CHICAGO – On a slippery Monday afternoon on the Stagg Field grass, the University of Chicago men's soccer team found its footing decisively in the second half en route to a 4-0 triumph over Knox College.
The No. 9-ranked Maroons improved to 2-0 while the Prairie Fire fell to 1-1-1 on the season.
Light pre-game rain made for a slick playing surface for both teams during the Labor Day matchup. It was UChicago who struck the opening blow in the 10th minute. A long ball from midfield was headed by a Knox defender straight to the head of sophomore defender Nate Johnson, who popped the ball up in the air to the top of the box. Junior forward Max Lopez positioned himself under the ball, played it off his chest on the fly and swung a piercing volley that deposited inside the left post for a goal.
Scoring dried up after that for the rest of the half. For the final 20 minutes of the period, Knox took control of possession and made several dangerous forays against UChicago's back line. The Maroons struggled to maintain possession or forward momentum, and the game remained 1-0 at the break.
Just like Friday's season opener, the home side came out firing in the second half and dominated play. UChicago blasted 18 shots in the second half for a grand total of 27 at game's end. Knox was held to nine shots offensively.
After multiple close calls in the opening minutes of the half, it was Lopez again who provided the scoring touch. Lopez received the ball above the box, then executed a nifty give-and-go with sophomore forward Dayo Adeosun, who touched it right back as Lopez slipped his defender and tallied his third goal of the season. The junior led the Maroons in scoring last season with 13 goals and 12 assists.
UChicago's attack mode kept flowing for the rest of the game. An insurance tally came off the head of sophomore defender Sam Drablos, whose leaping header rocketed into the back of the net in the 83rd minute. He was assisted on the play by Lopez and freshman midfielder Carter Romero.
Zachary Pierce closed out the game in fitting fashion with his first career goal with three minutes remaining. The junior defender was subbed in on the right wing and received a perfect through ball from freshman midfielder Ben Brandt that threaded through four defenders. Pierce then beat the goalkeeper one-on-one to finalize the score line at 4-0.
Corner kicks ended firmly in favor of UChicago, 9-3. Senior goalkeeper Hill Bonin (2-0 record) submitted a clean sheet with three saves. It was his 26th shutout in 55 career starts.
- Friday, Sept. 8 @ 5:30 PM – St. Norbert College at UChicago