The University of Chicago men’s soccer team has been nothing short of dominant so far this year. With a record of 13–2, the No. 3 ranked Maroons have established themselves as serious competitors in not just the conference, but in the entire country. There will be large expectations for this team going into the NCAA tournament. However, right now, the Maroons must focus on their last two regular season games and winning the UAA conference. Losing only one conference game the entire year, the Maroons are well set to finish on top. Still, they need to have a strong season finisher, starting with this Friday’s game versus the NYU Violets. NYU is 8–5–1 overall with an 0–4 conference record. They have had serious struggles with UAA teams all year. The Violets have lost three of their past five games, with every loss being at the hands of an in-conference team. The Maroons do not plan to change that pattern.
The Maroons are preparing for this game by improving on their recent mistakes. A large problem in the previous loss versus North Park was a lack of offensive momentum. Although holding the Vikings to only one goal, the Maroons could not take advantage of their offensive opportunities. They came excruciatingly close to tying the game with a header by third-year striker Max Lopez, who narrowly missed the back of the net. Yet, the opportunity wasn’t converted and the final score ended up being 1–0 in North Park’s favor. After that match, Chicago will undoubtedly be aiming for a stronger offensive start this Friday, which will hopefully propel them into a great final stretch for the year.
The players are ready and excited to end the season with a bang. “We’re coming off a tough loss against North Park,” said first year goalie Aaron Katsimpalis.“We’ve been training hard since our recent rough patch. Going into our final three conference games, we want to maximize our points and win the UAA conference. After that, it’s all about being ready and prepared for the NCAA tournament.”
After the match versus NYU, the Maroons will be playing Brandeis University this Sunday and will wrap up the regular season next Saturday against Washington University. Brandeis is a force to be reckoned with. They are ranked 21st in DIII, with an 11–3 overall record and a 3–1 conference record. The Judges have won six of their past seven games and will be eager to displace the Maroons as conference champions. The match against Wash U is slightly less daunting, with the opponent’s record at 7–5–1 overall and 1–3 in conference. However, the University of Chicago must treat each match like it’s the most important one of the year. These next three games can give the Maroons the momentum to finish off a historic season. If these next few weeks go well, the title of NCAA Champion could be more than just a dream.