The No. 1 Maroons will roll into St. Louis this weekend with the hopes of completing the first undefeated season in school history. Chicago enters Saturday’s match boasting a record of 16–0–1, having already clinched the UAA conference with its win over No. 19 Carnegie Mellon last Sunday. Wash U comes in with an impressive 10–4–1 record of its own and will be playing with its NCAA tournament berth on the line. The Bears will likely give it all they have, but there is no doubt that the Maroons would be happy to play the spoiler for their longtime rival.
Despite its surprising draw with Case Western Reserve last Friday, Chicago comes in playing some of the best soccer in the country. The team averaged over two goals per game in October while conceding only two goals throughout the entire month. One of the largest factors behind the defensive wall has been third-year goalkeeper Hill Bonin.
Bonin has already set the school record for career shutouts (23 and counting) and he hasn’t even completed his third year yet. The Colorado native has posted some absurd numbers this year, including a .878 save percentage and a microscopic .29 goals against average. He hasn’t been without help though, as the entire defensive unit has been spectacular, allowing only 41 shots on goal with Bonin in the net, less than half of what they’ve allowed in previous seasons.
However, Bonin and company will be facing a Wash U team armed with a strong offense of its own. The team had averaged two goals per game over its last eight while also posting nine shutouts on the year. With this clash of two talented teams, Bonin expects Saturday’s match to be a hotly contested affair.
“It looks like Wash U will be playing for its tournament berth this weekend,” Bonin said. “A win against us will do a lot for its chances to make the tournament. We’ve spent a lot of time this week putting the thought of our records and accomplishments out of our heads—we are only focused on playing Wash U this Saturday. It’ll be a really tough test for us, and that will help prepare the team for the ‘win or go home’ mentality [that comes with] NCAA tournament soccer.”
While Chicago’s tournament berth is already clinched, closing the regular season on a victory would be a fitting end to what has to be considered the best in school history. There is no doubt that the team will show up in St. Louis and play with the passion and pride that it has displayed all season long.
The Maroons will face the Wash U Bears on Francis Field on Saturday, November 5. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.