October 27, 2004

Unbroken: Maroons perfect at home

Never allowing the opposition a decent scoring opportunity, the women's soccer team remained undefeated at home this season after defeating Illinois Wesleyan 2-0 Wednesday.

Third-year defender Elise Aiken—who was named UAA Athlete of the Week Tuesday—paced the Chicago (10-1-2) victory, scoring unassisted in the 17th minute. Her goal was set up by a Maroons corner kick that the Wesleyan (10-3-1) defense couldn't quite clear out of the box. Aiken's shot from the top of the box found the left corner for her second goal of the season, both of which were game winners.

Third-year forward Renee Neuner tallied an insurance goal at 60:37, her 12th goal of the season and the 5th in her last six games. Her breakaway shot was set up by first-year Christine Farmer, who notched her 15th point of the season. Chicago worked both ends of the field for the entire game, stifling the Wildcats' offense in the middle of the field. The Maroons outshot Wesleyan 17-7, and didn't allow a single shot on net in the second half.

"They were a very physical team," third-year Randi Leppla said. "I think we came out and dominated them in the second half."

The win not only marked the third straight victory for the Maroons, but also disproved the critical remarks made by last year's Wesleyan squad who had tied Chicago 2-2.

The match was well played defensively, according to third-year goalkeeper Andrea Przybysz, partly because of the return of third-year midfielder Monica Michelotti from a hip injury. Though Michellotti didn't start the game, her presence helped lock down the midfield and create a couple close scoring chances midway through the game.

"With the return of Monica in the midfield, we're looking to get more organized at a place where we've been lacking for a while," said Przybysz, who recorded her seventh shutout of the year.

"[Monica's] the one we look to in the midfield," Leppla agreed. "So it's nice to have her back."

Chicago enters Saturday's home match against Concordia (Minn.) with a six game unbeaten streak (4-0-2), sitting atop the UAA and second in the central region. The Cobbers have had a strong season, going 11-3-0 and scoring over three goals per game. Chicago will be an important road game for Concordia as most of their wins so far this season have been against relatively weak conference Minnesota teams.

"We don't know a whole lot about this team," Leppla said, "but we will focus on getting better at the technical parts of our game [in preparation]."

Pleased with their recent home efforts, the Maroons have reestablished their dominance, notching four straight convincing shutouts. Still, the team recognizes that each upcoming match—including their three remaining UAA games, all on the road—will be key to earning a postseason bid.

"We've had a great home stretch, winning two very important UAA games this weekend and getting the win on Wednesday," Aiken said. "We look to keep that up this Saturday against Concordia and on the road the following weekend."