Last year, the Carleton Men’s Soccer team ended an outstanding, MIAC-winning season with a narrow 2-1 defeat against the University of Chicago in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This season, they appear poised for yet another run at the MIAC tournament, which the Knights have not missed since the 2006 season.
To date, their record is set at 8-1. They began the 2019 campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of the Cougars from the University of Minnesota-Morris and continued to defeat Lawrence University by an even greater margin of 6-0. The lone loss of the season thus far came on the road against North Central College on September 6. The match which was closely contested and ultimately decided in overtime. Since then they’ve tallied six straight victories including an impressive 2-1 result over the regionally ranked Central College.
Almost as impressive as their win total are the goals they scored and the goals they prevented. Central College’s goal, which came at the end of the second half, is the only one the Knights have allowed since their September 6 loss. They have yet to concede a goal in conference play, defeating Bethel University and Concordia College by a combined margin of 6-0.
“It has a lot to do with our ace in the hole, Aaron Levi Forman. He is our offense, he is our defensive scheme, he is our fearless leader,” said sophomore defender Henry Koelling. Forman, the junior starting goalkeeper from Los Angeles, leads the team in goals saved, with nine on the year. Still, only having to save nine shots in nine games is indicative of the team’s possession domination thus far.
The Carleton Women’s Soccer team has enjoyed success early on as well. Though they finished last season dropping their final seven games, they have been able to bounce back and start their 2019 campaign 5-2-1. They began the season by tying a tough Pacific Lutheran University in double overtime and have since won multiple matches by huge margins. They defeated Grinnell College 5-1, University of Wisconsin-Stout 5-0 and St. Catherine University 4-0. They’ve already reached their MIAC win total from last year just three games in.
“The underclassmen have had the opportunity to contribute this year and it’s changed the dynamic of the team. We feel like more of a cohesive unit,” Annette Shumway ’22 said. “We’ve changed our formation and it has allowed for our forwards to make more dynamic runs and for our outside midfielders to get more involved in the attack.”
The underclassmen have indeed been performing. Two of the Knights’ top three scorers are freshmen, Cate Patterson and Rainey Tilley. They share seven of the Knights’ 19 goals between the two of them. Patterson had a particularly impressive day against University of Wisconsin-Stout, scoring two goals off of the bench. Tilley, on the other hand, both scored and assisted in their first win of the season against St. Norbert College.
A challenge yet to be seen is how the women will perform when tested by good teams on the road. To this point they’ve only played one away game at St. Catherine University. Though St. Catherine played physically in that contest, they didn’t provide any real resistance as the Knights ran by them 4-0. In the coming weeks they play a brutal schedule, full of road games against highly-ranked MIAC teams. In a two-week span they will face the University of St. Thomas and Augsburg University, both consistent contenders for an NCAA Tournament bid. To close out the season they will visit the College of St. Benedict, another more-than-capable opponent. That game is to be played on November 2. If they can pull out positive results in at least a few of those tough games and continue to beat the teams they’re supposed to, they should be in a good position to appear in the MIAC quarterfinals on November 5.
It is a similar story for the men, who have only tallied three road contests so far. They consisted of the North Central loss and two victories by a combined margin of 9-0. In the coming weeks, the team will be put to the test on the same schedule as the women: on the road against St. Thomas, Augsburg and Saint John’s University. Given their current standing, they have a fantastic chance to re-appear in the MIAC tournament and potentially repeat as MIAC Champions.
If both teams can successfully navigate through the next couple weeks of a tough MIAC schedule, they will be well set up for a great postseason. There is only one thing for certain: both are off to a superb start to their 2019 campaigns.