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ISSUE 117 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/10/2003

Soccer shooting for high goals

By Julie Gunderson
Sports Editor

Friday, October 10, 2003

The St. Olaf women's soccer team emerged unbeaten from last weekend's two-game homestand.

However, the team did have to settle for a 1-1 tie to conference rival St. Ben's.

"We played tough," Erica Gruner '06 said of the Saturday tie. "We knew that we had the talent to beat them, we just couldn't pull it off."

The Oles claimed a 5-4 overtime victory against Simpson college on Sunday when Kaia Knutson '06 scored the game-winning goal in the 91st minute.

The exhaustion of playing back-to-back contests however didn't faze the upbeat squad.

"Playing two 90-minute games back-to-back, with both going into overtime, was pretty intense but we stayed strong as a team and kept fighting until the end," Erin Albers '04 said.

The Oles are now 3-1-1 in MIAC play and 6-5-1 overall as they prepare to take on Macalester this Saturday in what could be a pivotal game in deciding both teams chances for postseason play.

If a trip to the postseason is in their future, the girls realize their commetment to teamwork will have been the determining factor.

"We have good chemistry which transfers to the games and helps us play well together," Liz Tanner '07 said.

Entering this weekend's game, the squad currently sits tied for sixth place in the conference, and needs at least a fourth place finish in order to qualify for the MIAC tournament and a chance to compete for a national tournament berth.

"It's our ultimate goal," Gruner said. "We have improved with each game that we have played. We are now communicating better, passing better, and finishing much better. If we can continue to do these things we will be right there near the top at the end of the season."

As the team comes down the stretch in the last month of MIAC play they'll have to finish the season with four games on the road, something that could prove to be a challenge considering the team has a 2-4 record away from home this season.

This sub-par road record doesn’t seem to bother the women as they set their sights on improving their play for upcoming games.

"We're friends on and off the field," Gruner said. "Although we struggled in the beginning of the season, we've gotten past that and are now able to talk with each other an to figure out as a team what we want our goals to be. Every game we are encouraging and pushing each other to work our hardest, because we know that’s what it’s going to take.”

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