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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

MIAC at the Midseason, 10/6

Christopher Mitchell
Photo courtesy of Macalester Athletics.


The volleyball Scots have shown consistent improvement in play and results over recent years. However, they still carry the longest postseason drought of any MIAC team — they haven’t been part of the dance since 2000. This year, for the third straight season, they have a real opportunity to put that in the past.

Gustavus Adolphus College has won both MIAC titles contested since University of St. Thomas left the MIAC to join NCAA D1. In 2022, the Gusties were not even troubled, going undefeated and winning the conference three games in front of second place. This year, the Scots’ playoff ambitions are complicated by two teams who have improved and now look to mount a title challenge: Concordia College (Minn.) and College of St. Benedict.

The Scots’ 1-2 record seems inauspicious, but the losses come against two ascendant sides. One loss to top dogs Gustavus could have been predicted from the start of the season, while the other was a five-set thriller against the Cobbers, where the Scots could easily have beaten a very good opponent. Their win also inspires hope, a five set comeback against 2022 playoff participants Bethel University.

A good rival to watch for the Scot’s playoff hopes may be Augsburg University. The Auggies snuck into the playoffs last season in the sixth seed, two games in front of the Scots. They’ve also taken two losses to just one win, a 3-0 contest over College of St. Scholastica — perennially one of the MIAC’s easier opponents.

With a statement win to build off of already in their pocket, and having already gotten matches against two of the MIAC’s toughest customers out of the way, the Scots have already taken some big steps on the way to the playoffs. If they can get hot and hold their stamina through the end of the season, they may find their way into the postseason.



In the MIAC, football’s postseason looks a little different to other competitions. As opposed to a postseason tournament like in the NFL or other MIAC sports, football plays championship week. In championship week, each team plays one game against the equivalent seed from the opposite division — the Northwoods division’s top seed plays the Skyline division’s top seed for first place overall, the second seeds play each other for third, third seeds play for fifth, etc. In 2022, the Scots found themselves in a battle against St. Olaf College for seventh place and emerged victorious.

After two high-scoring wins to open the season, the Scots have cooled off, losing their first two MIAC games. Unfortunately for the Scots, there may not be much solace to draw from those games either. After being propelled by Michael Nadeau ’24 quarterbacking a high-power offense, St. Olaf College became the first opponents this year to keep the Scots from their customary high totals. Against College of St. Scholastica, the Scots were forced to go without Nadeau, and couldn’t muster as much offense as they were used to.

If these Scots hope to find themselves in the top half of the standings come championship week, they need to get back in the heavy hitting offensive rhythm they made their home early in the season and start stringing together wins.


Women’s soccer

After a red-hot start put these Scots at 4-1 (2-0), women’s soccer encountered a dry spell that threatened to kill their momentum. They lost three times in a row, not scoring once in that stretch, dropping two matches to University of Wisconsin system teams, and losing a critical conference game to Concordia College (Minn.) in a year where a crowded field magnifies any lost points. The Scots bounced back, winning two matches in a row, with a home 1-0 win vs Bethel University and a 1-0 win away to St. Olaf leaving them at 6-4 (4-1). 

The 2022 season came down to a dramatic final- day battle between Carleton College and College of St. Benedict, where the Knights emerged with the conference championship after a last second equalizer. St. Catherine University settled for third, but won the playoffs. In that season, St. Kate’s took losses to bottom-table teams which sunk their hopes of the conference title. This year, the Wildcats return much of their team, and are intent on getting it right this time. Opening their conference run at an imperious 5-0, they’ve only conceded one goal so far. Along with the Knights, who return almost all of a young 2022 champion side and have started 4-0-1, the Wildcats figure to be the Scots’ toughest competition. 

These Scots currently sit third in the conference with 12 points, one point off of Carleton and three behind St. Kate’s. In a distant fourth, 2022 runners-up St. Ben’s sit at seven points, having lost to the Scots and to the Wildcats, and having dropped points in a draw to a middling Augsburg University. Below them sit four teams on either five or six points, forming a chaotic midtable scrapping over limited playoff spots.

The Scots still have three home games to play against bottom-table teams, a set of contests which should ideally turn into nine points. In the crowded midfield churn right below the Scots, it seems unlikely for any team to go on a tear. That and a five-point cushion to fourth place mean that the Scots should land in at least the third seed come late October, assuming they take care of business against teams at the back of the field. The championship ambitions of this team won’t have to wait as long to be tested. 

On Oct. 10 and 14, the Scots will face Carleton, then St. Kate’s, both away. Running the gamut of the MIAC’s other top teams, the Scots will need results from these matches, or else be left with stomach-churning reliance on other teams to defeat the Scots’ title rivals. With one or two wins, the Scots instantly become serious contenders for the conference, but with losses, they’ll need to hope that the Knights and Wildcats lose other games in order to stay in it. 

No matter what happens in those matches, the Scots should expect to end up playing home playoff soccer. For their greater ambitions, the toughest tests of this MIAC season now reaching its midpoint are just around the corner.


Men’s soccer

On the national stage, this season is establishing the MIAC as one of the top conferences in men’s soccer. Amongst several competitors, the Scots find themselves in the mix near the top of a chaotic title scrap. 

In a gripping conference battle, six teams crowd the top table: Gustavus Adolphus College, Carleton College, St. Olaf College, St. John’s University, Augsburg University and the Scots themselves.

Sitting in an uncomfortable first place are Carleton, 4-1 in MIAC play. Their win to open MIAC play against then-national no. 10 Gustavus and a 3-0 conference start made it seem like they could run away with the title. They rocketed into seventh in the national polls, but faltered immediately after this recognition, losing at home to St. Olaf, 1-0. The Knights bounced back, defeating College of St. Scholastica, 5-0, putting them at their 12 points.

The Oles are currently putting the most pressure on the Knights. They didn’t receive much buzz in the polls, and their wins against inferior teams in Scholastica and Bethel University were nothing special. Then they beat the leaders to go 3-0 to start conference play, and made themselves instant favorites. They dropped their first points in a draw against the Scots and sit second on the table with 10 points, but with a game in hand on leaders Carleton, they control their destiny.

In St. John’s and Augsburg, two surprise teams also figure into the equation. Neither of them were expected to contend, but their early points hauls make them dark horse possibilities. They haven’t shown much against top sides though, with the Johnnies taking a 5-1 loss to the Scots on opening day, so their stay near the top may be temporary.

In contrast to relative surprises in St. John’s and Augsburg, the Gusties have had easily the most confusing campaign of any team. Returning much of an undefeated 2022 champion, they haven’t been able to get off the runway. They lost to Carleton, then, after a 1-0 win against the Scots, took two draws:, one to Augsburg, and one to bottom-table Hamline University, the latter after having to come from 3-1 down to salvage even one point. A loss on Oct. 3 to another backmarker in St. Mary’s University (Minn.) seems to have ended their chances, but their 2022 pedigree and talented roster mean they can’t be counted out.

The Scots, for their part, have also had their frustrations. The Scots have not been consistently outplayed by any opponent, but largely don’t have the results to show for it. Their loss to Gustavus came from a late lapse, and their draw against Bethel was thanks to a sloppy defensive third giveaway. Against St. Olaf, the Scots more than held their own, but a St. Olaf free kick goal left them only able to draw a game they could certainly have won. These lost points may prove costly at season’s end.

Having already played St. Olaf and fallen four points behind Carleton, the Scots will need the top two squads to drop points if they are to win the conference. For the Scots, the path to a hypothetical MIAC win starts with a win away to Carleton on Oct. 11, a tall task which these Scots have shown themselves to be capable of. Win there, and take care of business against bottom table teams, and these Scots may be champions.

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Noah Riccardi, Sports Editor

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