Men's, women's soccer fall in first round of NCAA

By Mathew Starner

Women’s soccer was knocked out of the NCAA tournament on Nov. 12 on a 4-2 loss to Wisconsin-Stevens Point, barely missing the weekend’s branch-breaking snowstorm at Mac. But the men’s team ran into 37-degree cold, wind and rain during their 2-0 elimination loss to Wisconsin-Whitewater.

“It was very difficult weather conditions,” head coach Ian Barker said. “The wind made two distinct halves: one with the wind and one without it. It wasn’t a very attractive game.”

The men’s team, however, put up an impressive effort on their final match of the year.

“I felt it was an appropriate end point to the season to run into a superior opponent who were at home in good form,” Barker said. “It was an appropriate conclusion to our season.”

Scheduling may have also played a factor for the men, who had a ten-day layoff between games before they headed to Whitewater, Wisc.

The women trailed Wisconsin-Stevens Point 1-0 at half, but were able to quickly get themselves back into game after halftime adjustments.

“I think initially we backed off of Stevens Point-we let them dictate play and we couldn’t sort out how to respond initially,” head coach Kate Reiling said. “At the beginning of the second half we came out and really battled. The first fifteen minutes of that second half were impressive for us.”

Goals by forward Lauryn Gutierrez ’11 and midfielder Matea Wasend ’12 put the Scots on the board in the second half, but it was not enough to not overcome Stevens Point’s lead.

The women’s season still ended on a very successful note, making a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament while transitioning to a new coaching staff.

“Making it to the NCAA Tournament is a great achievement for our team as we transitioned from Coach Leaney to myself and battled significant injuries,” Reiling said. “John Leaney was a great support for me this year and I appreciated his time and wisdom.”

The fact that the teams have both made the NCAA tournament in back-to-back seasons may create high expectations at Mac, but Barker knows that seasons like this shouldn’t be taken for granted.

“The challenge is there’s an expectation that men’s and women’s soccer will just show up and win,” he said. “Nobody really takes into account the context of a conference like the MIAC.”

At the close of the year, the men’s team will graduate seven seniors from their varsity squad, but show great depth for more competitive seasons. The men’s second-team boasted a 9-2-3 record to complement the varsity squad’s 14-3-1 year.

“If you add our whole body of work up, it’s very, very impressive,” Barker said. “The bulk of that credit, by far, goes to the athletes.