Five for Friday

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

By The Sports Editors

On to the next match

After beating Buffalo State 3–1 on Thursday afternoon at the NCAA tournament, volleyball takes on Wittenberg this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. Chicago (27–10) won more matches than the Tigers (24–8) did on the season, but lost more too. Wittenberg is coming off of a 3–0 victory over Bluffton. It’s worth noting that the Tigers suffered an early-season loss to Emory, a squad that the Maroons beat twice this season, including in the UAA title match. Look for strong contributions from fourth-years Nikki DelZenero, Maggie Vaughn, and Katie Huntington, who’ve anchored the team thus far.

Postseason run set to begin

Women’s soccer (11–4–3) made the tournament for the first time since the 2010–11 school year and kicks off its postseason run tomorrow in Whitewater, WI. The Maroons will take on Capital University (16–4–1) in their first-round match. The fourth-years, who’ve now made the tournament in both their rookie and farewell seasons, won’t be willing to let this opportunity slip away quite yet. After a tough loss to No. 1 Wash U, Chicago will be even more motivated to play hard and avenge the end-of-season loss, albeit against a different opponent. Travel shouldn’t be much of an issue for the Maroons, since this leg of the tournament will be taking place in the Midwest.

Final contest for fourth-years

In football’s last three games, it has allowed just over 16 points per game. The Maroons’ (6–3, 1–1 UAA) foe this weekend is Wash U (7–2, 2–0), however, who has allowed less than three points per game in its last three contests. Obviously, momentum isn’t on the side of the South Siders, who will face some adversity playing an away game in St. Louis. Chicago’s defense has been solid this season, led by second-year defensive back Vincent Beltrano and third-year linebacker Schuyler Montefalco, but the offense, averaging only eight points per game in its last three, will need to step up against a tough Bears defense.

Men’s and women’s basketball start season

Both hoops squads open their seasons in the next few days. The men travel to Augustana College, who took a trip to Brazil over the summer. Even though the Vikings went 1–3 in their campaign, their three losses were all close, including one to the best under-22 team in Brazil. Chicago’s new-look offense will have to be on point to beat this competitor who bested the Maroons last season 70–52. The women open up today against Rockford in a two-day, four-team tournament at home. This Maroon team also has a new offensive style that might take some getting used to for the guard-heavy troupe.

Men and women hope to secure NCAA spot

Cross country will compete at the NCAA Midwest Regionals tomorrow morning in an effort to qualify for the NCAA tournament. The women, who won the UAA Championships two weeks ago and who are ranked first in the region and seventh nationally, are in good shape to qualify. The real question mark surrounds the men, who are currently ranked sixth in the region and 17th in the nation. Strangely, the problem for the Maroon men isn’t with their national ranking but their regional one. The NCAA will be reluctant to offer more than five teams from the Midwest a bid. If Chicago’s men want to keep their season going, a top-five finish this weekend is a must.