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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Leaney makes last trip to NCAA Tournament

By Mathew Starner

After their Oct. 17 loss to St. Olaf, the Scots’ only chance at the conference playoffs was to win all of their last three games. Rosie Glenn-Finer ’13 was given her first ever start in net, and four shutouts in five games later, the Scots received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs. The first three shutouts wins pushed the team into the MIAC playoffs, where their first opponent was at No. 2 ranked St. Thomas, who the Scots previously upset in Glenn-Finer’s first start. The Tommies were threatening revenge to knock the Scots out of the first round of the MIAC playoffs, but even more was at stake.

“After we beat St. Thomas away, the coaches knew to make the NCAA tournament we would have to beat them away again, which was unthinkable,” head coach John Leaney said. “But we did it.”

The win advanced the Scots to the MIAC championship, where Carleton defeated the Scots 3-0 on Nov. 7. The loss cost the women a title as MIAC champs, but it may have sparked a similar drive in the team as the loss to St. Olaf did.

“Losing to Carleton the way we did was extremely, extremely frustrating,” midfielder Maddy Cochrane ’10 said. “After that and the St. Olaf loss, we’re even more motivated going into nationals.”

The NCAA tournament teams were announced shortly after the Carleton game, and some of the players believed that the Carleton game would be the deciding factor if the Scots would be selected to play in the tournament, and a selection as an at-large team was rare.

“We knew there was a possibility, I just didn’t think it was that big of a possibility,” Cochrane said. “I wasn’t really thinking of getting into the NCAAs at-large at all. It was just if we win we make it, if we don’t, that’s the end of our season.”

While the Scots were on a very hot streak going into the MIAC championship, the loss may be beneficial to the mentality of the team now that it is seeded in the tournament bracket.

“A few of us see it as a second chance because the Carleton game didn’t go as well as we had hoped,” Glenn-Finer said. “I think we’re using that as motivation to really prove that not only do we deserve to be there but we deserve to go further than the first or second round. And I think we can.”

The Scots will open Saturday at 7:30 pm. against the St. Scholastica Saints, a team they beat 3-0 in the second game of the season on Sept. 4.

The Scots’ earlier victory gives a breath of confidence against the Saints, but perhaps more importantly, the Scots will have homefield advantage for potentially the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Scots posted an undefeated 8-0-1 record in the regular season at Macalester Stadium, making the home field advantage very intimidating for opposing teams.

“It is a huge advantage, and we’re extremely lucky,” Cochrane said. “I hope we get as big of a fan base as we did on Saturday for the Carleton game. I’ve never seen that many people come out.”

Being able to play games in November is a luxury that the clutch play of Glenn-Finer has offered.

“We wouldn’t have won without her, she has come up with so many saves,” said Cochrane. “But our defense has played really well in combination. They made the St. Thomas wins possible.”

Glenn-Finer also credits the defense in front of her and admits that they deserve much of the credit. “It has been strong all season. Regardless of who is in goal, they’ve done a very good job.”

Cochrane however has been impressed with the ease that the new keeper has stepped into her rookie role. “She was not afraid to speak as a goalie, which is awesome because what you ask of your goalies is to be very vocal.

“She directs people around, especially on corner kicks. I don’t think she hesitated in assuming that leadership,” Cochrane said.

Still, asking a first year goalie to make her first varsity start against No. 2 St. Thomas in a game that decided the fate of the team’s playoff hopes was daunting.

“I felt nervous,” Glenn-Finer said. “But once I start playing you have to forget about that. You can focus on the ball and the play developing. You have to focus and ignore your nerves.”

Since that first start, Glenn-Finer didn’t allow a goal past her until the MIAC championship, and Leaney said she is anticipated to open as the starting goalie in the NCAA tournament.

What was once a struggle to make the conference playoffs has now turned into a trip to the national playoffs, and Leaney is fulfilled with his last season as head coach. “Whatever happens it will be looked upon as a successful season,” Leaney said. “Now every win will make it even more successful. We are in a no lose situation.

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