Rochester, Case to test Men’s Soccer on the road

After faltering against Emory, the Maroons look forward to Saturday’s game against Rochester.

By Lori Knapp

After taking its first loss during UAA play in a close match against ninth-ranked Emory, men’s soccer hopes to redeem itself this weekend as the Maroons remain on the road for two more UAA tournament games. In an effort to match their strong UAA performance last year in which they finished 5–1–1 in their conference, the Maroons started the tournament strong, defeating second-ranked Carnegie 2­–1 in double overtime at home. Both defense and offense performed spectacularly in this game with Chicago out shooting Carnegie 21–14, including 9–0 in overtime. The winning goal of this upset victory showcased the team’s strong skills and teamwork. It was scored with 1:20 left by fourth-year Alex Clifford off a pass from first-year Sam Duffield.

“The game against Carnegie, we played great. We were moving the ball well,” said second year Kevin Wilson. However, it remains to be seen if the team can repeat this solid performance on the road.

“The game against Emory, we were excited to get going,” Wilson continued, citing the missed penalty kick in the eleventh minute of the second period as a key moment. “You’ve got to capitalize on those chances.”

“We were unfortunate not to have knicked a win at Emory, but that’s football,” said third-year Alan Pikna. “It’s an unpredictable game and sometimes the better team doesn’t win.”

The Maroons’ defense has stepped up time and again this season. Third-year goalkeeper Chris Giusto has led the effort with an average of almost three saves per game this season. This includes a particularly strong performance against Emory, in which he had six saves.

In their next few games, Chicago will be looking for its offense to come out strong and score early in the game. “We have big, upcoming away weekends at Rochester and Case Western,” added Pikna. “It would be huge to win both games on the road, especially since right now in the UAA, it seems that any team could win or lose against any opponent.”

Thus far, the team has failed to lose when it has scored in the first period. However, this season a majority of their goals have come in the second period, putting all of the pressure on the defense. It will be crucial for the Maroons to score early. To this end, the team will look to third-year Stanton Coville to bring a strong offensive performance. Last year, Coville scored a team-best three goals in UAA play—and made the All-UAA Second Team. This season, Coville is leading the team offensively once again with five goals, but has yet to score in UAA play.

In their upcoming games, the Maroons will be playing Rochester and Case. Last year, they defeated both of these teams, winning against Rochester 1–0 in overtime and defeating Case 3–0.

Wilson acknowledges the next few games will be tough, but he has confidence in his team. “Rochester is 0–1–1, and they’re usually one of the best teams in the conference. They’ll be coming out hard but we’ll be ready,” he said.

In order to repeat last year’s success this year, it is essential that the Maroons relieve some of the pressure on the defense by scoring early. If they can do this, they should be able to take the games and gain some momentum for the rest of the tournament.