After a very successful regular season, the UChicago men’s soccer team is all set to tackle the NCAA regional playoffs. With a 16–2 record and the UAA championship in the bag, the momentum is high. This tournament will be played alongside Lake Forest College (from the Midwest Conference), Dominican University (from the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference), and Capital University (from the Ohio Athletic Conference). This will be the 10th time that the Maroons take part in the NCAA tournament.
Not only this season but over the past few years, the University of Chicago has been in scintillating form. In addition to their UAA title this year, the Maroons have won two others over the past four years. Further, they have won 35 of their past 41 matches. With this good form, they will be hoping to top their best performance in the playoffs, which was a semifinal appearance. Last year, the Maroons advanced to the NCAA round of 16, losing out 3–2 to the University of Redlands; they will look to improve on that this year.
One of the main performers during this period of success has been third-year Max Lopez, who has scored 35 goals over his time at UChicago. This ranks fourth-highest in the program’s history, and the Maroons will be hoping that he can continue this prolific run of scoring into the playoffs and fire the Maroons into success. Another player to look out for is second-year forward Dayo Adeosun. While Lopez has been fantastic in front of goal, it has been Adeosun who has mostly fed him, with 12 assists in the regular season. This ties the school’s season record, so the pair is definitely one to watch out for. Statistically, the Maroons almost never lose when they score at least one goal (57–2–3 since the start of the 2014 season), so they will be looking for Lopez and Adeosun to help them out.
The Maroons have been a strong defensive force as well, conceding only 12 goals throughout the 18 games of the season (with a goals-against percentage of only 0.66 per game). Fourth-year goalkeeper Hill Bonin has been in great form, with 29 saves, and has also been supported well by first-year goalkeeper Aaron Katsimpalis, who was awarded the UAA athlete of the week of October 30. They will look to this defensive resilience as well in their quest to win the NCAA tournament.
“I’m confident that under Andre [Abedian], Stacey [Reimann], and [Bonin’s] senior leadership. the team will ultimately be able to bring home that national championship,” said second-year midfielder Gary Zhao.
The first game of the tournament is at 5 p.m this Saturday at Stagg Field.