While St. Olafs 3-5-2 record entering Sunday's contest was not good enough to be considered for the MIAC playoffs (top four teams advance), Carleton had a different outlook. A win for the Knights would ensure a second-place conference finish and home field advantage against Macalester in the first round of the postseason.
St. Olaf, conversely, was looking to defeat their longtime rival for the sole purpose of pride.
After a back-and-forth, evenly-matched first half, Clare O'Conner put the Knights ahead 1-0 for good in the 80th minute. Knights midfielder Sophie Wood served the ball to O'Conner just on top of the penalty area. OConner split a pair of defenders before striking a shot that was just out of the reach of Ole keeper Anna Feigum '07.
Although the Oles were defeated by a strong Knights team, St. Olaf played a match characteristic of quality soccer, in which they kept the opposition on their toes for 90 minutes, creating opportunities for themselves to score while defending well.
"The Carleton game was probably the best game the team played this year," Feigum said. "The game seemed to sum up the season for us. Not being able to finish our scoring chances has killed us the entire season. If you can't score, you can't win."
A key aspect of the season was adapting to six incoming first-years that saw consistent quality minutes, in combination with four experienced seniors.
"I think we did a great job learning quickly how to play with and adapt to each others style," Feigum said. "I think the freshmen did a great job stepping into the collegiate game and helping us be as successful as we were."
First-year head coach Jeremy Driver is excited for the future of the program.
"We were disappointed about not qualifying for the conference tournament, but overall I think the team improved a lot," Driver said. "This season is going to be great to build on. By the end of the season, we were playing great soccer."
The Oles concluded their season with an overall record of 9-7-2 and 3-6-2 in MIAC play.