The boom of Thunder can often be overwhelming.
The No. 12 Maroons traveled to Wheaton on Thursday to take on the No. 7 Thunder. Chicago looked to improve its record to 12–2–1 while Wheaton hoped to keep its season loss count to under two.
The Thunder controlled the game from the initial whistle, threatening the Maroons’ backline with an overwhelming first-half attack.
“Wheaton attacks with numbers, and they caught us on counterattacks,” said first-year defender Kaitlin Price. “They ran fast at our backline, and we didn’t organize quick enough.”
Wheaton took little time to capitalize on the South Siders’ mistakes, as third-year Kristin Rauh headed in the first Thunder goal just 13 minutes into the match. Wheaton’s offensive pressure never waned in the first 45 minutes of play—it launched twice as many shots as Chicago. The Thunder were rewarded for their efforts when another goal doubled Wheaton’s lead just 10 minutes before the half.
From then on, it was an uphill battle for the Maroons, but things started falling into place in the second half of play: The South Siders threatened the opposing keeper with 10 strikes, four of which were on goal. Meanwhile, the Thunder offense stalled. But while the Maroons’ efforts were handled by the Wheaton goalkeeper, fourth-year Kelsey Graham, the Thunder were able to find success in their limited second-half chances. In the 61st minute, Wheaton third-year Ally Witt put the game out of reach for the Maroons, slotting the ball in the back of the net and bringing Wheaton’s lead to 3–0.
In the end, both teams had their fair share of chances. However, one team made the most of its opportunities and the other team did not.
“The difference in the match was that we didn’t capitalize on our chances in the final third of the field,” said first-year forward Mia Calamari.
By the end of the day, it was the Thunder (14–1–2) who claimed victory, handing the Maroons (11–3–1) their second loss in five matches.
Wheaton is one of the best teams in the country at home, so Chicago had a difficult task in front of them playing on the Thunder’s home turf.
“We do try and put the game behind us because it’s over with, and you can’t go back and change anything, so why continue to beat yourself up about it?” Price said. “But we also use the game as motivation going forward so we can play harder the next game.”
However, despite the tough loss, the team remains upbeat.
“We are definitely a resilient team, and we still have a lot to accomplish this season,” Calamari said. “A solid week of practice will prepare us for our upcoming UAA weekend.”
The Maroons now turn their attention to their next opponent, NYU (10–4–1). The competition will be the first of Chicago’s final three conference matches, all of which will be critical in determining a place and seed in the NCAA tournament.
The South Siders’ play NYU on Friday at Stagg Field at 6 p.m.