Slew of rookies to face off against a veteran squad in Aurora

The men’s soccer squad will face off against Aurora on their opposition’s Senior Day. Aurora boasts six fourth-year players. In contrast, the Maroon offense has been relying on the young talent of their youngest members.

By Michael Hinkley

Coming off of a 3–0 trouncing of UAA rival NYU, the Maroons will make the short trip to Aurora, IL on Sunday to face the Spartans of Aurora. Chicago enters the game with a record of 8–4–2 overall, while its out-of-conference opponents stand at 6–6–2.  The team will look to carry the momentum from its recent win into this match. 

First-year forward Matthew Koh, whose creative offensive play helped the Maroons break down the NYU back line, is confident the team can build off of the recent victory.

“Our game against NYU was definitely a big win,” said Koh. “We are taking the rest of the season game by game, so I am excited to play against this Aurora team and keep the momentum we have going.”

Last year, the Maroons dominated Aurora in a 5–1 win. The Spartans hope to bounce back and exact revenge on the South Siders, who will need to avoid overlooking their challengers from the west.

Additionally, Sunday marks Aurora’s Senior Day.  This is sure to be a real test, as the home team will come out highly motivated. While the Spartans will try to send their veterans off with a victory, the Maroons are looking to crash the party.  Upperclassmen play a huge role on both teams, in terms of both leadership and performance; Aurora will be honoring six fourth-years this weekend while the Chicago roster lists only four graduating members.

Koh anticipates that the occasion will create a spirited playing environment. 

“Playing an opposing team celebrating a senior day will definitely create a strong, competitive atmosphere that both teams can feed off of,” he said. “Both teams will come out extremely motivated, and it should be a fun thing to be a part of.”

While fourth-years will be celebrated on Sunday in Aurora, first-years have contributed a great deal to the Maroons success this season. Koh tallied two assists against NYU last weekend, rounding out his team-leading total of five on the season. His counterpart, first-year midfielder Max Lopez, has hit the back of the net four times this year, including two goals in the last three contests. This sort of young talent is promising for the Chicago squad and bodes well for the years to come.

“If anything, as a freshman, I feel more obligated to work hard,” said Koh when asked about his experience as a first-year player. “I know when I am a senior I am going to want everybody else on the team to give their all for me. In my mind there is no next season; I am dedicated to work just as hard as any senior on the team to achieve success this year and play every game like it’s my last.”

The Maroons are looking forward to taking on the Aurora Spartans at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Vago Field.  This game will conclude the team’s non-conference schedule and will prepare them to round out the regular season with three straight UAA home games.