CHICAGO – It only took 93 seconds for the University of Chicago men's soccer team to capture the lead in its 2016 postseason debut. The Maroons kept scoring from there, burying three more goals in a three-minute span to cruise to a 4-0 victory over Westminster (Mo.) College in the second round of the NCAA Division III Championship on Sunday evening.
The No. 1-ranked Maroons (17-0-2) advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 for the second time in program history. They will continue their postseason run at Stagg Field as hosts of a four-team sectional next Saturday and Sunday. University of Redlands will be their next opponent on Saturday at 11:00 AM. The Blue Jays ended the year with a 15-4-1 record.
As the overall top seed in the NCAA tournament, UChicago earned a first-round bye in the bracket. With the extra day of rest, the hosts jumped all over Westminster quickly. A corner kick led to a scramble near the goal, and sophomore forward Max Lopez flicked the ball into the crowd from left of the post. Freshman forward Dayo Adeosun was there to volley the ball point blank to make it 1-0 a mere 93 seconds into the match.
A close call in the 19th minute featured a shot from junior midfielder Andre Abedian that knocked off the left post. Then from the 26th through 29th minutes, UChicago tallied three goals in quick succession. Sophomore midfielder Nicco Capotosto stole a ball near midfield while closing out a double team, then immediately found an open Matthew Koh traversing up the right wing. The sophomore forward received the ball in space and beat the oncoming goalkeeper one-on-one to push the lead to 2-0.
Two minutes later, it was Koh giving out an assist, this time to freshman midfielder Renato Corghi. Only one minute after that, Lopez provided the capper with a right-footed blast that accounted for the 4-0 final score. Adeosun picked up an assist on the play.
"It was a great first half," said Head Coach Mike Babst. "I think the team really took advantage of the bye and came out energized and focused, made plays early. I think it's tough for a team to turn around in 24 hours and play again, and we needed to capitalize on it. We were sharp early on, we were decisive on the ball. ... Then we got a chance to get some other guys in there and I thought they did a great job in the second half. So we got a chance to see some guys who could really help us in the future of the tournament."
The commanding lead allowed UChicago to roll out its bench, with 23 players seeing game action. In the final statistics, the Maroons dominated shots 26-6 and corner kicks 10-1.
The team earned its 15th shutout in 19 games this year. Junior goalkeeper Hill Bonin (17-0-2 record) made three saves in 71:33 of game action. He then gave way to freshman Theo Jacobs, who made one save in 18:27 to seal the combined clean sheet.
- Saturday, Nov. 19 – University of Redlands at UChicago, 11 AM