CHICAGO — The University of Chicago women's soccer team opened conference play in winning fashion on Saturday afternoon as the third-ranked Maroons defeated No. 18-ranked University of Rochester 3-0 at Stagg Field.
UChicago moved to 8-1-1 on the year while dropping the Yellowjackets to 5-3-1.
The Maroons gained the edge in a back-and-forth first half when first-year striker Nicole Willing slotted home the rebound after senior left back Sydney Mathis hit the crossbar from long range in the 25th minute. The contest remained a tight affair until the late stages, when goals from junior midfielder Jenna McKinney and first-year forward Nicole Kaspi provided a secure margin.
End-to-end play characterized the early game as both teams threatened to open the scoring. Steady Maroon pressure and a bit of luck led to the first strike, as after a few close calls Mathis launched a ball that cleared the keeper but bounced back off the crossbar near the top of the six-yard box, where Willing closed in for the opportunistic finish.
The remainder of the half could have gone either way, as the Yellowjackets emphasized in the 42nd minute with a strike that caught enough of the crossbar to stay out.
Neither side could claim a decisive advantage after the break. Rochester had the first clear chance on a bouncing through ball, but junior goalkeeper Katie Donovan charged out and swept it away from the onrushing attacker.
Sophomore midfielder Claudia Hodgetts almost doubled the home lead in the 72nd minute with a powerful shot that was headed top shelf, but Rochester's goalie leapt and palmed it over the bar.
McKinney supplied the key breakthrough in the 76th minute. Receiving the ball from sophomore midfielder Maddie DeVoe up the left side, she caught the Rochester keeper slightly out of position and with a sliding shot sent the ball skidding toward the near post. It caromed in despite the desperate efforts of a Yellowjacket defender and the Maroons had their pivotal second goal.
Kaspi finished the match off with a flourish seven minutes later. Outpacing her defender along the left flank, she raced to the end line, deftly kept the ball in play as she cut into the box, controlled her own rebound and then banked in off the far post from an almost nonexistent angle.
Despite stretches of even footing, UChicago had the better of Rochester overall and displayed quality ball-winning in the midfield. The Maroons outshot the visitors 13 to 5 and drew seven corner kicks to three for Rochester.
- Saturday, Oct. 6 @ 1:30 PM (ET) – UChicago at Emory University