Though the men’s soccer team met a worthy foe in the University of Chicago Maroons — a squad toting an identical 8-3 win-loss record and a national ranking — any passerby wouldn’t know it by looking at the final score of the afternoon match-up between these two University Athletic Association (UAA) powers on Sunday, Oct. 28. The Yellowjackets tallied four goals, never trailing, while the Maroons, by contrast, were penalized by the referees time and again for an overly aggressive style of play, and were handed four cards as a result.
Just over 21 minutes in, sophomore forward Alex Swanger found teammate junior midfielder Max Fan and sent him a magnificent through ball. Swanger fired from nine yards up, sending the ball to the lower left corner of the net to put the ’Jackets up, 1-0.
Chicago responded immediately, as just one minute later Maroon midfielder Nick Codispoti headed a ball toward the net. The ball was punched away by senior goalkeeper Scott Garfing, however Chicago forward Kyle Kurfist’s diving header proved too much for Garfing and a reeling UR defense, as the Maroons drew level.
Swanger returned to assist on the Yellowjackets’ second goal of the half, 31:54 in. Swanger surged down the right sideline and set up sophomore forward Shane Dobles, who was positioned in the box. Dobles lofted the ball into the upper right corner of the net, above the reach of the Maroons’ goalkeeper, David Cohen, to give the home team back its one-goal lead.
The Yellowjackets’ offense came back firing on all cylinders in the second half, burying Chicago under a flurry of 14 shots. Sophomore defender Andrew Sheridan’s long ball was mishandled by Cohen and, to the goalkeeper’s misfortune, freshman defender Jeffrey Fafinski was there to capitalize, as he tapped the ball into an empty net and added an extra cushion to the ’Jackets’ lead.
Now down 3-1, a dispirited Chicago squad vented its frustration in the final 15 minutes of play, as they were handed a team yellow card in addition to two individual yellow cards and a red in the game’s final minutes. Defender Kevin Matheney was the first of the Chicago perpetrators. He slide tackled Swanger in the box, and the foul proved to be costly to his team. UR senior midfielder Jakob Seidlitz took the penalty shot, blasting the ball past Cohen.
One minute later, Codispoti was given a yellow card and, seconds later, was kicked out with a red.
With the win, the Yellowjackets improve to 9-3-3 (2-1-3 in the UAA). The Maroons fall to 8-4-4 (2-3-1 in the UAA). UR hosts Case Western Reserve University, who are 0-5 in UAA play this season, on Saturday, Nov. 3 in their regular season finale.
Bernstein is a member of the class of 2014.