CHICAGO – The newly-minted No. 1 team in the country made the first defense of its ranking on Wednesday afternoon on the Stagg Field grass. The University of Chicago women's soccer team was up to the challenge and held off Wheaton College 2-1.
The one-goal victory was the closest result of the season for the Maroons (9-0 record). They have never trailed in a match through nine games played. Tuesday's national polls released by the United Soccer Coaches and D3soccer.com both selected UChicago as the top-ranked squad in NCAA Division III.
The Thunder (3-4-2 record) played the previous No. 1-ranked team last Saturday when they earned a 2-2 tie at Washington University-St. Louis.
Two minutes into the game, the hosts seized control. Junior midfielder Mia Calamari made a move up the middle and passed off to Madori Spiker near the top of box. The senior forward promptly spun around with the ball and unleashed a swift left-footed strike that deposited into the right side of the net.
The 1-0 advantage extended for the rest of the first half. The Maroons had several other close calls and took seven corner kicks in the opening 45 minutes.
Wheaton played the long ball on the counter attack all afternoon, and the play paid off in the 52nd minute. A bouncing ball among a group of players was not cleared by the defense, which allowed Isabelle Oliver to collect and fire an arching left footer to the upper right 90 of the goal from 23 yards out.
With the score tied, UChicago struck back eight minutes later. Junior midfielder Jenna McKinney made a run towards the right post and attracted the attention of the defense. Drawing close to the goal with a possible shot opportunity, McKinney then centered in front to wide-open senior midfielder Kelsey Moore, who drilled the ball in to make it 2-1. The lead held for the remaining 30 minutes of game time.
The final shots tally went to UChicago 20-6, as did corner kicks 9-1.
- Saturday, Sept. 30 @ 1:30 PM (ET) – UChicago at University of Rochester