CHICAGO – Led by a pair of header goals from sophomore defender Sam Drablos, the University of Chicago men's soccer team maintained its perfect start to the season with a 3-1 victory over Elmhurst College on Saturday night.
The No. 1-ranked Maroons moved to 8-0 and the Bluejays fell to 4-2-2.
Under the bright lights of Stagg Field, UChicago and Elmhurst were able to avoid the afternoon' 90-degree temperatures with a 7:00 PM start on the turf. But the intense humidity made it a sweaty affair nonetheless.
The Maroons were able to possess and push forward methodically throughout the first half, but their chances were stymied. Junior forward Max Lopez struck a lunging header in the 21st minute that pinged off the crossbar for the half's closest call.
It appeared that the game would remain scoreless heading into the break. However, UChicago struck a demoralizing blow with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. Freshman midfielder Carter Romero slipped his marking defender upon receiving a pass and went barreling the other way up the left sideline. He then delivered a highlight-worthy centering pass left footed that curved through the air right onto the head of the onrushing Drablos, who scored wide-open in front.
With momentum on its side, UChicago looked to put the game away early when Drablos struck again in the 50th minute. After junior forward Matthew Koh rattled the crossbar, Drablos was in the right position to head it in at point-blank range.
However, Elmhurst kept things interesting by halving the deficit with a blast inside the box less than two minutes later. The Bluejays had the better run of play in the second half, pressing forward constantly with pace. UChicago, meanwhile, struggled to connect passes in the midfield which led to counter attacks going the other way. The Maroons embraced kicking the long aerial ball to the top of the attack where Koh and Lopez could create chances for themselves.
It was Lopez who put the game out of reach with his team-high 10th goal in the 71st minute. A perfectly-lofted pass by senior midfielder Andre Abedian found Lopez sprinting behind his defender. The junior intercepted the ball in flight on his foot, let it bounce once and expertly chipped the shot right over the goalkeeper's head to make it 3-1.
UChicago led the shots category 19-5, with Elmhurst holding a slight 9-8 edge in corner kicks.
Senior goalkeeper Hill Bonin (8-0 record) made two saves and allowed one goal to earn the victory.
- Wednesday, Sept. 27 @ 7:00 PM – UChicago at Benedictine University