Chicago faced off against Carnegie Mellon to begin a month filled with crucial conference matchups.
Neither the Maroons (6–4–1) nor the Tartans (6–3–1) managed to put the ball in the net, and the game ended in a double-overtime tie, with each team shooting on goal nine times.
A combination of cold, rainy weather, and the long match may have contributed to growing fatigue among players from both teams.
“I think it’s fair to say that we tired as the game went on, but surely they did too,” said fourth-year midfielder Michael Choquette. “They definitely had more of a foothold in the game in the last 20 minutes than we did, but we definitely had a chance or two to win.”
The Tartans managed six shots in both overtimes out of a game total of 23, while Chicago took two in that same period out of a total of 22 over the entirety of the match.
First-year goalkeeper Hill Bonin kept Carnegie at bay with his nine saves, four of them coming after regulation.
“I am constantly watching the play and shifting the defense and midfield, which helps me stay engaged with the rest of the team,” Bonin said. “Doing a few short sprints at halftime and in the breaks between overtimes helped my body stay warm all game, which was key on such a cold, wet day.”
This game had added significance, as it was Chicago’s first conference match. Games of this nature have critical implications for the team’s chances of making the NCAA tournament.
“[W]ith a 6–4 record, we knew that this was going to be a very long, do-or-die stretch. Coming into the game, we treated it as a must-win, and by and large I think our performance showed that,” Choquette said. “We are ultimately happy with the tie, because it’s of utmost importance not to lose points in the UAA with there only being seven games. However, there were more than a handful of moments where we could have snatched the game away and simply didn’t.”
Other Maroons, like second-year defender DJ Weis, were at least temporarily satiated with getting a point in conference play but are hungry for more in the coming weeks.
“It’s always good to get a point in a conference matchup, but I think we feel a little disappointed not to come away with the win,” Weis said. “In the end, we were unable to find the net, but I think we feel we should have scored.”
The remainder of the season may come down to how much Chicago can stay in control on the pitch.
“We needed to stay more composed and allow our style to dictate the game rather than the game dictating our style,” said second-year forward Brenton Desai. “We have the technical and tactical ability to keep the ball moving fast and on the ground; we just need to play to that strength, especially when we are tired and the game is not going our way.”
Chicago next faces off at Emory on Saturday at 10 a.m.