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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Men’s Soccer Adds Three More Victories

<ccer team continued their impressive start to the season, increasing their overall record to 8-1, with two home victories against Concordia College and Nebraska Wesleyan and an away win at Macalester.

Despite a sub-par performance by the Knights on Saturday, Simon Ginet ’14 scored and assisted to lift the Knights to their first conference win this campaign, while Branden McGarrity’s two goal haul against Nebraska Wesleyan increased his goal tally this season to eleven, which moves the first year into a tie for fourth place on Carleton’s single-season scoring list.

Going into the weekend ranked 23rd in the nation in the latest NSCAA poll, Carleton knew that a win against Concordia was not only necessary to maintain their status in the national rankings, but a second loss to a MIAC opponent would make a return to the MIAC playoffs extremely difficult.

The start to the match was very cagey, with the Knights unable to break down the Cobbers’ defensive approach to the match. However, Carleton struck the opening blow in the 24th minute. Will Corcoran ’14 received the ball from midfield and began dribbling right at the Cobbers’ defense before playing in Ginet, who benefited from a miscued clearance to curl a shot into the side netting to score his fifth goal of the season.

The Cobbers, despite their defensive approach, found an equalizer with eight minutes left in the first half, as Kristian Reiersgord ’14 scored a typical poacher’s goal, taking advantage of a mishandled cross inside the six-yard box to give the Cobbers an unlikely tying goal. The Knights had the chance to go ahead going into halftime, as Will Schifeling ’15 was fouled inside the box to give the Knights a penalty kick, but McGarrity’s penalty was saved by Concordia goalie Peter Runquist ’14 to keep the game knotted at one going into halftime.

McGarrity was not deterred, despite his penalty miss and Ginet combined to give the Knights a deserved lead. Alex Voorhees ’13 hit a perfectly weighted pass through a pair of Concordia defenders to a streaking Ginet inside the box, who had time to turn and pick out McGarrity at the top of the six-yard box. McGarrity sidestepped a defender and had enough time to slide the ball past Runquist inside the near post to give Carleton the one-goal advantage yet again.

The Knights, despite outshooting the Cobbers by a 14-1 margin in the second half, were unable to add to their lead, but the defense held firm for the rest of the match to preserve the victory.

The Knights were back in action the next day, with non-conference opponent Nebraska Wesleyan coming to Bell Field looking to hand the Knights their second loss of the season. But the Knights wasted no time in getting the early lead, with McGarrity getting the game’s opening tally. McGarrity received the ball just past midfield, and neatly slipped in Derek Funk ’13, who surged towards the byline beyond the Prairie Wolves defense before sending a cross back to McGarrity inside the box. The first year smashed his shot into the side netting to give Carleton an early 1-0 lead. The lead was doubled twelve minutes later, as Ginet crossed back to Nathan Park ’15, who ripped a shot from the edge of the box that deflected off a Prairie Wolf defender and into the back of the net.

The Knights’ offensive barrage continued in the 32nd minute, as a looping cross from Shant Douzdjian ’15 found Funk at the far post. Funk played a low, driven ball back towards the middle of the goal mouth and Corcoran reacted quickly to slip the ball inside the near post to give the Knights a three goal advantage going into halftime.

The fourth goal came twelve minutes into the second half, as Devin Tomson-Moylan ’15 did extremely well to intercept a Nebraska Wesleyan long ball and send a driven ball behind the defense to a streaking McGarrity, who coolly finished past an onrushing goalkeeper to score his second of the game and his eleventh of the season.

The Knights maintained their offensive strategy throughout, posting a 17-7 advantage in shots while outshooting the Prairie Wolves by an 8-1 margin in the second half. Keenan Smith ’15 made his third start of the season in goal for the Knights, and recorded his second shutout of the season.

The Knights continued this week with two crucial games against MIAC opponents, with two wins needed in order to catch up to teams at the top of the MIAC table. The Knights headed to St. Paul on Wednesday night to take on Macalester College, a school that has been notoriously difficult to play. The Knights haven’t won at Macalester Stadium since 2006, so Wednesday’s 2-1 victory proved to be a massive boost for Carleton’s MIAC ambitions.

Saturday will be another massive test in the Knights’ journey to win as MIAC champions, as Carleton will face Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter at 1 PM. The Knights and Gusties faced each other twice last year, with the regular season game finishing in a scoreless draw, while Carleton won a MIAC playoff semi-final matchup 1-0 courtesy of a headed goal by Tim Wills ‘12. The Gusties currently top the MIAC standings, and will be a good benchmark to test whether the Knights are indeed ready to repeat as MIAC champions.

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