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ISSUE 116 VOL 7 PUBLISHED 11/1/2002

Fast play on turf assists men

By Meredith Fahrner
Staff Writer

Friday, November 1, 2002

The men’s soccer team suffered a 2-1 loss last Tuesday to St. Mary’s University. St. Mary’s scored with 25 minutes left in the first half. The team managed to sandwich a goal over Ole goalie Kyle Trimble’s head for a St. Mary’s goal. St. Mary’s second ogal came with 30 minutes left in the game off a shot from the far post. St. Olaf’s goal came with 20 minutes left in the game after Chris Gangl ‘04 cleared a corner kick to Tobi Gopon ‘04 who was waiting in front of the goal to sink the shot. The men’s soccer team traveled to the Twin Cities Nov. and secured a 3-1 victory against Augsburg College. Ben Clymer ‘03 and Kyle Sheldon ‘03 each scored one goal. Midfielder Brian Lande ‘04 also scored for the Oles. The team didn’t know quite what to expect going into the game. According to Chris Thelen ‘05, “Augsburg has had a really erratic season,” making it difficult to gauge the level of competition beforehand.

The men prepared for this game in usual fashion, Dave Pelka ’03 explained, “by blasting our jambox in the locker room. It helps us get focused and stay relaxed”. The biggest difference between this game and others the Oles play was the field surface. The Augsburg soccer field is made of astroturf, not the usual grass. Pelka and Thelen agree that this makes the game more difficult because “the game is a lot faster”. While grass absorbs much of the ball’s energy, slowing it down, playing on astroturf is “like playing on carpet”, which absorbs almost no energy. This makes the ball bounce higher and travel at a higher speed. Astoturf also requires more passing accuracy; if the ball is not aimed accurately, the ball’s speed makes it almost impossible to catch before it goes out of bounds. Also, Pelka noted it is “more difficult to settle the ball” with an astroturf field. The Oles, however, did not let these obstacles affect their performance. Pelka thought everyone “worked extremely well together on Tuesday. We capitalized on their weaknesses” and secured another St. Olaf victory. A current topic of debate in the Conference is the absence of an end-of-season MIAC tournament. While most sports have a MIAC tournament, the men’s soccer has lacked one in the recent past and will not have one this season, either.

Instead of having a separate tournament tacked on at the end of the regular season, the MIAC Champion team is determined by game performances throughout the season. The team with the best season record is named champion. Currently, the Oles are ranked fifth overall. Gustavus Adolphus College is undefeated in the MIAC and Macalester has only lost one game. The University of St. Thomas and St. John’s University are ranked third and fourth, respectively. Overall, Pelka and Thelen are both happy with the team’s performance this fall. Thelen said the team has had some “close games that definitely could’ve been won, but our depth this year is unbelievable. We’re having a great season”. This Saturday the team takes on the Carls for their final game of the season.

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