CHICAGO – Just two days after securing an automatic bid to the NCAA postseason, the University of Chicago men's soccer team claimed the outright University Athletic Association (UAA) championship with a 1-0 victory over Carnegie Mellon University on Sunday afternoon.
The No. 6-ranked Maroons (10-1-5 overall record) kept their pristine conference record intact at 6-0. UChicago picked up its ninth shutout of the season, including sixth in UAA contests. The Tartans fell to 6-8-1 (2-4 UAA).
Much of Sunday's matchup at Stagg Field saw UChicago slowly moving up the field against CMU's packed-in 4-4-1-1 alignment. The Maroons possessed for the great majority of the day, but the multitude of bodies in front prevented quality opportunities.
The Tartans began to come out of their defensive shell as the game progressed and started to hold the ball a bit themselves. However, CMU only got off one shot total in the match. A cross from the right wing found an unmarked man in front for a header in the 68th minute. But UChicago junior goalkeeper Aaron Katsimpalis made a diving reaction save to his right to keep the proceedings scoreless.
The slowly-developing match took a big turn in the 61st minute, when the Maroons were assessed a red card. With the player ejected, the home side was forced to play one man down on the pitch. In yet another big momentum swing, Carnegie Mellon committed a foul in the 70th minute that also resulted in a red card for the visitors. The remaining 20 minutes of regulation was played 10 versus 10.
UChicago eventually capitalized on a free kick in the 79th minute. First-year forward Kameron Bloye curled an expertly-placed cross to the back post, allowing rookie defender Richard Gillespie to strike a leaping header into the netting for the game-winner.
The Maroons ended up with an 8-1 lead in shots, while corner kicks went 6-4 in CMU's favor.
"Today was certainly not the most attractive game of soccer we have played all year, but I could not be more proud of this team," said Head Coach Pat Flinn. "The UAA is a grind – eight great teams and a difficult travel schedule makes each result an accomplishment. We lost so many talented individuals coming into this season, it would have been very easy for the guys to lower their expectations or adjust their goals. This team has never been about who wasn't in the locker room. Inside our locker room we have 26 players, two outstanding assistant coaches (Michael Choquette and Mike Mauro) and a great athletic trainer (Bobby Smith) that have completely bought into the process and grinded their way to this program's fourth-consecutive outright UAA championship. Go Maroons."
- Saturday, Nov. 9 @ 1:30 PM – Washington University – St. Louis at UChicago