comes to Chicago with a 4–8–2 record. This is in stark contrast to Chicago’s unblemished record, as Aurora has struggled to build up any steam this season. To add onto this, the Spartans have not won in any of their last four games. With these stats, all directions point toward an easy Chicago win.

However, in the unpredictable sport of soccer, nothing can be taken for granted and the Maroons have to be wary of complacency. One player who buys into this philosophy is first-year midfielder Gary Zhao. “We are as determined and hungry as ever,” Zhao said. “It was nice to get two important wins from the weekend, but we all know that there are many things we still have to improve on. Everyone is locked in and focused on training this week to prepare for Aurora on Sunday.”

Chicago’s attack continued to be prolific over the weekend, scoring seven goals in two games. The Maroons now average a shot on target for more than half of their attempts on goal (0.505). One of the players to contribute to this was Zhao, who netted the last of Chicago’s five goals against NYU on Sunday. “I have [fourth-year] George Voulgaris to thank for the goal,” Zhao said. “His pass set me up perfectly, and I didn't have to do much to finish out the 5–0 win. I’m just happy about our team putting away our chances in the second half in addition to our defense keeping a clean sheet. The solid team win was a result of these things.”

On the other hand, the Chicago defense continued to be resolute, conceding only one goal in the two games. As is the norm, third-year goalkeeper Hill Bonin was like a wall at the back and tied the UChicago career record of clean sheets (22). He will look to break the record this Sunday against Aurora, and with defenders like first-year Sam Drablos in front of him, there is a high probability he will achieve it.

With morale high, the Maroons will look to continue their dominance on Sunday at home, kicking off against Aurora at 1 p.m. on Stagg Field.

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