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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Men’s soccer still undefeated in MIAC

<esilient and spirited Men’s soccer team took a crucial step in its quest to reclaim the MIAC championship with a gritty 1-0 win away at Augsburg College, followed by a hard-fought 2-1 win versus St. Mary’s University. With these two wins, the Knights find themselves tied with Gustavus Adolphus at the top of the MIAC standings.

Saturday’s trip to Augsburg’s Edor Nelson Field had the makings of a memorable MIAC encounter. In addition to the obnoxious home fans and the small turf field, Augsburg came into the game ranked 15th in the nation, with their only loss of the season coming against 7th-ranked Loras College. After two consecutive 6-1 wins, the Knights hoped to extend their unbeaten stretch to six games and remain in the hunt for the MIAC championship. Most importantly, as Carleton and Augsburg were the only undefeated teams left in the conference, the match promised to be exciting.

Right from the kickoff, however, the Knights found themselves on the back foot, defending wave after wave of Augsburg crosses and long balls. Their attacking pressure led to a few good chances that breached the Knights’ defense. Stellar defending from a back line anchored by Neil Bartholomay ’14 and Devin Tomson-Moylan ’15, as well as five saves from goalie James Neher ’14, kept the Auggies scoreless in the first half. Midfielder Jordy Cammarota ’15 also made an impact on defense, racing back in time to clear an Augsburg shot off the line. Despite the pressure, Carleton still managed to generate some offense, including a cross by Ryan Cammarota ’12 that found Miles Silbert ’12. Silbert’s delicate header reached Tim Wills ‘12 inside the box, but Wills’s finish zipped just over the crossbar.

Fortunately, the Knights had a much stronger second half, splitting the Augsburg defense to create more chances. The Cammarota brothers combined to create several dangerous chances, including a long ball from the elder Cammarota that almost resulted in a goal by Jordy.

The game remained deadlocked until the 83rd minute, when Simon Ginet ’14 stripped defending MIAC Player of the Year Chad Gilmer ’13, racing past the oblivious Gilmore to score his first collegiate goal, ruining the Auggies’ hopes of an undefeated MIAC season. Although Augsburg pushed forwards in the final minutes, Neher and the Knights’ defense repelled every Augsburg chance. As the final whistle blew, an exuberant Carleton team celebrated their monumental achievement, which included the first home defeat for the Auggies since 2009, when the Auggies lost to the Knights, 2-1.

The hangover from the victory over Augsburg was apparent in the beginning of the game versus St. Mary’s, as the wet field led to a lot of sloppy passing and a somewhat lackluster opening thirty minutes for the Knights. The Knights closed the first half with much more attacking play, but were unable to find the opening goal. Still, the Knights maintained a 10-4 shot advantage after the first half, and an 8-1 advantage on corner kicks.

It took the Knights eight minutes after the restart to get the lead, as Miles Silbert dribbled down the sideline, shrugged off his defender, and crossed the ball to an oncoming Tim Wills, who slotted his shot under the St. Mary’s keeper. But the Knights were unable to find the elusive second goal, which fired up the Cardinals and led to an equalizer from Jacob Bina ’13. The game went into overtime, and it was not until the 100th minute when the senior leadership of Wills and Ryan Cammarota combined to kill the game. Cammarota played a through ball to a streaking Wills, who blasted his shot off of the St. Mary’s keeper and into the back of the net, notching his seventh goal of the season.

The pursuit for a fourth MIAC championship in the program’s history continues this Saturday, as the Knights face Hamline University on Bell Field at 1 pm. Following the Hamline game, the Knights will welcome soccer alums young and old in the annual Alumni game, which will begin immediately following the end of the Hamline match.

The Knights are back in action next Tuesday, as they face Ripon College in a non-conference contest. Tuesday’s match, the final regular season home game of the season, begins at 3:30 pm.

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