CHICAGO – The University of Chicago men's soccer team's undefeated run came to an end with a 3-2 postseason loss to University of Redlands on a blustery Saturday afternoon.
The No. 1-ranked Maroons finished the year with a 17-1-2 record and reached the NCAA Round of 16 for the second time in program history. The No. 25-ranked Bulldogs (18-5-1) will next play No. 8-ranked University of St. Thomas (19-1-3) in the NCAA Quarterfinal on Sunday.
Redlands put together a pair of dangerous opportunities in the opening 10 minutes. The first was a saved header two minutes into the game off a long throw in. But a set piece at the 8:02 mark opened the scoring thanks to a header goal by the visitors.
With 15-30 mile-per-hour winds whipping across Stagg Field all game long, long balls through the air rarely found their targets. UChicago tried to remain more bound to the ground as a result to counteract the gusts. Most of the team's first-half runs into the Bulldogs' defensive third ended in a Redlands foul as the visitors tried to slow the momentum and limit pace-of-play opportunities. Redlands ended up with 13 fouls in the first half.
The Maroons held possession for the vast majority of the first 45 minutes and probed for openings in the defense. Redlands closed ranks effectively when the ball got near the box, blocking multiple shots and cutting off interior passing with more bodies. But the pressure eventually paid off at the 39:08 mark. Freshman midfielder David McBroom's left-footed shot from the left wing glanced off his defender, popped into the air, and drifted inside the far post to even the score at 1-1.
Momentum switched back in the second half with Redlands possessing more and finding its rhythm. A turnover on UChicago's counterattack proved deadly in the 58th minute when Redlands went in on goal and finished up close to go back up 2-1. Another Maroon miscue on an attempted clearance lengthened the deficit to 3-1 when a header off the free ball rolled in at the 64:52 mark. Before Saturday, UChicago had not allowed a goal in the second half of a match all year.
Facing the two-score deficit, the Maroons changed up their lineup and brought freshman defender Sam Drablos to the top of the attack in an effort to utilize his heading skill. The move paid off in the 76th minute when Drablos chipped the net minder for his fourth goal of the season, with an assist to sophomore forward Max Lopez.
UChicago nearly leveled the match with 10 minutes remaining. But freshman forward Dayo Adeosun's precise strike was saved by the diving goalkeeper. As the final minute ticked away, Lopez headed a cross off the post for the team's final chance on goal.
The Maroons finished with a sizable lead in shots 20-7, and a 5-1 edge in corner kicks. Junior goalkeeper Hill Bonin (17-1-2) made three saves and allowed three goals. UChicago's 17 wins set a new school record for a single season.