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ISSUE 119 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/7/2005

Men head down home stretch

By Matt Tiano
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 7, 2005

The St. Olaf men's soccer team again fell short against key conference opponent Gustavus on Saturday in St. Peter, losing 2-0. The loss placed the Oles at 3-2 in the MIAC and 5-6 overall. Coming off a 4-1 home victory versus Bethel last Thursday (in which the Oles scored four unanswered goals to secure the win), St. Olaf head coach Kurt Anderson felt it a necessity to compete well and show some consistency against a very good Gustavus squad.

"“We needed to play well, and we did for the most part,”" Anderson said. “"A few things just didn'’t go the way we would have hoped. We need to focus on being more consistent. It is not a question of whether we have the ability."”

Consistency has been a problem for the Oles this season. Scoring opportunities have been abundant, but finishing and putting the ball in the back of the net has been difficult. The Oles outshot the Gusties 12-10, similar to the numbers put up during last week’'s 1-0 loss to Luther, in which the Oles outshot the Norse 16-8.

“"There are two parts to scoring. First, you must create opportunities and put yourself in a position to score. We are doing that just fine," Anderson said. “"The second part is finishing, and this is what we need to work on. It'’s not going to come every time, and the guys know that. We just need to create some kind of consistency in which we can get the big goal when we need it.”"

The remaining schedule for the Oles is a tough one, comprised of MIAC foes St. Mary'’s University, Macalester College, Hamline University and the University of St. Thomas. The Oles will also face a real test with the University of California-Santa Cruz, who are traveling to the Midwest region to face St. Olaf and Gustavus. The Slugs are currently 8-0-1, ranked number one regionally and number four nationally.

The combined record of the Oles'’ remaining opponents is 39-16-3. Coach Anderson knows that the schedule indicates a tough road, but he is confident that his players will still compete for the conference title.

“"We have to take one game at a time. The guys are excited to play Santa Cruz because they want another shot at them after they lost a tight one last year," Anderson said. "But, we need to first focus on Saint Mary’s, and figure out how we can use that Santa Cruz game to prepare us for the rest of the conference schedule. That needs to be our primary focus.”"

Anderson thinks that his squad is very much in the thick of the conference race.

"“The attitude of the guys right now is very good. They are fun to coach because they genuinely like each other,”" Anderson said. “"There is a good mixture of classes and personalities on the team, so that definitely helps balance things on and off the field.”"

Looking ahead, the Oles compete in their annual Alumni Game this Saturday and then take on Santa Cruz at home on Oct. 16.

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