CHICAGO – For the fifth time in program history, the University of Chicago women's soccer team will make a return to the NCAA Semifinals. The Maroons accomplished the feat by beating University of Wisconsin-La Crosse 4-0 on Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Quarterfinals.
No. 3-ranked UChicago improved its season record to 21-1 – the team previously reached the NCAA Final Four in 1996, 2003, 2005 and 2016. The No. 15-ranked Eagles concluded their year at 20-2-3.
With temperatures in the high 30s and winds topping 20 MPH, the two sides battled it out in the rain on the Stagg Field turf. It didn't take long for the hosts to get on the scoreboard – junior midfielder Jenna McKinney got behind the defense and scored one-on-one with the goalkeeper 12:03 into the match. Sophomore midfielder Hanna Watkins sent the pass that sprung McKinney's chance.
The Maroons were the continual aggressors all game and held possession effectively despite the wet conditions. Wisconsin-La Crosse experienced the great majority of its success on the counter attack. Four of the Eagles' eight shots were on frame. However, the goalkeeper duo of sophomore Katie Donovan and first-year Miranda Malone were both up to the task, making two saves apiece.
UChicago's offense fired off 28 shots in the match, with 13 on goal. An insurance tally was added in the 67th minute to make it 3-0. Watkins' initial shot was saved, but senior midfielder Kelsey Moore ran onto the rebound and booted it in from point-blank range. The lead ballooned to 4-0 when sophomore midfielder Julia Lodoen scored left footed in the box at the 81:27 mark.
Donovan improved to 18-0 after starting the opening 45 minutes. Malone played the final 45 minutes between the pipes.
Over the course of this postseason, the Maroons have won their four matches by a combined score of 13-0.
UChicago will now travel to Greensboro, N.C. for the NCAA Final Four, hosted at the UNC Greensboro Soccer Stadium on Dec. 1-2.