This past weekend marked the end of the 2016 University of Chicago women's soccer season. Fortunately, the UAA conference title was staring the Chicago women in the face. The South Siders squared off against archrival Wash U this past weekend with the conference title and postseason implications on the line. Unfortunately, the Maroons were not able to cap their season off with a championship. Wash U was victorious by a score of 1–0 in overtime.
The Maroons traveled down to St. Louis for the weekend with a 4–2 conference record and an overall record of 15–2. Chicago's conference record put it right behind first place Wash U in the UAA standings. On Saturday, the table was set for the first and second place teams to battle in a winner-take-all match for the UAA championship.
The match was all it was built up to be. Both sides came out playing fast and physical soccer. After the first half of action, the score was tied 0–0. In the following half, the results for both sides were more of the same. Many shots yielded no goals for the Maroons and the Bears in regulation. When 90 minutes were up, the score was still knotted 0–0. This tightly contended match would have to be settled in overtime.
In overtime, the action picked up quickly. After 90 minutes of scoreless soccer, it took only nine minutes of extra time before there was a goal. Wash U’s Katie Chandler broke away from the Chicago defense in the 99th minute and finished in the back of the net. Chandler’s goal was the deciding factor in Wash U’s 1–0 victory. Wash U finished the 2016 season as UAA champions.
The UAA championship was not the only thing on the line this weekend for Chicago. There were also huge postseason implications for both teams. The Maroons came into the weekend ranked eighth in the nation and Wash U came into the game ranked 10th. With Wash U’s championship victory, they earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Thankfully, the Maroons were not penalized for the loss and were still selected for the tournament. Additionally, Chicago was selected to host the tournament’s opening round games. This upcoming Saturday, Chicago is scheduled to face Webster. Then, if the Maroons win, they will host the winners of the Augsburg vs. MSOE game.
The team is excited about the prospect of playing at home in the playoffs. “We were very excited to find out we will be hosting the first and second round of the tournament,” third-year defender Whitley Cargile said. “Although we were successful [Webster], we are not taking the game lightly. We are focused on having a solid week of training, preparing for the game and hopefully more games to come.”
After this weekend the Maroons are down, but they are certainly not out. They will need to forget the tough loss in the UAA if they want a chance to make a run for the NCAA tournament. Chicago will kick off against Webster on Saturday, November 12 at 11 a.m. in the first round of the NCAA tournament.