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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Men’s Soccer Clinches Playoff Berth

<al by Will Schifeling ’15 tied things up late in the second half, and Jordy Cammarota ’15 struck for the Carleton College men’s soccer team in overtime to push them past University of St. Thomas, 2-1, in a crucial late-season road match for the Knights.

The win was not just an emotional one on the pitch, but also very significant in the MIAC standings. Carleton’s win—in addition to St. Olaf’s 1-0 loss to Augsburg—guarantees that the Knights will take home at least a share of second place in the conference standings when the regular season wraps up at the end of this week.

Earlier in the day, Carleton made its season debut in the national poll at No. 23, but early on it appeared that the Knights’ stay in the top 25 would be short lived.

The Tommies grabbed the lead in the 18th minute when Miles Stockman-Willis tallied his MIAC-leading 12th goal of the season. Soon after that tally, which broke a streak of over 270 consecutive minutes in which Carleton had not conceded a goal, a St. Thomas yellow card gifted the Knights a free kick opportunity. Carleton, however, was unable to take advantage as Neil Bartholomay’s ’14 header off the service was deflected over the crossbar. The Knights managed only one more shot over the balance of the half.

During intermission the Knights regrouped, and they controlled the run of play over the second period, holding a 6-2 margin in shots. Unfortunately, they remained behind on the scoreboard until the 79th minute, when Carleton finally broke the Tommies shutout with a clutch goal from Schifeling.

The goal scoring chance started when Nathan Park ’15 won the ball back from a St. Thomas defender and dribbled towards the endline. Park then sent in a curling cross towards Schifeling, who hit a first-time volley that deflected off a Tommie defender and into the bottom right corner, tying the contest. Although Carleton continued to dominate play over the final ten minutes of regular time, the Knights were unable to strike for another goal, and the match headed in to overtime.

Just three days after registering a big win over Concordia in extra time thanks to a Branden McGarrity ’16 goal, the Knights found a way to pull out another thrilling victory. This time, however, it was Cammarota’s time to shine. The Carleton midfielder, who has tallied three goals this season, collected a partial clearance on the right edge of the box and chipped a pass in the direction of McGarrity, who faked as if he was going to make a play on the ball. The St. Thomas goalkeeper bit on the decoy, and as a result Cammarota’s pass/shot rolled over the goal line, lifting the Knights to a 2-1 victory.

“Credit to St. Thomas, who is one of the most talented teams in the MIAC and have some great attacking players that tested our backline,” said Carleton head coach Bob Carlson.

“But this win is a credit to the grit and never-say-die attitude of this entire team. Our leadership from the seniors throughout the match was spectacular, and the performances from Will Schiefeling, Simon Ginet, and Nathan Park in particular from the bench were vital in turning the game around for us in the second half.”

The victory extended the Carleton’s unbeaten streak to 11 matches, the longest active streak among MIAC squads. This was also the Knights seventh straight win over the Tommies, and the third consecutive time they prevailed during overtime in St. Paul.

While Carleton is already guaranteed a playoff spot and at least a share of second place, the squad still has some work to do to ensure that the MIAC Playoffs semifinal match would be hosted at Bell Field.

The Knights travel to play rival St. Olaf in the regular-season finale on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. A win or tie for Carleton would secure the home game in the opening round of the MIAC Playoffs the following Wednesday. A loss would send the Knights back across town to take on the Oles once more.

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