The Lawrence University men’s soccer team (7-10-1, 5-5-0 MWC) concluded their season on Saturday, Nov. 2, traveling to Lake Forest College to face the top-ranked Foresters (12-6-0, 9-1-0 MWC) in their final Conference game of the year. After holding their daunting opponents to just a 1-0 lead in the first half, the Vikings let in two second-half goals to seal the victory for Lake Forest. This win marks the Foresters’ second Midwest Conference championship in a row and their 16th league title ever.
“We’re a really young team and they’re really experienced,” said junior Stephen Salansky, noting his team’s ongoing struggle with injury, especially upperclassmen injury. “Their team is filled with seniors and players who have been around for a while, and we’ve been starting a lot of freshmen.”
Lake Forest scored the first goal of the game at the six-minute mark to seize the lead early in the first half. They continued to dominate possession and make relentless assaults on the Lawrence goal for the remainder of the half, but failed to widen their advantage.
The Vikings fought hard from the outset of the second half and held off the Foresters for a good portion of the period. Halfway through, however, Lake Forest senior Mahir Mameledzija struck Lawrence’s defense fiercely, scoring at 67:20 and again just over a minute later to bring the score to 3-0. Lawrence’s first shot of the game was fired by freshman Jack Blodgett in the 73rd minute of play, but the Foresters’ defense blocked the attempt. Thirty seconds before the game ended, senior Cooper Sinai-Yunker tried one more shot for the Vikings, but a team save secured the Lake Forest shutout.
Lake Forest edged Lawrence 16-2 in total shots, seven of which were saves credited to freshman goalkeeper Joe Krivit.
“Our defense was working hard the entire game, and they were doing a good job considering they were being attacked the whole time,” said Salansky, referring to Lake Forest’s exhausting, aggressive offense. “They probably outplayed us in almost all aspects of the game, but it was a spirited fight.”
Although the Vikings are hanging up their cleats for the year, they plan on recovering from their numerous injuries, working hard and focusing on the future. “Since we have so many young players, we should be awesome next year,” said Salansky. “I’m really excited for next season.”