October 28, 2004

Sports Shorts 10-26-04

Swimming opens season with new attitude

With increasingly aggressive recruiting and an attractive home pool, the face of men's and women's swimming has changed radically. Both have experienced roster explosions; the men's side added 16 first-years and 2 transfers to reach its new total of 29 swimmers.

Those numbers alone made a big difference last Saturday in the Maroons' season opener hosting the Illinois Institute of Technology, which won last year's match-up due to points voided by Chicago. The men swept the meet's opening event, the 200-yard medley relay. The A team dominated with a time of 1:40.52—less than two seconds off the school record—and the B and C teams each finished better than IIT's relay.

First-year Danny Maguire added his victory in the greuling 1000-yard freestyle (10:12.89), also two seconds off a Chicago record. Fourth-year Northe Saunders, who won All-American honors in the 100- and 200-yard freestyles last winter, handily won both events Saturday. Having set the pace early, the men ended up winning 168-49.

"Even though this wasn't a close meet, people swam as if it was, many times touching guys out by mere hundredths of a second," said fourth-year Dennis Connolly, who won the 500-yard freestyle (5:23.95). "With the enthusiasm we saw today, and the numbers we have we should have a very successful season."

The women also put up a solid effort, but ended up losing narrowly 118-112. Though IIT ended up winning 10 of 13 events, the Maroons' depth helped keep the meet close. The 500-yard freestyle gained Chicago some of its biggest points of the day, with second-year Katherine Yang (5:33.11) and fourth-year Erin Lyons (5:41.27) finishing in the top two.

Both the men and women head to Rose-Hulman Friday, before returning home Saturday to host Monmouth.

Men's soccer sludges to nil-nil tie

Playing immediately after Saturday morning's heavy rainfall, the 10th-ranked Maroons (10-1-3, 2-0-2) created a few chances against the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (7-4-4) but ultimately couldn't overcome the wet field conditions. Despite outshooting the Titans 12-5, the Chicago offense was unable to maintain consistent possession in a game dominated by heavy tackling and sloppy play.

Unbeaten (7-0-2) at home, the Maroons have dominated on defense this year. Second-year goalkeeper Keith Crum, who sports a 0.20 goals against average this year, notched his school-record 10th shutout of the year Saturday and fifth in six games. With the ball dying and players falling in the large puddles of water covering midfield, the tie at the very least kept men's soccer unscathed going into Tuesday's senior day game against Illinois Wesleyan (5-8-3).

"Every time we play a University of Wisconsin team, we're always happy not to lose because we know they'll play us hard," fourth-year forward Rush Atkinson said. "In terms of the field, a lot of times those games devolve into a lucky bounce. It was good to prevent that from ending the game."

Wesleyan, a young team in a rebuilding year, is expected to fit their formation based on what Chicago does early, hoping to take advantage of whatever chances they are given. After today's home finale, the Maroons finish the season with three UAA games on the road.