St. Olaf lost to Carleton on Saturday 2-1, which left them in fourth place, setting up the head-to-head match-up with the top-seeded Knights again on Wednesday.
The Oles dominated the playoff game at Carleton with a strong defensive effort and an aggressive offense. Swenson and Mark Zietlow '09 kept the ball close to the goal, forcing Carleton's goalkeeper to make four crucial saves. Ole goalkeeper Kevin Friede '09 also made two clutch saves, including a game-preserver with 35 seconds remaining to maintain Olaf's lead.
As usual, defender Bobby Anderson '08 kept the ball away from the St. Olaf goal with seemingly-effortless defense. Most of the game was played near Carleton's goalposts, the comfort zone for forwards like Scott Crider '10 and Nathan Langholz '08.
Langholz and midfielder John Zietlow '11 both took shots that barely missed the Carleton net, thwarted by their goalkeeper and an aggressive defense. In all, St. Olaf had 10 shots (five on goal) to Carleton's three.
In winning on Wednesday, the Oles made up for their close loss last Saturday against the Knights. In that game, Karl Gleason '08's late goal, assisted by John Zietlow '11, was not enough to overcome Carleton's two earlier goals. The Knights scored twice within two minutes, the second after a confusing interchange near the St. Olaf goal that distracted Friede from his post.
St. Olaf had seven shots on goal in that game, compared to only three from Carleton. The team never lost focus or intensity, even when it appeared Carleton would shut them out. Gleason's scoring shot sailed past several Carleton defenders before it bypassed the goalkeeper, bringing the score to 2-1 minutes before the end of the game.
In the regular season, St. Olaf lost to all three playoff teams Carleton, St. Thomas, and Gustavus Adolphus by one goal.
St. Olaf became the second straight fourth seed to take down the MIAC's regular season championship. Last year, Hamline upset St. John's, also by a score of 1-0.
Carleton, which went undefeated in regular season MIAC play to take home the league title, still has a shot to make the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid.
The Oles (11-8-0) will play at Gustavus in the MIAC championship game on Saturday at 1 p.m. Gustavus beat second-seeded St. Thomas 2-1 in the other semifinal.