October 1, 2015

Chicago defeats Carthage as it regains footing

The 3–5–0 Lady Reds of Carthage strolled onto the Maroons’ soccer pitch this windy, overcast Tuesday afternoon riding high on a 2–game win streak. They must have been eager to demonstrate that their recent form was a result of their great mettle, and not a combination of flukes and poor competition resulting in a good outcome. They were unsuccessful.

The Maroons entered the game in 4–1–4–1 formation, and regardless of who was playing the lone striker, the Lady Reds had a devilish time trying to track and mark her. Second-year Mia Calamari started at the striker position. As she cut back toward the ball, her constant availability to the central midfielders opened up the field and jet–fuelled the offense. As the Carthage defenders collapsed toward the point woman, the speedy Maroon wingers were able to make penetrating runs down the flanks.

The Maroons force-fed the ball through to Calamari at every opportunity. In the sixth minute of play, she was able to turn the defender, and with acres of space in front of her, she needed naught but pick out one of the two penetrating runs. Calamari delivered a well-weighted through-ball to sophomore Kelsey Moore. The lone Lady Red trailing the streaking midfielder made a last ditch effort at a clearance, but the ball deflected off Moore’s leg and over the outstretched arm of the Carthage keeper giving the Maroons a 1–0 lead.

The Maroons continued to dominate during the first half, controlling a large majority of the possession. However, in prolonged possession, the Maroons actually struggled to produce chances. First-year Jenna McKinney showed a great ability to create during these spells, but otherwise the Maroon attack seemed fairly static.

The counter-attack is where the offense happened, and in the 34th minute, a poor Carthage turnover proved critical. The Maroons were able to find the point, second-year Madori Spiker. Despite recovering from an ankle injury, she passed the defender and slipped a nice ball through to McKinney. The goal-scorer Moore found herself wide open in front of net, and when McKinney delivered a pristine pass, Moore tallied her second of the day, tucking the ball past the keeper in a calm and composed finish.

Just four minutes later, the counter-attack proved productive again as a clearance from second-year Maroon defender Chelsea Johnson found Spiker’s feet. Spiker was able to beat the last defender and one on one with the keeper she was able to find the back of the net. The Maroons hung on to the 3–0 lead for the remainder of the half.

However, the Maroons seemed too content coming out of the locker room, and the Lady Reds enjoyed a spell of possession. Fortunately, they were unable to capitalize, and when the Maroons regained their composure they reclaimed control of the game. The Maroons were able to tack on two more goals, one by fourth-year Naomi Pacalin, and another by second-year Hayley Thompson, before the game’s end at a 5–0 victory.

The victory marked the seventh straight home win for the Maroons.

On Saturday, the Maroons finally begin conference play with a home game against the 7–3–0 Emory squad.

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