Five for Friday

Taking a look at the week’s key storylines.

By Jake Walerius

Maroons hope to take rivals’ tournament spot

Win, loss, win, loss, win, loss. That’s been men’s soccer’s UAA campaign so far. If the pattern holds, Chicago will enjoy a win against No. 19 Wash U tomorrow in its final game of the regular season. But the inconsistency remains a worry. Which Maroon team is going to show up, the one that toppled No. 12 Rochester and No. 13 Carnegie Mellon or the one that lost 2–0 to Emory and 4–0 to Case Western? A win would take Chicago’s conference record up to 4–3, not overly impressive in its own right, but those four wins will have all come against nationally ranked teams. This isn’t just a conference showdown. It’s an NCAA tournament decider.

Offense ready for explosion

After averaging 23.5 points per game in its first six games this season, football has scored only nine points in its last two. The defense has, for the most part, been very strong, and the first round of UAA play last week saw only 35 total points. Tomorrow’s opponent, Carnegie Mellon, contributed seven of those. On the face of it, then, this should be another defensive game. But the Tartans’ offensive showing last week was also something of a letdown for a team that has scored over 20 points seven times this season. Clearly, both of these teams have offensive talent. The question is which one will live up to that talent tomorrow afternoon.

Best team in the country in town again

A month ago tomorrow, women’s soccer held then–No. 1 Wheaton to a 1–1 tie. Tomorrow, the Maroons face the current No. 1 team in the country, Wash U, in their final conference game of the season. A win will give Chicago a huge opportunity to secure an NCAA tournament berth. Even a tie, given several impressive results against ranked teams already this year, could be enough. The key for the Maroons, who sit third in the UAA, will be to finish conference play ahead of No. 23 Carnegie Mellon, who sits at fourth. Chicago will gain some encouragement from the fact that the Tartans face a difficult test as well, against No. 8 Emory, but the Maroons will be eager to earn a spot in the tournament on their own merit, not because of the failure of their rivals.

Chicago out to justify seed

Volleyball enters the UAA Championships this weekend as the No. 1 seed for the first time in the program’s history. Of the eight teams in the UAA, however, the Maroons are not ranked highest nationally. Chicago is ranked 20th, Wash U is eighth, and Emory is sixth. The Maroons hold the No. 1 seed in the conference thanks to victories against Wash U and Emory at the UAA Round Robins earlier in the season, but they will be under no illusions about the size of the task ahead of them if they are to win the conference title. They were underdogs when they beat Emory and Wash U for the first time this year, so any element of surprise they had back then will be gone. Chicago is going to have to adapt quickly to its new favorite tag.

Young South Siders take on conference rivals

The future is very bright for the aquatic Maroons. In last week’s meet at Wheaton, the men’s team won eight races, and all Chicago victors were first- and second-years; the women, also impressive, won five races, all with first- and second-years. Wash U will host the young South Siders at their first two-team meet and first UAA competition of the season. Last season, the Maroons handily defeated Wash U in their head-to-head matchup by a score of 175–119, so even though many of the young South Siders weren’t around last year, they’ll be aiming to re-create that result.