CHICAGO – The University of Chicago women's soccer offense thoroughly controlled possession and dispatched visiting North Central College 6-1 on Thursday afternoon at Stagg Field.
UChicago outshot the Cardinals 38-3 and put 18 efforts on target. With the victory, the No. 3-ranked Maroons improved to 6-0-1 while North Central dropped to 4-4 on the year.
Senior Jenna McKinney opened the scoring for the hosts, with junior Mackenzie Peebles adding to the lead from the penalty spot before halftime. Although the Cardinals took one back after the interval, the Maroons responded as two goals in quick succession from sophomore Maddie DeVoe and junior Rachel Dias put the game out of reach. First-year Anna Kenig-Ziesler capped the day off with a pair of goals – the first of her collegiate career – scored just 47 seconds apart.
UChicago began to make inroads almost from the opening kickoff. Eight minutes in, McKinney received the ball from Dias with her back to goal. Rounding her defender with a superb first touch, she buried the ball inside the far post to put the Maroons in the lead.
The hosts remained dominant after the opening score, pouring crosses into the box from all angles. When DeVoe was brought down inside the area, it looked like McKinney would notch another from the spot, but the North Central keeper dove at full stretch and palmed it just beyond the post.
The Maroons continued to push pressure down the flanks and force the visitors to deal with dangerous balls into the middle. The approach paid dividends shortly before the half in the form of a defensive handball inside the box. Once again, UChicago had an opportunity on a penalty kick, and this time Peebles slotted it past the keeper.
Only a series of strong saves kept the Maroons from extending their lead before halftime. Although UChicago seemed to have kept the initiative after the break, the Cardinals would score next as a swerving corner kick found the upper 90. The goal was North Central's first in six all-time matches against UChicago.
After a tight few minutes, the Maroons regained their cushion as DeVoe gathered a ball from sophomore Claudia Hodgetts, beat a defender, and curled the ball into the far corner. Just moments later, Dias lobbed an effort over the keeper from distance and UChicago held a comfortable 4-1 lead.
With the game in hand, chances continued to come for the home side. Junior Adrianna Vera, who had been consistently pushing forward all day, instigated two successful attacks with 10 minutes to play. After finding her own shot blocked, Vera corralled the rebound and connected with Kenig-Ziesler, who shrugged off a defender with a powerful turn and drove it home from six yards out. The ball had barely come back into play when Vera raced into scoring position again. A good save denied her once more, but the effort drew the keeper out of position and left Kenig-Ziesler an open look which she confidently converted.
The Maroon bench reserved its biggest cheer of the day for the entrance of senior Dana Ulrich in the 85th minute.
- Saturday, Sept. 22 @ 2:30 PM (ET) – UChicago at Calvin College