UChicago Men’s Soccer Wins First-Ever National Title

After a dominant 16-0-1 regular season, the Maroons beat Williams 2-0 on Saturday afternoon to win the DIII National Championship. Head coach Julianne Sitch became the first-ever female coach to win a men’s collegiate soccer championship.


UChicago Athletics

The men’s soccer team celebrates their title.

By Finn Hartnett

The UChicago men’s soccer team made history on and off the field Saturday afternoon, as the Maroons beat Williams College 2-0 in Salem, Virginia to claim the first national championship in the program’s 75-year history. Julianne Sitch, in her first year as head coach of the Maroons, became the first-ever female head coach to win a men’s collegiate soccer championship.

This victory represented a major accomplishment for a university that had only won their first NCAA team championship last year in men’s tennis. But the 2022 men’s soccer team was by no means a Cinderella story. UChicago’s win against Williams came after a dominant regular season in which the Maroons won 16 games, drew one (a 0-0 match against NYU), and lost none. They added six more wins to that tally in the playoffs.

It was Williams who looked to play the role of spoiler in the championship match. The Ephs had drawn more games than they had won in the regular season before embarking on a magical postseason run, which had seen them upset NYU, Ohio Northern, and Kenyon on their way to the finals. However, third-year Ryan Yetishefsky told The Maroon that the team was nonplussed by Williams’ recent results. “Going into the finals we were very confident that we were the better team. We’d seen plenty of film of our opponents and knew what to expect in the match. Our mentality was to respect the threats that Williams posed but ultimately to come in and impose our style of play onto them,” he said.

After a cagey first half to the championship match, third-year Robbie Pino gave the Maroons the opening goal in the 66th minute. After controlling a pass from fourth-year Naz Kabbani 25 yards out, Pino unleashed a beautiful shot that sailed past Ephs goalie Ben Diffley and into the top corner. Yetishefsky, who led the Maroons in scoring in 2022, then capped the game off with a second goal with 13 seconds left to play. After Williams brought their entire team forward in search of an equalizer, the Chicago striker found himself with the ball in space following a Williams free kick. Yetishefsky flew downfield and was able to pass the ball into an empty net from about 40 yards away, sending the UChicago fans who had made the trip south—as well as the entire Maroon bench—into delirium. “Honestly, I felt that before I scored the game was already over,” Yetishefsky admitted. “Our defense was exceptional today… I was happy to score, but I was more excited for the team.”

The game ended not long after. As players on both the winning and losing sides dropped to their knees, one could feel the emotions reverberate in the damp Virginian air. Williams College had fallen short after a magical playoff run; UChicago, who had made the NCAA Championship tournament four times in the last five years, had finally gone all the way. It was an intense moment, to be sure. Head coach Sitch, however, remained relatively calm. As the cameras cut to her, she smiled slightly, applauding her team as she walked onto the field. It was only after a few players from the subs bench doused her with a Gatorade cooler that she broke into a grin.