Chicago Men Advance to NCAA Final Four
Twenty-two games and 2,007 minutes. For the University of Chicago men's soccer team, the totality of its season would be not decided in regulation or overtime. It would come down to a penalty kick shootout under the bright lights of Stagg Field on Saturday night.
The Maroons delivered when it mattered most, converting all five of their kicks in the shootout to advance past Emory University and earn a spot in the NCAA Semifinals. UChicago (19-2-1 record) will make its second trip to the NCAA Final Four in program history – the squad previously achieved the feat in 1996.
Saturday's game officially ended in a 1-1 tie with Emory after two overtimes. The penalty kick shootout occurred immediately after the overtime periods as each side chose their lineup. UChicago turned to first-year goalkeeper Aaron Katsimpalis to face the PKs. Staked to a 2-1 lead in the shootout, Katsimpalis came up huge with a diving save on Emory's second attempt. With a 4-3 lead and the game on his foot, sophomore forward Dayo Adeosun scored the fifth and clinching penalty kick that set off a raucous celebration on the turf.
Early in the contest, the Maroons struck first for the second-straight day. Junior forward Matthew Koh sent a leading pass to the right corner that was run onto by first-year defender Scott Lich, who then skied a cross into the middle of the box. Junior forward Max Lopez leapt into the air through traffic to head the ball in for his 19th goal of the season at the 9:03 mark.
Lopez produced UChicago's most threatening chances throughout the night. He had two other goals waved off by the referees due to a foul and an offside. His left-footed laser in the box in the 24th minute was also punched away by Emory's goalie.
Three minutes into the second half, the Eagles erased the deficit with a header goal off a corner kick. The 1-1 score line persisted through 90 minutes of regulation and a pair of 10-minute overtimes. Both sides had golden opportunities to take the lead, but it all ultimately concluded with the PK shootout. Along with the two disallowed scores, UChicago's other closest chance came when senior midfielder Andre Abedian rattled the crossbar with a header in the 62nd minute.
The Maroons finished with a 13-5 lead in shots and a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks. Senior goalkeeper Hill Bonin (14-2-1 record) made two saves and allowed one goal in his 110 minutes between the pipes.
UChicago's season continues at the NCAA Final Four, hosted in Greensboro, N.C. on December 1-2.