Womenƒ?TMs Soccer waits for possible NCAA tourney bid

By Mathew Starner

You know it was going to end sometime, Head Coach John Leaney said after the women’s soccer team lost for the first time in 43 games, snapping the second longest streak all time in the NCAA.

The 0-1 loss came at the Oct. 25 game against Carleton, when Carleton scored in the first minute of overtime on only their second shot of the game.

“I knew that someday we’d get a bad break, and that’s what happened,” Leaney said. “We felt we were the better team at Carleton. It was a bad break in overtime, we didn’t clear a ball that went in, and it was over in a heartbeat. You just don’t think about it because you know it’s going to happen.”

The loss isn’t all disappointment, though. “I think the players felt a little bit of pressure to not lose than they did to win,” Leaney said.

Now with the loss, the Scots will not have home field advantage in the playoffs.

Just as some big numbers were erased, one new one was written in: Leaney got his 500th win coaching for Mac in the very next game, when the Scots beat Hamline 3-0.

The milestone even came as a surprise to Leaney. “I was told about it, but I don’t really pay that much attention to that kind of stuff,” Leaney said. “It’s pretty funny because I didn’t remember, and someone reminded me later. I said, ‘That only gives me a couple hours before we win the 501st,’ so it was very short-lived,” when later that day he coached the men’s team to a 3-2 win.

The Scots finished at 12-1-5, which will push them into a playoff spot for another streak of four straight appearances. “I think that we have a bit of an advantage in the playoffs because we’re always in them,” Leaney said. “This is the fourth straight conference playoff we’ve been in—no one else has done that.”

But while there is a lot of history of Mac in the big games, not many of the same faces are all still around, with only five upperclass starters.

“In previous years we’ve had five, six or seven starting seniors,” Leaney said. “This year we have two. We used to have a lot of juniors start, now we have three. Half of the team is first and second year players.”

Leaney believes this is the team’s biggest weakness as they make the transition from the regular season.

“That is going to be a disadvantage going into the playoffs,” Leaney said. “We have the pride and the tradition, we have the older ones telling the younger ones, but the younger ones don’t know what to expect. How they react is going to be fairly crucial to us.”