CHICAGO – A first-half brace from senior forward Matthew Koh and the commitment and coordination of the Maroon defense carried the University of Chicago men's soccer team to a 2-0 victory against Brandeis at Stagg Field on Sunday.
The victory improved UChicago's record to 14-2-1 (5-1 UAA). The visiting Judges fell under .500, with their record at 7-8-2 (2-3-1 UAA).
Before the game with families present on the turf, UChicago recognized the achievements of its graduating senior class: Nicco Capotosto, Matthew Koh, Max Lopez, Zachary Pierce and Josh Scofield. During their tenure, the Maroons have a cumulative record of 62-10-8 with two UAA titles and three NCAA tournament appearances, including a trip to the Final Four last season. The 62 wins are the most in a four-year span in program history.
Although Koh made the biggest mark on the scoreboard and Lopez turned in a characteristically strong showing, excellent 90-minute shifts made Capotosto and Scofield standout performers in the match.
The Maroons flew upfield from the opening kickoff, with Koh sending a ball to Lopez at the front post. Brandeis took care of the initial threat but had no response in the second minute when Koh deftly took down a ball from the air with his upper body, fired into a lunging defender, gathered his own rebound, and buried a shot low and left.
UChicago might have doubled its lead early on when Koh settled another ball in the area and laid it back to Lopez, but a diving save halted his effort.
Looking to even up the game, Brandeis strung together a few headed chances. The Maroons, however, would strike again in the 14th minute. Capotosto won a one-on-one battle in the midfield to create the opportunity. After pulling in a bouncing ball, with a few canny touches Capotosto maneuvered around his man and set up Koh on the right side. Koh pushed the ball forward and ripped a shot from a narrow angle that flew low across the face of goal and hit the net just inside of the far post.
With the two-goal advantage, the Maroons settled into more controlled possession. Sophomore right back Scott Lich almost found first-year midfielder Vicente Mateus with swerving service, but the Brandeis keeper met Mateus in midair and stopped his leaping toe-poke.
The Judges worked hard to find a way back into the contest as the half wound down. A period of sustained attack culminated in a powerful shot that Capotosto slid across the goal line to deny.
The next near miss came in the final minutes of the half, as a crowd of players fought for a Maroon corner kick. Scofield managed to deflect the ball onto goal, but it ricocheted off the left post and the score remained 2-0 at the half.
Junior midfielder Renato Corghi was unfortunate not to add another in the 57th minute when a superb shot from distance thudded off the woodwork in the 57th minute.
The second half continued at a managed pace as the Maroons protected their lead with an eye toward expanding it further. Another spate of attacks with 15 minutes to play seemed like it might produce a goal for the Judges, but the UChicago defense dug in to rebuff the visitors.
In the middle of it all frequently was Capotosto, whose deft tackles, positioning and peerless passing in tight spaces stymied Brandeis time after time.
Brandeis finished the contest with 10 shots and three on target, while the Maroons mustered 12 shots with four on goal. Corner kicks ended narrowly in the Judges' favor at 4-3.
Sophomore goalie Aaron Katsimpalis (14-2-1 record) collected two saves for his ninth shutout of the season.
- Saturday, Nov. 3 @ 11:00 AM – UChicago at Washington University – St. Louis