Five for Friday

Taking a look at the week’s key story lines.

By Jake Walerius

1. Offense hoping to break out of slump

Women’s soccer has averaged less than a goal a game in its last four games and has been heavily outshot over the same period. The defense has, thankfully for them, impressed over that same period, but last weekend’s 2–0 loss to Emory only served to highlight Chicago’s misfiring offense. With the South Siders sitting five points off the UAA lead, and Rochester and Case Western both in town this weekend, they need to find some goals fast. The South Siders will look to third-year Sara Kwan and fourth-years Micaela Harms and Natalia Jovanovic for some inspiration in front of goal. The three boast 14 goals and 17 assists between them this season, and with the biggest weekend of the Maroons’ season coming up, they will need to be on target again.

2. Expect high-scoring homecoming

The Macalester College Scots will be the guests at this year’s homecoming game. This should be welcome news to the Maroons, who are coming off of their first loss of the year, a 41–34 defeat to Rhodes College. Despite the loss, Chicago performed well (a couple of special teams blunders cost the Maroons the game), and fourth-year quarterback Vincent Cortina shone in particular. Cortina threw for 354 yards and five touchdowns and must be relishing the opportunity to face a Macalester team that gave up 56 points in its last game against Carleton and 26 in the game before against Mayville State. In what should be a lively atmosphere, expect the South Siders to get on the board early and often.

3. Big weekend for men’s soccer

This year’s UAA conference is finely poised. Chicago is tied for third with No. 12 Brandeis and No. 23 Carnegie Mellon, teams that both made the NCAA tournament last year. The Maroons welcome conference leaders No. 18 Rochester to Stagg Field this evening before facing last-place Case Western on Sunday. The Yellowjackets have two wins out of two games in the UAA this year and enjoyed an impressive 3–2 win away against Brandeis last week. If they win tonight, the Maroons could take a share of the conference lead into their game against the underdog Case Spartans. If they lose, Sunday’s game will become more about staying alive than about making a statement.

4. Emory poses biggest threat to Maroons in Round Robin II

Volleyball has a perfect record in conference play after sweeping the first UAA Round Robin of the season two weeks ago. Those victories will certainly give the South Siders confidence heading into Round Robin II, and they will need to be at their best as they take on Case Western, Carnegie Mellon, NYU, and No. 4 Emory. Chicago, ranked 19th in the nation in the most recent NCAA polls, will fancy its chances against Case, Carnegie, and NYU, but Emory will pose a much bigger challenge. Still, the Maroons need only look back to their victory over No. 11 Wash U during the last weekend of UAA play, only their second in history against the Bears, for a little extra inspiration in their first game of the weekend against Emory. Another unlikely win would set the tone nicely for the remainder of the weekend.

5. Cross country set for final day of prep before UAAs

After the cancellation of the North Central Cardinal Open next week, Saturday’s UW–Oshkosh Brooks Invitational now represents the Maroons’ final opportunity to prepare for the UAA Championship, which takes place in Pittsburgh, PA on November 2. Chicago’s preparation could hardly have gone smoother. The men have finished first in two out of four meets this year, while the women have been top three out of five times. Hopes are high for the conference meet this year, with the women ranked sixth in the nation and the men 30th. The result of this weekend’s race will mean relatively little come conference, but don’t underestimate the confidence these teams will gain from a commanding performance in Oshkosh.