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ISSUE 119 VOL 1 PUBLISHED 9/16/2005

Men look to defend title

By David Henke
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 16, 2005

Fresh off their MIAC title a year ago, the St. Olaf men’s soccer team appears well on their way to a second consecutive conference crown as they opened their 2005 season with a 3-1 record.

After defeating Luther College 2-1 and Northwestern College 1-0 earlier this season, the St. Olaf men’s varsity soccer team fell short of a third win last Sunday against the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans, losing 3-1. However, the Oles rebounded Wednesday by defeating conference foe Augsburg 2-0.

The Titans first strike against the Oles occurred in the first half, when Nick Shebesta scored midway through the 17th minute mark after a brief scramble in front of the net. Shebesta followed up his first goal with a second unassisted goal roughly 3 minutes later.

Firing back for the Oles, Grant Collins ’06 retaliated with a goal at the 24-minute mark – a 25-yard freekick that deflected off an Oshkosh player into the corner of the opponent’s net. Collin’s goal gave the St. Olaf men momentum to rack up six shots but no goals over the course of the second half.

“We came out with quite a bit of intensity in the second half; there was some good combination play,” Collins said. “We have a really deep team, so we were able to use all our players.”

Despite the comeback from the Oles, Oshkosh was able to expand their lead when Shaun Gallagher scored in the 59th minute of the game. The game ended with St. Olaf trailing 3-1.

Roughly 125 people showed up to watch the noon match under blistering 90 degree temperatures. The heat and humidity of the midday game wore down both teams.

“We’re a fit team, but it was a very hot game,” said Brandon McCafferty ‘08.

In spite of the defeat, the Oles had high hopes for their 3 p.m. conference match against Augsburg on Rolf Mellby Field on Wednesday.

“I think we’ve got a good foundation for the conference games,” McCafferty said.

Sophomore goalkeeper Eric Smith agrees. “We definitely feel that this season has been equally as good as or better than last year,” Smith said. “Everything is looking pretty positive.”

The match against Augsburg marked the beginning of the Oles conference season, as well as their home opener.

St. Olaf drew first blood in the match when Jacob Meyer scored a first half goal off an assist from Faiz Abdirahman. The score remained 1-0 for most of the match, until Jacob Olson netted a second half goal to seal St. Olaf’s victory Brandon McCafferty netted the assist. St. Olaf finished the match with 19 shots, reflective of their powerful offensive effort.

The Oles played equally well on defense, holding Augsburg to only seven shots. St. Olaf net keeper Eric Smith saved 3 of those shots, posting his second shutout win in only three starts this season.

St. Olaf will next face off with St. John’s University this Saturday in Collegeville, Minn. at 4 p.m.

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