Maroon Women’s Soccer Breaks Out in Second Half to Beat Illinois Tech 4-0

Hanna Watkins
Hanna Watkins

CHICAGO – The University of Chicago women's soccer team kept pecking away at the Illinois Institute of Technology's defense, then broke through with a scoring swarm in the second half to clinch a 4-0 victory on Thursday night.

The No. 13-ranked Maroons (13-1-1) won their sixth-straight contest, while also snapping a four-game winning streak for the Scarlet Hawks (13-3-1).

The first half's closest opportunity came six minutes in. An IIT foul set up a free kick by first-year forward Nicole Kaspi. The rookie blasted the opportunity from 30 yards out straight off the right post.

In the 32nd minute, senior midfielder Jenna McKinney shook her way loose from 20+ yards, but her right-footed chance sailed just above the crossbar.

The rest of the period was characterized by Illinois Tech bunkering and UChicago pushing forward constantly. The Scarlet Hawks played solid defense, cutting off lanes and through balls once the ball got into the final 20 yards. The visitors had one interesting moment in the 21st minute when a breakaway opportunity gave IIT an open goal, but a rushed shot traveled the width of the goal mouth and away.

Despite the 14-2 shot lead for the hosts, the teams went into halftime scoreless.

UChicago came out with renewed purpose in the second half, looking more decisive and energized on the attack. The scoreboard was finally lit up in the 61st minute. An Illinois Tech foul resulted in a free kick from 40 yards away. Junior defender Mackenzie Peebles launched a long aerial pass into the box, where junior midfielder Hanna Watkins popped the ball off her head up into the air. Senior midfielder Jenna McKinney tracked it after an initial bounce and slid the ball inside the left post for her 10th goal of the year.

Sixty-five minutes into the match, Watkins added a score of her own. First-year defender Tabitha Bishop received a short corner in space on the right wing and found Watkins open for a perfect directional header six yards out.

The offensive wave continued early in the 69th minute. After stealing the ball in Illinois Tech's defensive third, McKinney moved up the middle and sent a through ball to sophomore midfielder Maddie DeVoe, who knocked a sprinting shot to the left post that the goalie could not make a move on.

The capper goal of the night came on unusual circumstances. Junior forward Adrianna Vera booted a corner kick that struck the crossbar and went straight down to the feet of Nicole Willing. The rookie forward deposited the ball from point blank range to close out the scoring at 4-0.

UChicago's attacking dominance was evident in the shot column – the hosts led that comfortably 29-3. Corner kicks were similarly in the Maroons' favor at 6-0.

Junior goalkeeper Katie Donovan made the start and played the entire first half. She was relieved after halftime by sophomore Miranda Malone (9-0-1 record), who earned the win in 34 minutes of relief. First-year Emma Smith took over for the remaining 11 minutes of action.

NEXT GAME:

  • Friday, Oct. 26 @ 3:00 PM – New York University at UChicago