By Wesley Hetcher
The Lawrence University (Vikings) Men’s Soccer team took the field for the final time on Saturday, Oct. 31st, to face the Monmouth Fighting Scots. For the majority of the game, the Vikings were able to control the ball and limit the Scots’ opportunities, leading to another shutout for junior and Goalkeeper Joe Krivit. He made three saves that night to record his fifth shutout of the season.
The defense was undoubtedly the story of the season finale. During the game, the Lawrence defense allowed only three shots on goal, while recording seven themselves. Junior and Midfielder Dominic Pasquesi described the first half as, “some of the best soccer we’ve played all season.” He added, “It was really special to have a good last game.”
Sophomore Lewis Berger scored the lone goal in the 1-0 contest. In doing so, along with his play at the other end of the pitch, he earned defensive player of the week honors in the Midwest Conference. The goal was scored in the 27th minute, beginning with a free kick by junior Michael Deremo, which was headed by Pasquesi. Berger then found the ball deflected off the hand of the Monmouth goalkeeper and hammered it in.
This is a promising finish to what may be grudgingly described as a disappointing season. The Vikings finish the year ninth in the conference at 3-7, with a 4-13-1 record overall. However, the team is very excited to move forward into the offseason and next year. Of the 24 members, only 3 will be graduating, leaving a very strong core of experience for the years to come.
“We’re going miss them a lot,” Pasquesi said. “They all were big contributors.” The seniors include Santiago Alvarez, Aaron Sutton and Gabe Warshaw. “I’d go through [this season] again,” Alvarez said. “Losing is not as bad with these guys.”
Moving into the offseason, the team is ready to put in whatever work they need to. With 21 players returning, there isn’t a lot of reason to expect much of a change in tactics or mindset. The Vikings have been growing in their defensive personality, and have found a few gems by moving some guys who were originally forwards into backfield positions.
“We have a really solid back line that has proven itself against good teams,” freshman Taylor Reifert says. Reifert is one such example of a player outside his typical assignment, having joined the team from a more forward position. Being a little out of place on the field has not changed much of it, however. Being a part of this team, said Reifert, “[has] definitely been a good experience.”
The Vikings will head into winter break and following terms confident and knowledgeable about what needs to improve. They need to focus on what the team can accomplish, and to look forward to working towards their goals. “We will do better,” said Pasquesi. “I want to be in the [Midwest Conference] tournament next year.”