Men’s soccer barely misses postseason

Kyle Dallman

Riding a three-game winning streak in which no goals against LU were allowed – a time span of 270-plus minutes during which opponents couldn’t find the net – the Vikings found themselves in prime position to claim a bid in the elite, four-team Midwest Conference tournament.
With two wins in their final three games, the Vikes would have a spot. The catch? All three games would be on the road.
St. Norbert hosted the first of three games slated in the Viking’s journey and quickly reminded its visitors that an MWC bid for LU wouldn’t be easy. At 1:41 in the first half, St. Norbert scored on a fast break that left Viking defenders shrugging their shoulders. The LU shutout streak ended at 294:11.
The snowball had just begun to roll. In the second half, the Viking defense collapsed under the weight of their recent success. Possession seemed impossible, and, without that, the battle was lost.
Lawrence offenders mustered only two shots on goal, and while St. Norbert only fired six, four of them found the back of the net. The Green Knights prevailed, 4-0.
With a season at stake, the Vikings entered a must-win situation at Knox College. By the time the whistle for the end of the first half had sounded, the Vikings found themselves somewhere they wouldn’t have imagined a week ago – down 1-0 and on the brink of elimination.
When the second half began, Lawrence finally appeared to be playing for something. Opportunities were created, and risks were taken. Seven shots found their way on goal, three of which went in.
Tristan Lipe, Nate Reynolds and Rick Moore led the charge in a comeback that secured a 3-1 LU victory and kept the MWC bid alive. Goalkeeper Hunter Ryan showed heroics in the second half by saving six shots and letting none in, thereby bringing his goal/save ratio to 1/9 for the day.
The Vikings had done it. They had stayed alive and were scheduled to play one more game, this time for all the marbles. Grinnell hosted a visibly hungry Viking squad vying to return to the MWC tournament. Grinnell struck first.
In the 11th minute Lawrence let one leak through on a well-crafted play from two Grinnell attackers. But the tone had been set, and Lawrence played with inspiring intensity.
In the 37th minute, freshman Moore hooked up with Junior Ryan Pikna for a brilliant play that thrust the Vikes back in it, 1-1.
Unfortunately it remained deadlocked for the rest of regulation and two overtimes before the whistle was blown on the Viking season. Yet, with a plethora of bright young faces, the future of Viking soccer certainly looks promising.