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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Men’s Soccer ends season in semifinal heartbreak: Augsburg boots Knights from playoffs, 1-0, as team bids farewell to senior stars

<od things must come to an end, but that doesn’t make it any easier when the end does come.
Tuesday night saw the 2010 season conclude for the Carleton men’s soccer team as the Knights fell to Augsburg in the MIAC semifinals, 1-0.

Though the Knights did not win a fourth consecutive MIAC title this fall, many Carleton fans’ last memories of this squad will be good ones, as the Knights defeated rival St. Olaf 3-1 at home in Saturday’s regular season finale.  

Needing a win to ensure a playoff berth, the Knights knew their season was on the line last weekend and that this would, in all likelihood, be their final game at Bell.

There was no doubt which the superior side was, as the Knights dominated possession, generating chances early and often. Tim Wills ’12 got the Knights off to yet another quick start, scoring in the fifth minute for his tenth goal of the season. The pace of the Carleton defense held Olaf at bay, and the first half drew to a close with Carleton on top 1-0.

Shortly after the second half began, Will Corcoran ’14 made a daring run through the box, forcing the Olaf defense to take him down to prevent a goal. Captain Wes Elfman ’11 coolly finished the ensuing penalty kick, giving Carleton a 2-0 lead. A rare defensive miscue resulted in an Olaf goal, but Elfman single-handedly ended any hopes of an Ole comeback, taking a beautiful pass from Ryan Cammarota ’12 and finishing the game 3-1. With the win, the Knights found themselves in the MIAC playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.

Seeded third, the Knights traveled to Augsburg to face the troublesome Auggies. A familiar foe, Augsburg has been one of the few teams to leave Bell with a win in the last few seasons. True to form, Augsburg started off with its usual fast-paced style of play. The teams traded chances before the hosts earned a free kick just outside the 18-yard box. The Auggies swung the ball in, where it was redirected with a smooth flick of the head past a sprawling Pete Semmer ’11.

The Knights fought back, earning several chances that nearly gave Carleton the equalizer. Cammarota nearly beat the Augsburg keeper, who managed to barely nudge the ball over the crossbar. Elfman seemed to be one of the only Carleton attackers who could elude the stifling Auggie defense, generating two dangerous shots. The offensive response from Carleton was not enough, however, and the Auggies managed to escape and end the Knights’ season with a 1-0 win.

The Knights’ 2010 campaign has been nothing short of spectacular. Finishing with a record of 11-7-1 in what some consider the most competitive soccer conference in the country is no small feat, and the Knights have been able to accomplish this due to a well-balanced team. Junior studs such as Wills, Miles Silbert, and Cammarota have helped make this season so successful, and emerging stars such as Corcoran and Neil Bartholomay ’14 have had the privilege of playing under the tutelage of a stellar senior class.

The Carleton seniors have taken the program from one struggling for a winning record to one contending for a spot in the NCAA tournament every year. The effort and performance of Courtney Morris, Semmer, Elfman, Sam McKay, and Troy Samuels has been nothing short of historic. As their final season ends, their careers are strewn with shattered records. They began in 2007 with Carleton’s first MIAC championship in well over 20 years, continuing on to the best performance in men’s soccer history with a ranking of eighth in the country and an NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2008. Not satisfied with just two titles, they helped lead the Knights to a three-peat, leaving the rest of the MIAC behind for a third consecutive banner last season. They’ve finished their careers with an astounding 57-16-7 record (31-5-4 MIAC), and have helped Carleton soccer explode onto the national scene.

Elfman has contributed since his freshman year, adding pace, perfectly placed crosses, and a dangerous shot as both an outside midfielder and striker. Wes ran the offense this year, with the attack’s success hinging on his playmaking abilities. Many have claimed that Elfman’s skills come from his ridiculously tight calves, while others credit his legendary bro point accumulation instead.

McKay has provided a late boost to the defense, supplying a breath of fresh air that helps carry the Knights to the end of the game. With strong, physical play and a terrific ability to spring a counterattack by quickly bringing the ball upfield, he has been invaluable to making the Knights back line the best in the MIAC.

Morris has long been the heart of the Knights defense. He utilizes every inch of his wiry frame to effortlessly strip the ball from even the most skilled opponents. Blessed with ball control almost as spectacular as his facial hair, he has anchored the defense since his freshman year and his leadership will be sorely missed. 

Samuels has been a solid part of the team, with relentless play and unflinching aerial ability. He has shored up the defense and kept the team’s spirits up with his perpetual good humor.

Semmer has been a godsend for Carleton, starting in goal since freshman year and winning at least ten games every season. As good as he is, he strives to get better every year, and it has shown in his play. Semmer’s stats have been sensational over his Carleton career, but he brings elements to the game that cannot be measured by a goals-against-average or a winning percentage. It is these intangibles that make him an incredible captain as well as, truly, a gentleman and a scholar.

These five men have worked tirelessly to create a name for the Carleton men’s soccer team, and over the last four years have been able to see their efforts come to fruition. The numerous championship banners hanging from the rafters in West Gym stand testament to legacy of the class of 2011, the strongest legacy that Carleton soccer may ever see.

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