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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Women’s soccer wins to keep playoff hopes alive

< falling behind early, the Carleton College women’s soccer team rallied for a crucial 3-1 triumph at St. Catherine University behind the first career hat trick by sophomore Niki Tomita. The victory moved the Knights (8-5-4/5-2-3 MIAC) into a three-way tie for fourth place in the conference standings. Carleton needs a win over crosstown rival St. Olaf College on Saturday to clinch a berth in the MIAC Playoffs.

Since opening the year 1-4-1, the Knights, who are ranked No. 8 in the latest NSCAA regional poll, have gone 7-1-3, with the lone loss coming at Macalester. Carleton was outscored 12-7 during the early-season swoon but has posted a 13-4 goal differential over the last 11 contests.

The Wildcats (6-8-3/2-6-2 MIAC) outshot the Knights 11-9 and had a couple of strong counter attacks early. They capitalized on one such opportunity in the seventh minute as Gina Thorwick slotted the ball into the Carleton net.

“That was definitely a wake up call for us,” said Carleton head coach Keren Gudeman. “We’d been playing well, but we had to re-focus at that point.”

Fortunately for the Knights, Tomita needed less than seven minutes to tally the equalizer. In the 14th minute she got inside the 18-yard box, and beginning the play with her back turned to the goal, turned and delivered a solid strike inside the far post.

In the 25th minute, Tomita pushed Carleton in front, this time shooting high over goalkeeper Bridget Berry.

The Knights carried a one-goal advantage into intermission, but needed netminder Kate Trenerry to make a couple of key second-half stops to maintain the lead.

Tomita final goal came in the 70th minute. She worked the ball along the endline, eluded two defenders, then beat the keeper near post for an insurance goal. She tied the Carleton single-game record and became the first Carleton player to tally three goals in a game since both Nicky Bloom ’09 and Cassie Burke achieved the feat versus Lawrence University on Aug. 29, 2008. Tomita now has a team-best seven goals on the year and has tallied the last five goals for Carleton, including both goals in the 2-1 victory over UW-Eau Claire on Sunday.

“Niki was on fire today; she’s been amazing,” said Gudeman, “but there’s more to it. Our bench players have been contributing some important minutes for us down the stretch. We’ve been pretty solid at both ends of the pitch.”

The three goals matched Carleton’s season high established in a 3-0 victory over Carthage in mid-September.

Knights Online will feature a live video webcast of Saturday’s 1 p.m. battle of Northfield.

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