by Hannah Haegele
Assistant Sports Editor
The University of Northwestern – Saint Paul women’s soccer team completed its season, while the men’s team is the number two seed going into the playoffs.
The women started the second half of the season with three home games against Saint Scholastica, Northland College and Bethel on Oct. 18, 19 and 22.
A tough test came from Saint Scholastica, a top team in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. The Eagles lost that game 1-9.
“It has been a little bit of a frustrating season. We have a very young team this year with 12 freshman, so basically 50/50 with new players and returners. It has definitely taken awhile to get used to this and playing as a team with unity,” said senior Lindsay Halvorson.
When they faced off against Northland, the UNW women had erased their previous defeat from thought and were prepared to give full effort in an attempt to get a conference win. After regulation, the score was tied 2-2 and headed into overtime. Jordan Skarin scored in the ninety-forth minute of play, her second goal of the day, to give the Eagles a victory.
The third home game in a row was against rival Bethel. The Royals played fundamental defense, which shut down any attacks from Eagle players. UNW fell to Bethel by a score of 0-3.
The following weekend, Oct. 25 and 26, the Eagles faced off against Bethany Lutheran and Martin Luther College. Bethany Lutheran took advantage of a low scoring game winning 1-0 against the Eagles, and Martin Luther overpowered the Eagles to a 5-3 win despite two goals from freshman Jordan Skarin and one goal from senior Jenna Powers.
“Friday we played very well as a team, stringing passes together and dominating offensively, but we just couldn’t finish it. Saturday we had a strong second half where we notched 2 goals in and were pressuring them offensively. Unfortunately the end result wasn’t what we were looking for,” said Halvorson.
In the last home game this season, the team faced the University of Jamestown. The Eagles desperately needed a spark to ignite some wins in order to make a case for a playoff berth. However, they lost 0-3 to Jamestown.
Despite the scores, Halvorson and the whole team kept a positive attitude. “Win or lose, it has been a fun season, and we have definitely learned a lot through it.”
The Eagles had a slight chance of making it into playoffs if they could pull out a win against the University of Minnesota Morris, but the game ended up being the last of the season. UNW was shut out and suffered a 0-2 loss.
The UNW men’s team has been getting some crucial wins.
In two big conference home games, Oct. 18 and 19, the Eagles had results on totally opposite ends of the spectrum. The team was up against tough defensive pressure from the St. Scholastica Saints and failed to get many shots on goal. The game ended in a 0-4 loss for UNW.
Against Northland, the team flipped the scoreboard in its favor, winning 3-0. The scoring for the Eagles was nicely spread out with Joshua Fryc, Josh Wright and Sean Taylor each scoring a goal.
Eric Fast reflected, “The past few games we haven’t been playing with the potential level we are able to, but we still manage to get the results. Josh Fryc and Sean Taylor are really making the difference when the result is needed and being great leaders.”
The team then traveled to play against Bethany Lutheran and Martin Luther on Oct. 25 and 26. These two games would prove pivotal for the rank the team would get heading into playoffs, making the games must-wins.
The game against Bethany Lutheran came with a lot of twists and a dramatic finish. The Eagles jumped to an early lead with two goals, but late in the game, Bethany Lutheran scored two goals in only 45 seconds to match the Eagles. From that point on the game went into overtime, where Joshua Fryc scored the game-clinching goal to win the game 3-2.
UNW had one win down but needed to finish out the weekend with a win against Martin Luther. The Eagles came up with a 2-0 win.
“This has been a good year for the team, and I am really looking forward to playoffs and to win conference,” said Sean Taylor.
Goalie Shane Coleman said, “I believe the team has shown a great deal of unity off the field, which hasn’t been true in past seasons. We are all hoping for home-field advantage in playoffs because we notice a difference in the team when our student body comes to our games in force.” Coleman gave some predictions for what lies ahead for this team. “I believe this team can come home with the championship this year; we just need to find that fire within ourselves to get the result on the field.”
In a key match up against University of Minnesota Morris on Saturday, Nov. 2, the Eagles were looking to win or tie to secure themselves the number two seed in playoffs. Joshua Wolderich scored first for the Eagles, giving UNW a 1-0 lead. As the game went on, it looked as though the lead would be safe due to strong defense by the Eagles, but at the 75 minute mark, UMM tied it.
The game then went into not just one overtime, but two. Finally, after neither team could find a way to win, the game ended in a 1-1 tie. Although the score was a tie, the Eagles came out victorious because a tie gave them the number two seed in playoffs, which was their ultimate goal.