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ISSUE 118 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/24/2004

No score in Mudville

By Julia Midthun
Contributing Writer
and Anna Harrison
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 24, 2004

Playing through a cold rain at Mellby Field, the St. Olaf mens soccer team opened their conference season last Wednesday with a 0-0 tie against Gustavus. The Oles had numerous scoring opportunities late in the game and in the two overtime sessions, most notably a hard shot on goal by Mustafa Duahleh 06 on a pass from Abel Bromley 05 in the first overtime session.

However, all offensive efforts were futile. Goalkeeper Kyle Trimble 05 turned in a great performance in net, keeping the potent Gustie offense at bay. Trimbles signature moment came at the end of the second overtime, as he deflected a hard shot over the crossbar to force a corner kick. Plagued by inconsistent play in their previous match, the Oles emphasized playing excellent soccer for the entirety of the contest.

We really want to focus on how we play, and not on the scoreboard, head coach Kurt Anderson said before the game. Wed like to see an improvement from our last game.

Despite a seemingly ineffective offensive effort, the teams performance was indicative of the substantial progress they have made since last weeks 2-1 loss to Lawrence College.

As the season progresses, the team expects its relative lack of experience to fade. Five Oles made their varsity debuts during Wednesdays game, and the team is currently settling into a new defensive system.

For the time being, these changes in the defensive scheme seem effective. Gustavus maintained possession of the ball for the majority of the match, but the Ole defense held fast through both the regulation and overtime periods, effectively deterring several Gustie offensive rushes.

The Ole offense also outshot Gustavus 12-10, a tribute to the strong transitions Ole players made from defense to offense. The Ole offense, led by Faiz Abdirahman 06 and his four shots on goal, continually challenged the Gustie defense, though to no avail.

Ole players were generally pleased with their performance, hopeful that their tie against an annual MIAC powerhouse is a sign of things to come.

The Gusties have not lost a conference game since their previous double overtime meeting with St. Olaf, a 1-0 Ole victory on Sept. 17 of last year. They placed second in the MIAC conference during the 2003 season and are currently on a 22 game unbeaten streak.

[This game] sends a message that were ready to come out this year and play, captain Matt Osborne 05 said. [It] was good to [tie] a team of such high caliber.

As the season continues, the Oles are working on maturing as a team and playing to their full potential. Fueled by a home field loss to Carleton which cost them a spot in last years playoffs, St. Olaf is particularly motivated to reach the conference tournament this year.

Strong leadership from Osborne and fellow captain Trevor Davies 07 will help the Oles pursue those goals.

We try to lead by example, Osborne said. We bring a hard work ethic to the field everyday and let that catch on to the players.

The Oles also earned their first conference victory of the season on Tuesday, beating Concordia-Moorhead by a score of 1-0.

In emphasizing teamwork, consistency, leadership and by possessing uncommon roster depth, the Oles have set their sights on a conference title.

Last Wednesday they earned their first point in the MIAC standings; look for many more to follow.

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