It’s been a busy weekend for the University of Chicago men’s soccer team. The Maroons hosted four teams competing in the NCAA Sectional Championship for a spot in the Final Four. The Maroons came out on top, booking their spot in the national semifinals in Greensboro, North Carolina after a weekend full of rain, lightning, and drama.
In their first game in the round of 16, Chicago faced No. 1 Calvin College. The Maroon offense started the game ready to play and scored two goals in the first four minutes. The first goal came courtesy of second-year Dayo Adeosun in the first minute off an assist by first-year Scott Lich. Barely two minutes later, third-year Max Lopez scored to consolidate the Maroon lead. The scoring momentum was unfortunately stymied by an hour and a half of rain and lightning delays.
Coming back from the break, it was up to the defense to close out the game. Led by fourth-year goalkeeper Hill Bonin, who recorded his 14th win, the Maroons held onto their lead for the rest of the game and earned their 10th shutout of the year.
While the Maroons took out the top seed, their next match against UAA rival Emory, the team that ended the team’s perfect record and cost them the No. 1 ranking, would not be an easy affair. The Maroons once again started well, scoring first in the ninth minute. However, the Eagles struck back in the second half to tie the game at 1-1. Neither team could crack the other’s defense for the rest of regulation. The teams headed into overtime, where the stalemate continued. After double overtime and no more goals, the match went to penalty kicks, in true movie fashion. It was now up to first-year goalkeeper Aaron Katsimpalis and five players to win or lose this game. The Maroons showed the ice in their veins as they converted all five penalty kicks and Katsimpalis held the Eagles to only three goals, winning the game 5-3 in PK and earning their Final Four bid for the first time since 1996.
The road to a national championship will not get any less challenging for the Maroons. They face No. 5 North Park University, who they lost to 1-0 earlier in the season. North Park is currently 20-1 and on a 20-match winning streak. Looking ahead to this game, Adeosun is nothing but confident in the team’s chances, “The loss to North Park ended up being great for the playoff standings and for the team in general. Having that be the only game I was injured, I plan on making a major impact for the squad in this next match. I trust our team and the confidence that is floating around in each individual player, and as long as we maintain our hunger and determination, I think we will have a great chance to win in this rematch.”