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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Women’s soccer advances to 2nd round of NCAA’s

<e have been some magical happenings on Bell Field this past week for Carleton women’s soccer. Last Saturday, the Knights faced Concordia in the MIAC Playoffs Championship game. There was a lot on the line, as the winning team received not only the prestige of being the best in the conference, but also an automatic bid to the NCAA National Championship tournament.

The Knights had seen Concordia in the championship game once before, losing to them in penalty kicks in 2006.In the past three years, Carleton had never beaten Concordia, only tying them once. However, Saturday was destined to be different, with Cassie Burke ‘12 heading in a cross by Nicky Bloom ’08 in only the third minute of the game. Senior captain Bloom didn’t stop there, though. It took just six minutes more for her to get a goal of her own, off a cross by Mia Zutz ’10.

Halftime came with the Knights at a 2-0 advantage. Temperatures continued to drop in the second half, but the Knights plowed on, continuing to dominate play and outshoot Concordia.Thanks to yet another goal by Bloom, the Knights were able to put away the Cobbers 3-0. This is the first MIAC Championship and the first bid to the NCAA tournament in the history of Carleton women’s soccer. Such decisive 3-0 victories in both the MIAC semifinal and championship game is almost unheard of and only goes to show what a special thing the women’s soccer team has going this year.

Luck continued to be on the Knight’s side, with the NCAA allowing Carleton to host their first game in the NCCA postseason tournament. On Thursday, the College of St. Scholastica traveled three hours to attempt to challenge Carleton for the right to move into the second round of the tournament. The Knights weren’t ready to stop their winning streak, though, and came out with the same energy and determination that has become their norm in the past few weeks.

Six minutes into the game, center midfielder Merritt Swain ’11 put away a beautiful goal from just outside the eighteen. The Knights put constant pressure on St. Scholastica’s defense for the rest of the half, but ultimately went into halftime with a mere 1-0 lead. Occasional rain showers made for slippery, slightly risky playing conditions for the Knights. Not wanting to take any chances, Bloom dribbled past a defender and the St. Scholastica goalie to put away a second goal for Carleton in the 78th minute.To further insure a victory, Carleton’s defense once again gave away no corner kicks and allowed only two shots on goal.

The Knights were able to walk away with a secure 2-0 victory, sending St. Scholastica back to Duluth and earning a free trip to Tacoma, Washington for themselves. Carleton’s season will continue for at least one more game, as they are set to battle the University of Puget Sound in the second round of the NCAA tournament this Sunday.

Sadly, the Knights are finished playing on beautiful Bell Field for this season. Thank you to all the fans that have consistently come out to every home game. You have helped secure a home record of 14-1 this year. Encourage any alums or family in Seattle to come support the team at Puget Sound this Sunday at 1:00 p.m..

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