Women’s Soccer ends year on high as Men fight on for MIAC title

The Mac Weekly

by Ben Lewis

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The Macalester Women’s Soccer season was filled with drama, to say the least. It all started with a home opening, overtime win over UW-Eau Claire. This win set the tone for the Scots, who finished the season 7-6-4, and played in seven overtime contests. None of those seven wins was bigger than the literal last-minute win over St. Thomas at home.

“The Tommies are a huge rivalry game, so it felt incredible to beat them at home in front of our fans,” said Mia Stripp ’19. This wasn’t the only big game Macalester played. Rachel Wilson-King ’18 mentioned the St. Benedict game as another huge game. “It was the best we played all season,” Wilson-King said. “We just played really great soccer and I think we finally saw just how capable our team was.”

This team gelled on and off the field and was able to come together. “We just trust each other. We have each other’s backs,” Wilson-King said.

Stripp went even further. “Every fall I have the opportunity to go on the field with my best friends and this season was no different,” she said.

Jaime Hasama ’18, however, was the player who said it best and simplest. “This team means everything to me,” she said. This tight knit, family atmosphere showed on the field as well, both in how the defense moved and how the Scots were able to distribute the ball to each other when on the attack. It seemed as if everybody on the field knew every move that was going to be made before it happened. This is what made the Scots such a competitive team in the MIAC. The women’s soccer team is also committed to sparking discussions about injustice in society. Members of the team chose to take a knee for the national anthem before their games, meaning that they have joined teams from a variety of sports across the country in a powerful symbolic protest. They also wrote a statement, published in this newspaper, explaining that they were motivated by the persistence of institutional racism in the United States. The choice by the team to take a stance for something they truly believe in is admirable, and an example for many.

Overall, the season included dramatic wins and lots of tight games. “Every game was a battle,” Hasama said. “It made it pretty fun.”

Men’s soccer, meanwhile, remains in the hunt for a MIAC championship. Their regular season ended with consecutive losses to St. John’s University and Gustavus Adolphus, costing them the second seed and a bye in the MIAC playoffs. The losses were frustrating, but they refocused by coming together.

“It came from an overwhelming agreement amongst the players that we can do well in the playoffs, that we can rebound, and we’re able to do that,” said Max Kent ’20.

That push began when they won a tight 1-0 quarterfinal battle with Carleton College on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Clayton Smith ’19 broke the tie in the 55th minute off a free kick from midfielder Jake Burke ’18.

The Scots followed this victory with a 1-0 semifinal win over Gustavus Adolphus College on Wednesday, Nov. 1. A stout defense, which only allowed one shot on goal all game, led the Scots, while Seth Kofman ’19 scored the lone goal. The Scots advance to the finals, where the University of St. Thomas awaits in a rematch of last year’s MIAC Championship game. In 2016, St. Thomas beat the Scots 1-0. Macalester will hope for a different result when they travel down Grand Ave. this Saturday.

The game will be the fourth time Kent has played St. Thomas in his Macalester career, with all three previous meetings ending in 1-0 defeats. Kent has now turned his attention toward Saturday’s game, and will remember lessons learned from the last two years.

“When it comes down to it, I’ll look back on those three games, and say, alright there were a few mistakes here and there, or there were a few plays we’d love to get back [from] those three games, but those three games have also shown us if we really want to win this game, it comes down to how badly we want it compared to them, and who’s willing to battle for 90 minutes and not give up an inch.”

The men’s game will take place at 1:00 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 4 at St. Thomas’ South Field.

Carrigan Miller and Liam McMahon contributed reporting to this piece.