Women’s Soccer Advances to Sweet 16

Women’s Soccer performs successfully at first 2019 NCAA Tournament game.

By Daniel Zea

The Maroon women’s soccer team began NCAA Division III Tournament play this weekend, kicking off the competition at home with a pair of dominant victories over solid opponents. Entering the tournament ranked no. 16 nationally with a record of 12–2–3, the Maroons proved why they deserve national praise, leaving the pitch Sunday with a place in the Sweet 16. This year marks the 12th time the Maroons have reached that point in the tournament.

In the first round, the Maroons took on the Pitt-Greensburg Bobcats, winners of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference. The Bobcats entered the match undefeated, but could not overcome a stifling Chicago defense, losing 5–0 on Saturday. 

The Maroons’ offense was rolling from the first whistle, opening the scoring with a goal in the 17th minute from fourth-year midfielder Hanna Watkins. Not slowing down, the Maroons scored again five minutes later in the 22nd, with second-year forward Nicole Kaspi capitalizing on a pass from fourth-year midfielder Rachel Dias. Chicago kept the pressure on until the end of the half, with second-year forward Nicole Willing scoring in the 44th to make the halftime score 3–0.

Dominating the second half as they did the first, the Maroons netted two more goals in the final 45 minutes for a final score of 5–0. Third-year midfielder Bri Fadden scored in the 68th, while second-year forward Nikola Charouzova added another in the 79’. Further illustrating the Maroons’ firm grip on the game, Chicago outshot Pitt-Greensburg 36–2 overall and 22–1 on goal. Third-year Miranda Malone and second-year Emma Smith combined for the shutout in goal.

Moving on to the second round on Sunday, the Maroons continued their excellent play against the Augsburg University Auggies, who entered the game with a record of 15–4–2. With another stellar offensive performance, the Maroons defeated Augsburg 4–1, moving on to the round of 16. Katie Jasminski stated afterwards, “We came out really strong this weekend and dominated both of our games. It was definitely a great team effort.” 

Just as they had against Pitt-Greensburg, the Maroons put the pressure on early, creating opportunities from start. First-year midfielder Annie Mitchell was the first to take advantage, scoring in the 20th minute for the first goal of her UChicago career. Within the next three minutes, the Maroons added another, with Hanna Watkins scoring in the 23th for her team-leading 12th goal. Piling on in the second half, Katie Jasminski picked up her second assist of the weekend, setting up fourth-year forward Adrianna Vera for the third goal of the game. While Augsburg netted a goal in the 80th, third-year midfielder Claudia Hodgetts quickly answered, taking advantage of a corner kick opportunity to make the score 4-1. Once again, Chicago outshot their opponent, this time 22–10 overall and 14–4 on goal.

Reflecting on the weekend, Jasminski conveyed she felt the team’s performance “sets [them] up really well for this coming weekend in the round of 16.” Not satisfied, however, she added, “We are going to keep building in practice this week and are super excited to face rematches against some teams we played earlier in the season.” The team will travel to St. Louis next weekend to face the no. 8 Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens, who dealt the Maroons a 1–0 loss in September. Chicago will look to avenge that loss on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.