November 12, 2013

Late PKs send team to final-day defeat

Leading 3–1 with 10 minutes to play, Chicago men’s soccer (9–6–2, 3–4–0 UAA) gave up two goals to send the game to overtime and another shortly after to lose the final game of its season against the No. 19 Wash U Bears (10–4–3, 3–3–3) by a score of 4–3.

Chicago dominated the opening exchanges, scoring two goals in the first 15 minutes and recording 10 shots on the visiting team’s goal.

“The first 20 minutes of the game we were buzzing and produced two goals and another that was barely disallowed,” assistant coach Mike Madero said. “That start was really an extension of a great week of training. Our energy and focus was phenomenal.”

In the second half, Wash U settled into its offensive rhythm, scoring within four minutes of the restart.

After being pegged back at times in the beginning of the half, the Maroons found some respite when they were awarded a penalty for a handball in the 64th minute. Third-year defender Nick Codispoti finished confidently into the bottom left corner to give Chicago a 3–1 lead.

With seven minutes remaining, Bears defender Jack Fischer headed in to bring his team within one. Three minutes after that, Chicago was penalized for a handball in the box and midfielder Michael Flowers converted the penalty to tie the game 3–3.

Five minutes into overtime Wash U was awarded its second penalty of the game, this time for a foul. The Maroons protested the call, but midfielder Jonathan Lipsey scored from the spot to give his team the final word in what had been an up-and-down game for Chicago.

“In the second half, Wash U stayed composed, had the benefit of the wind, and played some great soccer themselves,” Madero said. “It is just incredibly disappointing that the referee played the deciding role in awarding two penalty kicks in the last few minutes to end the game. The first one was very dubious. The second was simply wrong—it felt like a dagger.”

The game concluded what has also been an up-and-down season for the Maroons, who displayed their quality when beating the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the UAA but failed to maintain that standard against lesser teams.

“There were times this year that we played great soccer and demonstrated that we could beat just about anybody. Unfortunately, there were a few games that we let our standards slip and, in a very competitive league, it is enough to not get into postseason play,” Madero said. “We are massively disappointed but hold our heads high knowing that we ended the season with one of our best performances.”

Yesterday afternoon, 64 teams were selected to play in the 2013 NCAA Division III men’s soccer tournament. With a sixth-place finish in the UAA, the Maroons missed the cut, bringing their season, and the careers of the four fourth-years on the squad, to a close.

“Each senior set a great example for all the younger members of the team, and they will be especially missed. It is extremely disappointing Sunday’s game ended the way it did, but I want to thank the seniors for the leadership and effort they provided every day,” said third-year forward and captain Kyle Kurfirst.

Rochester (13–2–2, 5–1–1) gained an automatic bid to the tournament as UAA champions, and Carnegie (11-2-3, 4-1-2) and Brandeis (14–4–1, 3–3–1) will also represent the conference after receiving at-large bids on Monday.