October 21, 2011

Chicago takes on non-UAA foe before conference finale

The women’s soccer team is looking forward to its next game after coming off a big win against NYU last weekend. It’ll be a battle of colorful mascots as the Maroons take on the Big Blue of Millikin in Decatur, IL on Saturday at noon. Millikin enters the game with a record of 7–5–1, and Chicago boasts a record of 7–4–2. The win last weekend against a tough UAA opponent in NYU has Chicago optimistic about its chances for the rest of the year.

“[Beating NYU] helped us to regain a lot of our confidence in our ability to create and convert offensive chances,” said fourth-year goalie Emma Gormley. This confidence and focus in practice will help Chicago overtake Millikin, even though the Maroons aren’t familiar with the Big Blue.

“I personally don’t know a lot about Millikin,” Gormley says.  “We haven’t played them in the time I’ve been at Chicago. I’m just going to go into the game assuming they’ll be a tough team that we’ll have to play at our best.”

The Maroons have been planning on doing just that. Although Millikin is unranked and the Maroons are currently ranked fourth in the Central region, practices have been tough all week so that the Maroons can have a strong showing.

“To prepare for Millikin, we’ve been working on improving ourselves collectively,” said Assistant Coach Bannon Stroud. “We are perfecting what we can control and making sure that we are playing technically sharp.”

“We have to stay focused at every practice,” says second-year defender Katie Dana.

While Millikin isn’t in the UAA, the game is still important for the team’s end-of-season success.

“At this point, every game we have left is important,” said Gormley. “We need to do as well against Millikin as in the rest of our conference games to put ourselves in the best position to make it to the tournament.”

“Our coach told us to look at every game like it is an NCAA tournament game,” said Dana.  “We have to mentally prepare for every game like it could be the last game of our season. Every game is seen as an opportunity to get better and prepare for UAAs and the tournament.”

“With a win this weekend, our winning percentage will rise,” said Stroud. “We need it to be as high as possible at the end of the season, so every game from here on out has long-term effects.”

The NCAA tournament begins during the second week of November. Placement in the tournament is determined by the overall record of each team and its strength of schedule. With a win this weekend, the Maroons will continue to improve their record and improve their chances of extending their season.