CHICAGO – The University of Chicago men's soccer team returned to winning form with a 1-0 victory over New York University in a rapid and occasionally hard-hitting conference contest at Stagg Field on Friday evening.
No. 5-ranked UChicago rose to 13-2-1 overall (4-1 UAA) with the win to maintain their lead atop the University Athletic Association standings. The Violets now sit at 11-4 (2-3 UAA).
A corner kick in the 32nd minute supplied the hosts with the decisive goal, as junior defender Sam Drablos put his whole body into a leaping header that a swarm of Maroon attackers ushered across the goal line.
UChicago's offensive effort produced 19 shots, seven of which were on target. The Violets managed six shots, with three on goal. The Maroons earned four corner kicks while yielding none.
Sophomore keeper Aaron Katsimpalis and the Maroon defense recorded their eighth clean sheet of the season. Katsimpalis made three saves between the pipes.
The sides exchanged opening salvos early on, with UChicago headers missing wide and high before the first attempt from NYU, which Katsimpalis handled comfortably.
The game quickly accelerated, as passing and pace moved the ball from side to side and end to end. The first hint of drama came as the Maroons thought they had won a penalty when Lopez chased down a deflected pass in the box and contact with the keeper sent him tumbling to the ground. No foul was given and played continued, with UChicago embarking on several more promising forward ventures.
Senior forward Matthew Koh ripped a free kick toward goal from prime position in the 20th minute, but a leaping save punched it away and the ball was headed high on the following corner.
NYU's own burst of excitement came in the 23rd minute as a through ball split two Maroon defenders, putting a forward in on goal. Katsimpalis flew out to meet him and wrestled the ball away from the attacker's feet as the two tangled. Protest from the visiting bench resulted in one Violet entering the referee's book for dissent from the touchline.
Just past the half-hour mark, the Maroon goal arrived. First-year midfielder Vicente Mateus placed lofted service at the back post, where Drablos met the ball with force. It flew in low and hard to the near post, where several Maroon legs stabbed at the ball as the NYU keeper tried in vain to shuffle it off the line. Sophomore defender Scott Lich got a touch in the scrum that was then finished point blank by junior forward Dayo Adeosun.
The Violets had a few chances to even things up before the break, but an open look from six yards out was lifted high over the bar and minutes later Katsimpalis contested a menacing ball that resulted in a wayward header.
The second half offered more opportunities for UChicago to extend its lead than it did chances for NYU to tie the score. Although the Violets got things off to a quick start with a shot ripped at Katsimpalis, sophomore winger Carter Romero replied with an on-target header and a shot from good position spoiled by a sliding defender. Junior midfielder Gary Zhao then nearly doubled the margin with a low, driven shot that forced the keeper to make a diving save.
As the match wore on, the Maroons began to assert control over the previously open game. First-year forward Kyle Ruark nearly put things to bed in the 79th minute, but the sprawling keeper denied him from eight yards out.
In the end, NYU could not find a path through a Maroon defense that kept them contained until the final whistle.
- Sunday, Oct. 28 @ 11:00 AM – Brandeis University at UChicago