After so-so start, expectations rise as UAA play begins

Chicago men’s soccer is 6-4 heading into stronger UAA play.

By Bronagh Daly

Although the Maroons started this season 3–0, they will enter this weekend with a 6–4 record.

This record, however, does not dampen the team’s outlook on the upcoming season.

“Although we had a few results not go our way, preseason was a good experience for the team,” said first-year goalkeeper Hill Bonin. “We dropped a few games that we shouldn’t have, which is always frustrating, but as a team, our chemistry, confidence, and determination has increased dramatically, and we are looking forward to proving that we can beat any team we play.”

Second-year midfielder Chris Mathis has a similar view concerning the squad’s preseason performance.

“While it’s true our record right now could be better, it is not an accurate judgment of this team’s ability to be successful,” Mathis said. “Each win gave us a look at what we are capable of, and each loss humbled us and showed us our weaknesses.”

Such weaknesses are one of the main aspects of the game the South Siders have been focusing on improving as they approach their first school-year match against Carnegie Mellon tomorrow. The team is focused on putting the necessary work and training in to achieve more positive results.

“My biggest strength is my athleticism and my communication on the field,” Bonin said.  “I am a firm believer that a game can be won or lost in the gym and film room. Putting in the extra reps in fitness or practice and studying film has done wonders for me this season.”

This training was directly displayed in the final match of preseason against Carthage.  In this match, Bonin’s performance was top-notch, marking a new career high at five saves.

Mathis also displayed his strengths in the game against Carthage, scoring the Maroons’ winning goal for a final score of 2–1.

“I told my mom I’d score for her birthday, so it felt pretty good,” Mathis said.

He also went on to speak of the strengths of his fellow teammates.

“[Second-year defender] Christian Belanger had his first official start and instantly stood out as a solid left fullback,” Mathis said.  “[First-year midfielder] Andre Abedian also reminded us with his goal that he can be a threat in the air.”

The team as a whole does not plan to simply rely on each member’s strengths, though, and instead intends to improve as the regular season begins, preparing harder than ever for the match against Carnegie Mellon this weekend.

“We go into every match knowing that when we step on the field with every player locked in, we can beat anyone,” Bonin said.  “No matter who we play, we hold ourselves to a standard where everyone works and gives their all. If we play like we can, I know that we can beat Carnegie and any other team in our conference.”

Agreeing with Bonin, Mathis went further into specifics.

“As long as we stay connected in the midfield and in the back, we just need to focus on executing in the final third,” Mathis said.  “So far, we’ve implemented a lot of fitness and technical work in preparation for [Carnegie]. All around, our coaches have relentlessly tested our speed and quality of play.”

The Maroons kick off against Carnegie Mellon at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Stagg Field.