No. 9 Chicago Sneaks by Pirates in Season Opener

No. 9 Chicago Sneaks by Pirates in Season Opener

by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant

CHICAGO, Ill. – Max Lopez scored the game winning goal off a back-heel pass to secure a 2-1 victory for the ninth-ranked University of Chicago Maroons over the Whitworth Pirates in the first game of the season for both squads.

The match was a battle for both squads, and a see-saw affair for most of the game.

The Pirates jumped on the attack early. Drew Williams' 9th minute shot was stymied by Chicago goalkeeper Hill Bonin. A pair of corner kicks and singular free kick were similarly stopped by the Maroon defense.

The Maroons' first goal came on the counterattack. Tommy Tenuta received a cross from Matthew Koh in the middle of the box in the 31st minute and slid a shot just outside the grasp of Tony Watters to give the Maroons the advantage. Watters got a hand on the shot, but couldn't corral the ball as it dribbled just into the goal.  

University of Chicago would head into halftime with a 1-0 advantage.

After halftime, Micah Weller equalized for the Pirates. Weller soared high above the Maroon defenders to head home a free kick from Austin Cassity in the 50th minute.

After Weller's goal, Chicago took control of the game offensively, culminating in the 85th minute goal from Lopez. Watters saved a bevy of shots beforehand to keep the game tied for much of the second half.

Chicago nearly opened up the 2-1 lead much earlier. Gary Zhao's shot was just saved by Watters on a full extension dive in the 62nd minute. Zhao put another shot on goal in the 67th minute, only to be saved by Watters again. Watters picked up yet another save on a free kick in the 74th minute to keep the game scoreless.

The Maroons finished the match with 17 shots to the Pirates' seven. Chicago held a 6-2 advantage in shots on goal. Watters would finish the match with four saves. His Maroon counterpart Hill Bonin needed just one. 

Up next, the Pirates will travel to Lisle, Ill. on Sunday to take on Benedictine (Ill.) at 5:00 p.m.