Amid Homecoming and Senior Day this past weekend, the University of Chicago men’s and women’s soccer teams both faced off against New York University and Brandeis University. While last week the men’s team (14–2–1) took two losses, they bounced back with a two-game winning streak, while the women’s team (13–3–1) concluded the weekend with two consecutive losses in conference play.
The UChicago men’s soccer team matchup against NYU commenced with fast-paced ball movement from both sides. Fourth-year Matthew Koh energized the crowd after a close free kick in the 20th minute in which the NYU keeper made the save. The crowd knew a goal was coming. Shortly after, in the 32nd minute, third-year Dayo Adeosun was able to fire the ball directly into the net, after crucial touches made from third-year Sam Drablos and second-year Scott Lich. The second half was filled with shots taken back and forth between the Maroons and the Violets, with the Maroons not wanting to settle for a 1–0 lead, knowing their competition. But the Maroons’ defense was responsible for shutting down the Violets’ offense, not allowing them to score at all, resulting in the Maroons once again taking possession of the ball.
The Maroons brought in the same intensity from the last game and looked to neutralize the Brandeis threat early, with Koh giving UChicago a 1–0 lead in the first two minutes. The Judges had a difficult time readjusting, knowing that the Maroons’ offense was not going to stop. In the 13th minute, fourth-year Nicco Capotosto took ball possession from the midfield and sent it to the right to an open Koh, who pushed the ball forward and sent a low, powerful strike into the back of the net. With the early lead, the Maroons maintained possession and controlled the ball movement throughout the remainder of the game, with several balls hitting the post. UChicago did well in playing both sides of the field, with two saves made by second-year Aaron Katsimpalis, and also outshot their opponents by a 12–10 margin.
When asked about what it meant to end the losing streak and about the role the fourth-year players have had on the team, Katsimpalis said, “The wins this weekend put us back on track for our goal of winning the conference championship. As for the seniors, through their constant hard work and leadership, they’ve truly set the tone for this program from the moment they got here and are the reason we are here today.”
Both women’s matches had seen constant attack and pressure from the Maroons, where they outshot their opponents and were relentless in seeking the equalizer. The Violets stunned the Maroons in the early minutes of the first half by scoring after a missed free kick from UChicago. The response was immediate. The offensive blitzkrieg was led by fourth-year Jenna McKinney, who found openings and cut through the defense in hopes of scoring. Nevertheless, the Violets persisted. Each of those plays were cut short by the defense. While the Maroons mounted the pressure as the first half concluded, the only close opportunity to score was from NYU, off a counterattack that third-year Katie Donovan was able to save.
The second half produced the same intensity, and despite brief counterattacks by the Violets, the Maroons had taken control of the game. But each opening was narrowly shut by the Violet goalkeeper. The last missed opportunity was a header by second-year Katie Jasminski that narrowly hit the crossbar in the 79th minute. Ultimately, the Violets managed to survive, with their keeper making an impressive 11 saves. UChicago had 29 shots with 11 on goal, compared to NYU’s five shots with three on goal.
Following their first conference loss, the Maroons looked to right that wrong when they faced off against Brandeis. Both sides proved to be evenly matched in moving the ball up the pitch in order to break the deadlock. The Judges proved deadly when they had possession, using their pace and stamina to battle past the Maroon defense. Donovan came through each time to put a stop to these threats. Showing no mercy in response to the Judges’ attack, the duo of McKinney and Jasminski set up plays for themselves and their teammates to take the lead, but the ball could not find its way into the net.
While coming up short could have led to frustration with the second half underway, the Maroons remained composed and on the offensive. However, Brandeis finally had their opportunity and took it, scoring in the 70th minute after a Judge player beat second-year keeper Miranda Malone to the ball, who had come out to make the save. With 20 minutes remaining, the Maroons attempted anything and everything to send the ball into the box for an open player, such as runs, shots, and crosses, but it was not meant to be. The Judges took the win, and were more efficient with their shots, having 10 of their 15 shots on goal compared to the Maroons’ six of 18 shots. Keepers Donovan and Malone combined for a total of nine saves this game.
The Maroons continue their conference play as they travel to face Wash U on Saturday, November 3. The men’s team plays at 11 a.m., while the women’s team plays at 1:30 p.m.