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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Women’s Soccer falls in final, still headed to NCAAs: Knights lose championship thriller on PKs, play in first round of national tournament tonight

<rleton women’s soccer team remains unbeaten in its last 15 games and has moved up to No. 15 in the nation, the Knights narrowly missed winning another MIAC Championship on Saturday, surrendering the title to Concordia on penalty kicks in the conference final. The match was well attended by a mob of Knights supporters who backed their team all the way through double overtime and the dramatic shootout.

“Everyone was pumped up for the game,” Carleton keeper Kate Trenerry ’11 said of her squad. “A lot of us have played in MIAC championships before, but this was even more exciting because we were playing Concordia- we’ve become serious rivals over the last few seasons.”

The Knights started the game strong out-shooting the Cobbers 9-1 in the first 20 minutes but had could not capitalize on an opportunity. After a blocked shot in their attacking half, the Knights got caught on a counter-attack as Concordia booted a long ball in behind the defensive line. A speedy forward tracked it down and slipped it into the goal to go up 1-0. This marked only the second time all season that the Knights trailed in a conference game.

In attempt to run out the game clock, the Cobbers played very slowly, taking their time on throw-ins and making many substitutions. But the Knights would not let this leisurely style disrupt their focus and they pressed even harder with dangerous shots coming from Layne Teska ’14, Lily VanderStaay ’12 and Marlena Hartman-Filson ‘13.

With 10 minutes left in the game, head coach Keren Gudeman made a risky tactical change, exchanging a center back for a third forward. While this move made the defense more vulnerable, it gave the offense an extra boost of momentum. This was exactly what the Knights needed.

Less than two minutes remained before the Cobbers would claim victory when the Carleton bench began to chant “We Believe.” As if in direct response, Cassie Burke ’12 received a short pass from Niki Tomita ’12 and chipped it to Hartman-Filson, who was posted at the weak-side six-yard box. With sheer determination, the “Dutch Dream” battled with her defender for the bouncing ball and popped it over the keeper and into the far post netting.

Players, coaches and fans alike erupted with cheers. Everybody was instantly on their feet as the crowd’s unified voice of celebration reverberated around Bell and the entire Arb theater. Once again, Carleton produced a goal when one was desperately needed and this one forced the distressed Cobbers into overtime.

Despite this miraculous goal, the following sudden death periods remained scoreless so the next tiebreaker was a shootout. The fans eagerly migrated down Bell Hill to get a better view of the impending showdown.

Penalty kicks are the most elementary yet difficult reduction of the beautiful game: players pour their sweat, tears and blood into 110 minutes of primal collaborative aggression, only to allow the result to ride on a series of one-on-one individual battles.

Hartman-Filson and Tomita both successfully buried their shots for the Knights to begin, while Trenerry stood guard in front the net.

“Going into the shootout, I was in a totally different world than, I think, everyone else at Bell,” Trenerry explained. “I sort of noticed the fans coming right up to the [side]line, but I pretty much zoned out the noise and excitement. I was nervous, but pretty confident that I could make a positive contribution for our team in the shootout.”

And that she did. The senior keeper, alias Polar Bear, consistently made stellar gravity-defying dives, always in the correct direction and came up with a save to put Carleton ahead in the count, 2-1. But in a tragic change of fate, the Knights dropped behind the Cobbers and fell at a final margin of 4-2. Because the game went to a shootout, however, the result goes down as a tie for both teams.

In total, Carleton out-shot their opponent by a 26-13 margin and coped with 13 more fouls being committed by the physical Concordia squad. While not the day for a picture-perfect come from behind victory, these Golden Goddesses held their heads high and left the field knowing in their hearts who was the better team.

Proof of the Knights’ stellar season came on Wednesday, when four of its players were named to the All-MIAC first team and Gudeman earned Coach of the Year honors. Leading the way was Tomita, who was named MIAC Player of the Year by the conference’s coaches. Joining her in all-conference distinction were Leigh-Anne Borkowski ‘11, Hartman-Filson, and Abby Wills ‘12. VanderStaay was an honorable mention pick.

The Knights story does not end here, however. While not receiving an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, this 2010 season is the first time in Carleton women’s soccer history that the Knights were admitted to the tournament with an “at large bid”— an invitation based on many variables including overall record and strength of schedule.

Their first round game of the 63-team tournament is tonight at 7:00 pm vs. No. 18 Augustana College (Ill.) at the Wheaton College campus. The Knights made the long road trip down to Illinois Thursday morning, where they will continue to represent the Maize and Blue, now on the national stage. A broadcast of tonight’s game will be available from Knights Online (

“Our team has come together so well, in many ways,” said Gudeman. “This group has strong bonds, on and off of the field, and everyone takes pride in how we play and who we are for each other. The coaching staff loves the commitment level and dedication of this group, and we are impressed by the team’s hard work and support of each other. I think that some of our best soccer is yet to come, which is exciting.”

-Erin Wilson is a member of the women’s soccer team.

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