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UNO Soccer

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Photo by Omaha Athletics

Ray Koch
SPORTS EDITOR

Nothing screams Maverick spirit quite like a brisk, dark fall night at Caniglia field— where, nestled in-between overlooking trees, one can cheer on the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s soccer teams as they go head-to-head with their opponents.

The first chance Mav faithful will have a chance to see their 2017 UNO Men’s soccer team will be Aug. 9, in the red/ black scrimmage. However, on Aug. 13, the infamous South Omaha Classic will take place at Caniglia Field against the 2013 National Champions, Notre Dame.

Last year’s South Omaha Classic was a thriller when UNO beat Marquette in a shootout 2-1. Junior defender Zac Marquess knows the importance of the South Omaha Classic.

“It’s always a blast playing in the South O Classic because the community really
does come out and support. We’re lucky to be supported by such a great city with lots of Maverick pride,” he said.

Playing a former national champion can be a daunting challenge, but Marquess and the Mavs know what to expect from the task at hand.

“Against a former national champion in Notre Dame, we expect a very fun and competitive game. [This game] will set the tone for the rest of our games, especially at Caniglia field.”

The UNO Mavericks finished the season with a 10-5-4 record, before losing to Denver in the Summit League tournament to cut their season short. Notre Dame finished the season last year ranked 14th, which was one better than in-state for Creighton.

On Sunday, Aug. 13, at 6 p.m., there is only one expectation for Maverick students and fellow fans—wear black, and get loud.

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Photo by Omaha Athletics

Ray Koch
SPORTS EDITOR

Head coach Tim Walters and the rest of the women’s soccer team got underway with their first day of preseason training on Aug. 2, where Walters said players were “full of energy,” and “eager to compete” in the upcoming 2017 season. Energy and effort were two things Walters was happy with during their black/gray scrimmage last Friday.

“One thing we didn’t want to see after this game was a lack of energy and effort, but tonight their work rate was incredible,” Walters said.

The Mavs will be looking to turn that competitive fire into wins— which were tough to come by last season. After a 5-11-3 season which ended with the Mavericks being ousted in the Summit League tournament, there were many problems to address. One of those came when Tim Walters, who was an assistant men’s soccer coach last season, became the new head coach of the women’s program.

Walter’s acknowledged that goals were hard to come by last season, as UNO only scored 14 goals in 19 games. The Mavericks also failed to win a game away from home, going 0-7-2. Walters has plans to change that.

“The way we play, pressing the ball up the field, we will be able to create a lot of chances,” he said.

With new recruits like offensive minded Bailey Cascio, who was one of the metro’s best high school soccer stars, Maverick fans sure have a lot to get amped about. In addition to Cascio, the Mavs welcome three transfer students who will try to help the Mavs in their efforts toward a rebound season. One of those transfer students, Haley Johnson, is a goalkeeper transfer from USF, and a two-time NJCAA All-American who aims to help keep opponents off the scoreboard.

At the end of the day, Walters wanted to bring in a new vision and a new culture to UNO women’s soccer.

“They care, they want to win, and they’re trying to get better; that’s all that matters.”

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This Week in Sports

COURTESY OF UNO ATHLETICS
COURTESY OF UNO ATHLETICS

Four members of the Omaha soccer team — Felipe da Silva, Logan Mendez, Mark Moulton and Joseph Ghitis — were named to the 2015 Summit League Men’s Soccer Academic All-League team.

The Mavericks had more on the team than any other school in the conference. To make the team, a student-athlete must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30, completed at least one full academic year and participated in half of their team’s competitions.

The Omaha soccer team finished the season 9-6-3 (3-2-1 Summit League), making an appearance in the Summit League Tournament. The Mavericks were a near perfect 7-1-1 at Caniglia Field.

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By Stefan Snijders
CONTRIBUTOR

It’s mid-afternoon on the first Thursday of November. The shadow of Sapp Fieldhouse looms over Caniglia Field like the ghosts of the previous Halloween weekend.

On the turf, soccer players set up for crossing drills. One particular player looks restless, as if he’s ready to run out of his skin. He shifts from foot to foot, hopping, bundling up his energy for the run.

Then the whistle tweets, and he’s on his way along with his two teammates toward goal, eyes roving for the position of the crossed ball. It hits in front of him. He makes a physical adjustment, one that many players make, to strike the ball, only he gets a better foot on it than most do. It’s an excellent strike. The keeper has to react quickly to make the save and does.

Starting center forward Noor Hamadi shrugs it off and sets up for his next run, but his body language gives away his disappointment. He doesn’t let the miss bother him, though. He continues through the rest of practice, putting all his energy and concentration in the tasks ahead of him. Hamadi’s focus is turned toward the action during practice, even when he’s at the sidelines.

Noor Hamadi is focused. He’s driven. He works a job at nearly full-time hours and commits to the soccer team, where he’s a starting forward. He’s a sophomore business major who hopes to own his own company someday. It’s these qualities and his hard work that head coach Jason Mims says helped put Noor into the rotation regularly after redshirting his freshman year in 2014.

“He’s worked really hard, and there was an obvious difference even from the start of the season last year into January and February that he had logged long hours working on improving his game,” Mims said. “We talked with him about working on his presence on the ball, and he really took it literally.”

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Hamadi said attending UNO was almost a given. He had many reasons to attend school here.

“The location, being close to home now, it was important. I always think that I’d go to UNO,” he said. “This program here, a great coach. I really wanted to be a part of it.” Which is why Hamadi came as a walk-on last fall.

After featuring on Omaha South High School’s state championship team in 2012-13 and in 2013-14, as well as playing as a kicker and punter for the Packers’ football team, Hamadi chose UNO for his immediate future.

He is athletic and loves lots of sports, but his passion has been soccer, ever since he can remember. The Hamadi family moved to the states from Kenya in 2006. “Noodle,” as his teammates call him, likes to emulate Didier Drogba, the striker from Ivory Coast who currently plays with MLS club Montreal Impact and is a former standout with Chelsea from the English Premier League. Noor grew up watching Drogba star at Chelsea for eight seasons.

Although shorter in stature, Hamadi identifies with the strong, intense goal-mouth dominance Drogba embodies. Coach Mims approves of this association.

“I never like to compare college players to professional ones, but Drogba is a good role model for Noodle,” he said. “He has that same type of strength and presence that becomes even more evident as the attack is moving forward toward goal, especially in that penalty area.”
Noor says he likes Drogba. “I want to have the power like he does, those skills,” he said. “When I’m watching players play, I see him and I think, I want to play like that.”

Noor is shy. Talking to him in an interview setting, he seemd to be slightly uncomfortable with the spotlight.

I eventually turned off the recorder toward the end of the day and just chatted with him and freshman defender Joel Kazhila, who sat in a massage chair behind us. Then he reverted to what I can only guess is the real Noor: relaxed, still sort of quiet but more conversational. Seeing that made evident what Noor said about his teammates and their connections. The team spends quite a bit of time together, even when they aren’t on the road for an away game.

Hamadi said living on campus helps provide that environment, and there’s a strong connection between the guys on the team thanks to that. It especially helps when they get together to play games in the offseason.

“There’s no gaps between us, we’re all really close,” Noor said.

I stood and observed, while the two interacted. Smiling, enjoying real interaction. Hamadi asked what American football position his teammate could could see him playing.

“Kicker,” Kazhila replied, laughing.

PHOTO COURTESY OF UNO ATHLETICS
PHOTO COURTESY OF UNO ATHLETICS

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PHOTO BY SHANNON SMITH
PHOTO BY SHANNON SMITH

By Jackson Taylor
Sports Editor

The Omaha men’s soccer team’s home winning streak of 21 games was snapped on Saturday as they suffered a loss to conference opponent Western Illinois.

Despite an early second half lead for the Mavericks off of a goal from Felipe da Silva, Western Illinois stung Omaha with a pair of late goals to win 2-1. With the loss, Omaha drops to 7-3-1 overall and 1-1-1 in conference play.

The Mavericks jumped out to an early attack as Mark Moulton sent a header just over the crossbar in the 3rd minute and Fazlo Alihodzic put a shot on goal in the 5th. Goalkeeper Josh Ghitis and the Omaha defense kept WIU to just 3 shots on goal in the first half. The first half also saw 23 fouls and four yellow cards between the two teams.

After the first half went scoreless, Omaha finally got on the board in the 48th minute as Felipe da Silva scored off a rebound.

WIU evened the score at 1-1 in the 84th minute as Drew Whalen headed a free kick over the head of Ghitis who was running out of the box to clear the ball.

Omaha got their final good look to take the lead in the 86th minute when Fazlo Alihodzic placed a shot passed WIU’s goalkeeper. The shot was called off due to a slight offside infraction.

Minutes later, WIU’s Tyler Chavez split the Omaha defense and snuck the game winning goal past a diving Ghitis.

Omaha’s next game is on the road against No. 9 Denver on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m.

PHOTO BY SHANNON SMITH
PHOTO BY SHANNON SMITH
PHOTO BY SHANNON SMITH
PHOTO BY SHANNON SMITH

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PHOTO BY SHANNON SMITH
PHOTOS BY SHANNON SMITH

IMG_4532 copy

Jackson Taylor

Sports Editor

The Omaha men’s soccer team now holds an NCAA record for longest current win streak at home after their 3-0 victory over Fort Wayne. The Mavericks have won 12 straight home games dating back to last year. The previous record was held by conference foe Denver, who recently tied with IUPUI, ending their streak at 21
games.

Omaha shined from the start in their second conference game of the year, as they put early pressure on Mastodon goalkeeper Raphael Kotzock. Emir Alihodzic and Mark Moulton each had a shot on
goal within in the first 10 minutes of play.

Fort Wayne brought a solid offensive attack as well in the first half, rattling off a series of shots on goal that were deflected by Maverick goalkeeper Joseph Ghitis. Mark Moulton put Omaha on the board in the 40th minute when he was awarded a penalty kick following a struggle with an IPFW defender. Moulton placed the PK passed the outstretched arms of Kotzock to give the Mavericks the 1-0 lead going into halftime.

UNO wasted little time in the second half as Fazlo Alihodzic scored in the 58th minute on a ball that deflected off an IPFW defender and into the net.

With Ghitis holding his own in the net, Omaha stayed aggressive in the second half and tacked on a third goal in 76th minute. Jesus Perez headed a corner kick in to make it 3-0.

Goalkeeping made the difference in this conference match up. Both teams got off 11 shots, but Ghitis
outworked Kotzsock in protecting the net, tallying seven saves, a career high.

The Mavericks are now 7-2-1 overall and 1-0-1 in Summit League play.

They will look to add another win in conference play when they host Western Illinois at on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.

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COURTESY OF UNO ATHETLICS
COURTESY OF UNO ATHETLICS

Jackson Taylor

News Editor

Game 1 at North Dakota State

The Mavericks opened up Summit League play on Friday with a tough loss to North Dakota State, 1-0.

Omaha played neck in neck with NDSU for the entire game, rattling off 11 shots and limiting the Bisons’ scoring chances. Omaha goalkeeper Katlyn Schochenmaier made six saves and deflected several NDSU passes into the box.

However, the Bison were able to sneak a 60th minute goal past Schochenmaier and held on to that lead for the rest of the match.

Omaha had several great looks at the end of the game with Courtney Neville, Lydia Holtmann and Kayla Booker each putting shots on goal within the last six minutes. NDSU outshot Omaha 17-11 and 7-5 in shots on goal. The Bison are now 6-5-0 and 1-0-0 in league play. Game 2 at South Dakota State Omaha dropped their third game in a row on Sunday against conference foe South Dakota State,
again by the score of 1-0.

Sunday’s game was an excellent showing of defense by both teams. Omaha had a modest 1 shot on goal, while SDSU had 4. Maverick defenders Lauren Lawler and Ava Doetsch did their part in disrupting the Bison offense.

SDSU’s game-winning goal came late, as Nicole Hatcher netted her second goal of the season, an unassisted score in the 81st minute.

Similar to Friday’s game, Omaha made several pushes late in the match but came up empty. Hannah Wampler led Omaha with 3 shots, but none were on target. Courtney Neville had the lone shot-on-goal for the Mavericks.

Following the tough weekend, Omaha is now 3-7-2 and 0-2 in the Summit League. The Mavericks look to turn things around when they return home to play IUPUI on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.

Omaha women’s soccer leaders

Goals:
Chelsi Rohloff – 4

Assists:
Courtney Neville – 2

Saves:
Katlyn Schochenmaier – 55

Minutes:
Ava Doetsch – 1,120

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Jackson Taylor
Sports Editor

Game 1 vs. Colorado State
The Omaha women’s soccer team rebounded from their 9-1 defeat at Minnesota with a hard-fought game against Colorado State. The Mavericks took the Rams into double overtime, but gave up a goal with less than a minute on the clock to lose 1-0.

UNO looked light years better on Friday than in their performance at Minnesota, controlling possession for all of regulation and limiting CSU’s offensive chances. Maverick defenders Jessica Bollinger, Ava Doetsch, Lauren Lawler, Cydney Skinner and Katie Vanderzwaag kept the Rams’ offense off-kilter, allowing just nine shots all game.

Once again, senior midfielder Chelsi Rohloff led the Omaha offense with five shots, one on goal. Despite outshooting the Rams 17 to nine, Omaha was unable to find the back of the net, due to the dominant performance from CSU goalkeeper Jesse McGinley.
The heartbreaking goal from from Jessica Stauffer with 24 seconds left dropped Omaha’s record to 2-4-4 on the season.

Game 2 vs. Northern Colorado
Omaha was able to get a redemption win for their double overtime loss on Friday as they topped Northern Colorado in overtime, 1-0.

Northern Colorado seemed to be in control for a majority of the game, leading in shots, shots on goal and possession. However, Omaha goalkeeper Katlyn Schocenmaier disallowed NCU from getting on the board as she recorded ten saves on the day. NCU goalkeeper Madeline Burdick matched Schochenmaier’s play for the entirety of regulation, recording six saves.

As regulation ended in a tie, Omaha was determined to avoid another overtime let down, keeping the pressure on NCU in the ten minute period. With just three minutes left in overtime, none other than Chelsi Rohloff came up in the clutch yet again with a 97th minute goal for the win.
Omaha improved to 3-4-2 and 3-1-1 at home with the win. The Mavericks are back in action on Tuesday, Sept. 22 as they play

COURTESY OF UNO ATHLETICS
COURTESY OF UNO ATHLETICS

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