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ISSUE 118 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/8/2004

Men sidestep Johnnies

By Anna Harrison
Staff Writer
and Julia Midthun
Staff Writer

Friday, October 8, 2004

The St. Olaf mens soccer team (3-1-1) was harried 2-1 by Bethel Tuesday, Sept. 28, causing them to fall from first to third place in the MIAC conference. However, the team quickly rebounded from their disappointment at Bethel to defeat St. Johns 2-0 Saturday at Rolf Mellby Field.

In a physical game, the Oles exhibited strength and demonstrated their defensive prowess through a scoreless first half, once again confirming the effectiveness of head coach Kurt Andersons new defensive scheme.

Finally, in the 57th minute of the game, Faiz Abdirahman 06 scored an unassisted goal from 18 yards out. Abdirahman collected the ball in the middle of the defensive zone, quickly turning and firing a hard shot into the upper left corner of the goal.

Energized by their lead, the Oles nearly capitalized upon another scoring opportunity 30 seconds later. The Oles advanced the ball left side of the pitch, and after a sharp crossing pass to the middle, Abdirahman sliced a quick shot which sailed wide of the right post.

The rest of the game was all St. Olaf, as Erik Haalas 05 raised the St. Olaf lead to 2-0 in the games 82nd minute. Abdirahman and Gabe Herrick 07 assisted on the goal. Overall the Oles had 15 shots, including six combined shots on goal by Abdirahman, Haalas and Karl Gleason 08.

The St. Olaf defense was strong, allowing only five shots the entire game. They used their heads  pun intended  to clear out incoming cross passes and maintain control of the critical middle defensive area. This, combined with senior goalkeeper Kyle Trimbles three saves, minimized St. Johns scoring opportunities.

Saturdays match-up between the Oles and the Johnnies was especially intense, as two St. Olaf players received yellow cards. The two teams received 11 fouls apiece and the clock was stopped twice when St. Olaf players were injured on the field.

Captain Trevor Davies 05 said that intensity was the key to Saturdays game. Fellow captain Matt Osborne 05 lauded the great individual efforts turned in by each Ole player on the field.

The win gives the Oles seven points in the MIAC standings and a tie with Macalester for second place, leaving them two points behind conference-leading Gustavus.

Davies has confidence in his teams future success, expressing high expectations for the remainder of the season. The team is considered a legitimate contender for the MIAC title, a defensible label considering the teams success thus far against top MIAC foes.

We came out to play this week, Davies said. If we come out like this we can beat any team in the conference.

Although the team has struggled somewhat by not playing to their potential in every game, the team is clearly capable of capturing the MIAC crown.

The men will once again defend their home turf when Macalester makes the trek to Northfield. The game is set to start at 1 p.m.

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