CHICAGO – A natural hat trick by Max Lopez in the second half supplied the University of Chicago men's soccer team with all the offense it would need in a 3-0 win over Wartburg College on Sunday.
The No. 4-ranked Maroons (7-0 record) tied the school record for most consecutive wins with seven. That feat was equaled by the 2001 and 1978 teams. The Knights dropped to 4-2-1 on the season.
The first half of the matchup played out slowly and methodically. Wartburg packed in its defense behind the ball in an effort to stifle UChicago's athleticism on offense. The Maroons were patient to build from the back and move up incrementally while looking for opportunities on the outside corners. Lopez put together a trio of shots on goal from the 27th to 30th minutes. The Knights manufactured their chances on the counterattack, but neither offense was able to break through in the opening 45 minutes. The two sides went into halftime scoreless, with UChicago holding a 7-4 edge in shots.
The pace of play changed dramatically in the second half as soon as Lopez netted his first goal. In the 48th minute, sophomore forward Matthew Koh corralled the bouncing ball on the right side of the box, turned on a dime and centered to Lopez. The sophomore forward briskly slid the ball around the goalie from point-blank range to put his squad ahead 1-0.
Down a goal, the Knights changed tactics and played wide open from that point on. Each side produced dangerous chances back and forth. However, the new pace ultimately favored the hosts and the Maroons capitalized. In the 82nd minute, junior defender Stacey Reimann centered a ball from the right to Lopez, who elevated and headed the ball in with aplomb. Then less than a minute later, Lopez struck again with a header goal that caromed off the goalie and in. Assists went to senior forward Brenton Desai and sophomore midfielder Nicco Capotosto. Lopez now leads the team with six goals.
The Maroons led the shots category 21-8 and the corner kicks column 7-4. Junior goalkeeper Hill Bonin (7-0) made a season-high four saves for his sixth shutout of the season.
- Wednesday, Sept. 21 – UChicago at North Central College, 7:30 PM