The University of Chicago men’s soccer team beat Case Western Reserve 1–0 on Friday, November 1, and Carnegie Mellon 1–0 on Sunday, November 3, to clinch an automatic berth to the highly prestigious NCAA tournament and the coveted University Athletic Association (UAA) title. In the process, the team improved its conference record to 6–0 with 11 goals scored and 0 goals conceded. The UChicago soccer team is the first program in UAA history to win four consecutive outright titles, solidifying its status in Division III soccer as a unique and highly-capable team. Fourth-years Sam Barovick and Nate Johnson are the only athletes in the campus’s history to win four straight conference titles. As the regular season comes to a close, UChicago’s soccer team has a chance to continue its impeccable defensive track record without conceding a goal and finishing its conference campaign undefeated.
On Friday, third-year Scott Lich (unassisted) secured the victory in the second half and guaranteed UChicago’s share of the UAA title and spot in the NCAA tournament. On Sunday, UChicago’s second win of the weekend was facilitated by first-year Richard Gillespie’s goal, assisted by fellow first-year Kameron Bloye, which secured the team’s fourth consecutive outright UAA conference title. With a win and shutout on Saturday against Wash U., UChicago will become the only men’s soccer team in UAA history to complete its conference schedule 7–0 with zero goals conceded. The only other team to endure a season without any conceded goals was New York University in 2010, but its season ended with three draws.
Following the conclusion of Sunday’s game, Johnson said:
“I’m really proud of this team and all we have accomplished so far this year. I think coming into the season there was a lot of doubt surrounding what this team could be after losing three All-Americans [Max Lopez, Matt Koh, and Nicco Capotosto]. The new guys coming in helped that transition be so much easier than expected and with each game, our new identity continued to grow. This season has been a full team effort. When we started this season, we had three goals: win a conference championship, make the NCAA tournament, and win a national championship. We’ve got one more goal left, and I couldn’t be more excited to win the conference out and start celebrating with the team.”
Overall, the team’s recruitment of new foreign talent, mixed with the coaching expertise of first-year head coach Pat Flinn and leadership of third- and fourth-years, has produced a team that is capable of regularly surpassing expectations and continuously challenging itself to accomplish new feats. The team is meticulously preparing for its next match, full of confidence that its record-breaking season is only days away from happening.