Sometimes the numbers on a scoreboard are not an accurate depiction of the level of play during a competition. Such was the case last Saturday when the women’s soccer team lost a hard-fought 3-2 game to St. Benedict’s at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn with the MIAC Playoff Championship and an automatic bid to Nationals on the line. Two days later, the team was found huddling in the Leonard Center, hoping to hear Macalester’s name called for an NCAA at-large bid.
Unfortunately, the call never came.
The Scots out-shot the Blazers (21-17) and controlled the ball for the majority of the game, however, St. Ben’s maximized their scoring opportunities with smart shots and a quick change of possession off a Georgia Cloepfil ’14 missed penalty kick, which resulted in a Blazer goal less than a minute later to make the score 2-0 at halftime. The teams traded goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half with Cloepfil getting the Scots on the board in the 54th minute. Down 3-1 with less than 10 minutes remaining, the Scots’ fans willed the team to score with cheer after cheer to drown out the Blazers’ supporters. Mac fans got their immediate wish, as the Scots scored on an own goal in the 87th minute to make it 3-2, but a late flurry of Macalester shots couldn’t level the score in the end.
Eighty-nine students boarded two fan buses to attend the game, and another large portion of students, parents and community members made the 85-mile trip on their own. The result was a home away from home for the Scots, as the Macalester fans outnumbered and out-cheered St. Benedict’s fans. Although the women’s soccer team couldn’t earn a comeback win, Macalester Athletic Director Kim Chandler said the Scots’ fans were the real winners on the day. Mac boasted a 2:1 advantage in fan support for the game.
The vast majority of students in attendance were student-athletes with a particularly high number of men’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s basketball.
Next semester, The Mac Weekly is introducing a four-part series that investigates why students choose to attend or avoid the college’s athletic events. Stay tuned for the series’ first report in February.