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UChicago Men's Soccer 2019 Season Review

<<< Year in Transition >>>

Having graduated three All-Americans from the previous three seasons, and with 40+ goals moving on from the team the previous season, it was a tall order to compete with the most successful three-year period in program history. While the 2019 season did not end with a third Final Four trip, it was triumphant nonetheless in a number of categories. From a record-breaking conference title to re-establishing a winning mentality, the program is poised to make another run at the national championship.

Strength of Schedule 2019 - 2nd of 419 DIII Men's Soccer Programs

The solitary sentence is a writer's most useful tool. A training exercise is a coach's sentence.

NCAA Championship: First Round

Having received the automatic qualifier by virtue of going 7-0 in UAA conference play, The University of Chicago men's soccer team made the NCAA tournament for the sixth consecutive year. The draw pitted the UAA champs against the NACC champs, Dominican University. With a clear identity defensively in a 5-2-3 shape, it was a tough ask to break down a disciplined Dominician unit. With it all knotted at 1-1 late in the first, first-year Kam Bloye poked one home and the Maroons never looked back.

Snow + Subzero Wind ChiLLS going into Tournament play

NCAA Championship: Second Round

The Round of 32 was another tall order against an Ohio Wesleyan group that had previously given Calvin their only loss on the season. With a talented forward leading their lines, always capable of poaching home from out of seemingly nothing, it was going to take a 2-0 lead to put this one to bed. Going in 1-0 at half with a lion's share of possession and quality chances, the Maroons knew they needed a second. Unfortunately, as soccer goes, a tough PK and well-executed set piece put OWU out in front and then nicked a late one as the game got stretched. It was a result not commensurate with the type of soccer put forward by the UofC, but a harbinger of the quality to expect in 2020.

UAA Conference Title Like No Other

First ever UAA men's soccer team (in 33 Seasons) to finish league play 7-0-0 without conceding a goal.

7 games, 7 wins, 14 Goals for, 0 Goals Against

After a nutty six game start to the season, staring down a 2-0-4 record, we knew we had the spirit to gut out positive results, but the group questioned where on earth the goals would come from. There was soon a goals-by-committee answer to that question with Bryce Millington popping in with his two-and-a-half-foot-out tap-in classics, Kyle Ruark providing the supplying role, and Sahil Modi chipping in with workmanlike efforts.

Kam Bloye, Forward/Wing

"Slippery as ever"

First Team All-Conference, 5 goals, 4 assists as a first-year winger

Vicente Mateus, Center Mid

"dictating play"

Conference Honorable Mention, Second Team All-Region, 4 goals and 7 assists for the second-year center-mid

Ron Katsimpalis, GK

"another great year between the pipes"

First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Region, Second Team All-American, 85% save percentage

Richard "Bully" Gillespie, CB

"dominant in the air"

Conference Rookie of the Year, Second Team All-Conference, Second Team All-Region

Sahil Modi, Center Mid

"dominant in the air"

First Team All-Conference, 4 goals, 1 assist

Isaiah Holquist, LB + CB

"quarterbacking from right back"

Second Team All-Conference, Second Team All-Region

Scott Lich, right back

"ever the deterrent down the right side"

Conference Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Region

The seven conference game stretched demanded a recipe of skill, grit and luck and resulted in a forever memorable season.

The final game against WashU to clinch a commanding UAA title. Sensing a favorable match-up rolling out in a 3-4-2-1 shape, central overloads and natural width from the wingbacks proved too much. Quality soccer ensued.

Seniors: Post-Grad Life

Gang of Three

As the cliche goes, 99% of NCAA athletes go pro in something other than sports. The Class of 2020 seniors are no different. After giving their all out on Stagg Field for four years, they will pursue careers in other areas. Rena, Beef, and Bar will venture away from Hyde Park in the coming years.

Renato "Rena" Corghi

Major: Public Policy, 3.6 GPA

Post-Grad Plans: Investment Banking Analyst at Deutsche Bank - New York, NY

Having torn his ACL soon after the 2018 season, Rena knew 2019 was going to be enjoyed from the other side of the white line, a place he didn't know very well. Though impossible to replace him on-the-field, he did his best off of it to help the team grow and learn.

Nate Johnson

Major: Public Policy, 3.3 GPA, Dean's List 2017-18, 2018-19

Post-Grad Plans: Applying to Master's Programs before entering med school

As a fourth-year captain, Beef grew as a player and as a person this season. He played center back and outside back for much of the season, before effectively being deployed as a stopper, bringing us back to the days of the 90s. His new role was a boon as he completely shut down UAA opposition for 7 games. A fierce competitor, Nate has a future with no bounds.

Sam "Bar" Barovick

Major: Philosophy, 3.1 GPA

Post-Grad Plans: Pursuing life's passions.

Bar's influence on the team cannot be measured with on-field statistics. There is no figure that captures training ground presence. He continually pushed everyone around him to improve, and never let training dip. Successful programs need players like Bar, and his spirit will be missed dearly.

Onward to the 2020 Season