With upset at Wash U, men’s soccer can stay above .500

After Senior Day win, Maroons look toward strong finish

By Gracie Sonnabend

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Coming off of a 1–0 home finale win, the Maroons (8–7–1) will finish off their regular season Saturday with an away game against Wash U (13–1–4). The outcome of the match may influence Chicago’s chances at an NCAA tournament spot.

“The people who handle those formulas and calculations– that’s in their hands. The only way it’s going to matter is if we win,” head coach Scott Wiercinski explained.

More importantly, the match presents an opportunity to close the season with a victory over a longtime rival. “Because this last game doesnít mean much in terms of winning the conference or receiving an automatic bid, it will be a challenge for our team to dig deep and find the spirit needed to win,” commented third-year Alan Pikna.

Indeed, drive and energy are key to the Maroons’ success on Saturday. “We need to come out strong, to take an early chance to open the game up and turn it to our advantage” Wiercinski explained. Nabbing an initial lead would also give the Maroons a protective edge against the late-game strikes that cost them the recent University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, Rochester, and Case games.

The Bears are coming off a tough draw with New York University (10–2–4), currently ranked first in UAA standings. Wash U is now tied for the second-place UAA spot with Emory (14–1–2). Chicago lags in fifth place.

“The biggest thing is that they are a very good team, and we need to come out with a lot of energy. If we do that, I think we have the players and the talent we need and we can do very well,” said Wiercinski.

Pikna elaborated further on the team’s strategy: “In tactical terms, the strategy seems to be a one-for-one matchup on the field in terms of formation, in the hopes that our talent and hard work will be greater than any of the respective Wash U players.”

After wrapping up this season’s home games with Sunday’s win against Brandeis, a victory at Wash U would make for a triumphant ending to what has been a somewhat difficult autumn. “Hopefully our team unity and chemistry will show through despite some of our unfortunate results this season,” said Pikna.

The Maroons seem poised for a solid performance this Saturday in St. Louis.