Menƒ?TMs soccer ends season with a win

By Jakob Wartman

The Men’s soccer team closed out their hardest season since 1986, saving face with a 3-2 victory over Hamline on Oct. 27. Ranked first according to MIAC coaches in the preseason poll, the team started out strong with a 6-2-1 record before several distractions handicapped the team, leading them to finish the season with two three-game losing streaks which killed any chance of making the postseason.

The team came into the season looking to defend its 2005 championship and add to their seven MIAC titles in the last nine years. “I think there were times we performed at that level,” Co-Head Coach Ian Barker said. “We are still highly respected in the conference.”

The team’s final victory ensured Macalester’s streak of 20 non-losing seasons would continue, but with its 8-8-1 record the team snapped its 19-year streak of winning seasons.

The team knew its playoff chances were in jeopardy after a 2-0 loss to St. Olaf and the Scots chances vanished the next game with a loss to Carleton that eliminated the team from the MIAC tournament for the first time in its history.

Even with the 8-8-1 record the team remained optimistic about their season and besides the 4-1 loss to Carleton the team was able to keep games close, losing six games by a one-goal margin. The 4-1 blowout was uncharacteristic of the Scots and it was the first time the team had allowed 4 goals since a 4-4 tie with St. Olaf in 1995.

“The conference has gotten a lot better,” Barker said. “We used to have 4 to 5 goal wins but we don’t have those kind of blow outs anymore.”

The team was continually plagued with off field distractions including the sudden death of Carrie Leaney. The team had compiled a 6-2-1 record but after her death they closed the season 2-6-0.
“Everywhere we turned there was a distraction from soccer. This has been a tough year, the players had much more than soccer on their minds,” Baker said. “Overall the season went good enough technically and tactically. Reasons rather than excuses made it hard for us to do what we needed to do.”

The Scots also dealt with injuries and played their first five games without their captain and 2005 All-MIAC selection Magnus Oppenheimer ’07.

While the off field distractions and close games lead to Macalester’s worst record since 1986, the team was lucky to see a crop of young rising stars.

The team depended on a core of young starters up front including forward Carson Goerki ’09, who ranked second in the MIAC in both goals and points per game, and midfielder Jake Rocke ’10 who ranked second on the team in scoring and assists.

Macalester will lose seven players including impact players Jeff Rogers ’07 and Openheimer, but the team will return a core of top scorers, midfielders, and Adric Mueller ’08. Next year, the team is looking to return to the top of the conference.

“We need more infusion of talent, if we don’t get recruiting right this year we need to watch out,” Baker said. “We are going to be a younger team and we need some of our guys to step.”