The No. 7 Maroon men’s soccer team won their two games in the NCAA regional this weekend to advance to the Sweet 16 next weekend. Chicago defeated Lake Forest College in the first round, 6–2, and Capital University 2–0 in the second.
In the first match, the Foresters started hot, scoring their first goal in the first 11 seconds of the game and their second a little before the 20-minute mark. A lesser team would have let those quick goals rattle them, but the Maroons stayed focused and still outshot Lake Forest 13–7 in the first half. Chicago’s first goal came on an own goal by the Foresters to bring it to 2–1 heading into halftime. First-year goalkeeper Aaron Katsimpalis made a very key save to prevent the Lake Forest lead from extending to 3–1.
The Chicago offense entered the second half with renewed intensity. Fourth-year Andre Abedian started the scoring onslaught barely two minutes into the second half to tie the game. Third-year Max Lopez followed that up off third-year Matthew Koh’s assist for his eighth game-winning goal of the season. With the momentum firmly in the Maroons’ favor, the goals kept coming. Abedian scored again, followed by goals from first-year Bryce Millington and second-year Gary Zhao. Overall, the Maroons outshot the Foresters 32–7 and had 13 corner kicks compared to the visiting team’s none.
In the regional final, the Maroons defeated Capital 2–0 off of two Koh goals. In the first half, the game was scoreless, but the Maroons outshot the Crusaders 8–1. Chicago kept pressuring the Crusader defense, however, and it paid off, as Koh scored in the 65th minute to put the Maroons ahead. Koh consolidated the lead off an assist from second-year Dayo Adeosun. Katsimpalis shut out the Crusader offense with two saves.
Abedian had much to say about his team’s success, saying, “From day one our goal has been to win the national championship and I couldn’t be more confident in our team’s ability to accomplish that goal.” He made note that his teammates weren’t getting too far ahead of themselves, adding, “However, our mentality now is that we are completely focused on preparing for Calvin on Friday and taking this tournament one game at a time.”
With these wins, Chicago’s record now stands at 18–2, and they have set a new school record for most wins in a season. They will play Calvin College at 5 p.m. on Friday, November 17.