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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

Women's soccer, Leaney make final push for postseason

By Mathew Starner

Despite an initial Mac lead in Northfield, St Olaf spoiled the Scots’ spark and stifled their playoff hopes for the season, going ahead in the 88th minute for a 2-1 final last Saturday.”The hopes aren’t dashed yet,” midfielder Grace Geiger ’10 said. “We have more of a fighting spirit, more of an underdog approach than was originally intended.”

The loss knocked the Scots down to sixth in the MIAC, but playoff possibilities still exist in the team’s immediate future. With all three remaining games against MIAC teams, the Scots are in a position to improve their 4-3-1 conference record.

The task appears promising with an impressive young team that has stepped up as role players.

“Compared to previous years I’ve played, the freshman class has made an impact since the beginning of the season,” midfielder Lauryn Gutierrez ’11 said. “This year it only took a few weeks before we had a few starting freshmen.”

One player making an early impression is midfielder Emily Humphreys ’13, who scored the game winner in Mac’s 1-0 win against Gustavus Adolphus.

“She’s well known on the team for just being able to keep the ball at her feet no matter what happens,” Gutierrez said about Humphreys’ performance. “She can go through three or four people and still get off an amazing cross. She’s really amazing.”

The most difficult task comes on the road Saturday against No. 2 ranked St. Thomas. The results of this next game against the Tommies may dictate the fate of the Scots for the season.

“This game is pretty crucial,” Geiger said. “If we beat St. Thomas we can talk about the next one. But if we don’t beat St. Thomas we’re going to have to reevaluate.”

The team may have elevated motivation considering head coach John Leaney’s recent announcement that this season would be his last with the team.

“I think John probably knew before the season he’d be done,” Geiger said. “He came in with a really positive attitude and high hopes and I think we’re trying to continue that for this last season. Ever since his announcement, we just wanted to make it a good season for him.”

Leaney’s son will be starting kindergarten next fall and he felt the best option for his family was to relieve his demanding coaching duties.

While there was a feeling that Leaney’s retirement was nearing, some were still surprised to hear that their coach’s 23-year legacy was ending.

“I just took it for granted that he’d be around because he has been here for so long,” Gutierrez said. “I never dreamed that my soccer coach would retire during my Macalester career.”

Leaney also has the confidence of his players for the rest of his time on the sidelines, despite the daunting playoff hunt ahead.

“His morale hasn’t changed,” Gutierrez said. “He’s not one to give up on a team.

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