October 11, 2013

Improved team ready for revenge

Following an impressive road victory over Carnegie Mellon, the 2012 UAA co-champions, the No. 23 Maroons (6–2–1) will host the Emory Eagles (7–3–1) tomorrow morning.

After last weekend’s 2–1 victory over then–No. 17 Carnegie, Chicago jumped into the nation’s top 25. Carnegie dropped out of the rankings.

Third-year forward and captain Kyle Kurfirst feels good about the team’s quality of play thus far.

“We have done a pretty good job of bringing a high level of intensity, competitiveness, and execution in practice, and that has translated into some good results for us against strong opponents,” Kurfirst said. “Coach Babst has done a great job of demanding the best out of us each day, and every player has answered that challenge.”

Intensity will be a big factor in Saturday’s game against Emory. Last year, the home Eagles came out victorious in double overtime over the Maroons by a score of 4–3, so this year’s contest will surely be heated.

“I think the big thing on Saturday is bringing competitive energy for 90 minutes,” said fourth-year midfielder Sam Preston. “That’s what it will take against a team like Emory. Both teams will make good plays and mistakes, but it’s about setting a tone and making them respect our style of play.”

Kurfirst agrees that setting the tone and controlling the flow of the game will be vital on Saturday.

“We plan to start the game with almost a chaotic level of intensity, chasing each ball down and playing deep passes in behind the Emory defense,” he said. “In the first 15 minutes, we will try to create a frantic atmosphere that could force Emory into a mistake that we can capitalize off of.

“From there we’ll bring in some of our playmakers who can settle the game down and break down Emory with dynamic passing and movement. This is a strategy we have employed in the past few games, and it has worked well.”

Even though the Eagles have bested the Maroons in both their games in the last two years, Chicago has gained confidence this season, particularly after defeating Carnegie.

“We have done a much better job this year with closing out games in the final minutes, and I think that comes with the team’s developing maturity and growing confidence late in games. When our team is playing sharp, with quick passes, dynamic movement, and efficient finishing, we are as good as any team out there,” Kurfirst said.

Chicago will bring its energized style to Stagg Field at 11 a.m. tomorrow against Emory.