Men’s soccer strong early in season

Alex Weck

Some members of the team warming up before their recent game. (JP Paglietini)

It was the fall of 1987. A strapping young Rik Warch prepared for the inaugural school year of the $6 million Buchanan Kiewit Center, talking Pee Wee Herman dolls were the newest rage, and the Minnesota Twins were poised to win their first ever World Series. It was also the last time that the Men’s Soccer team had as strong a start to a season as this year’s.

The team has rocked its recent non-conference opponents, going 3-1-1 during its pre-conference schedule with the only blemish being a heartbreaking overtime loss at Carleton.

Most recently, the Vikings beat a quick Milwaukee School of Engineering team 2-1 in front of an energetic crowd of almost 250 at Whiting Field last Saturday.

The first half was dominated by Lawrence’s splendid foot skills and precision passing.

Coach Blake Johnson said of the first 20 minutes of the game, “We had good ball movement with a purpose, getting us into several early scoring opportunities. It was the best soccer we’ve played thus far.”

The game featured flashy contributions from some newcomers to LU. Freshman Rodrigo Gomez started the scoring early with a blast, squirting past MSOE goalkeeper Dan Nelson in the 9th minute. Freshman Cole Brittain would later score LU’s second goal as part of a flurry of attacks early in the second half. In all, seven freshmen saw significant minutes.

The Vikings played solid defense, highlighted by the great field sense and moderated aggressiveness of juniors Cris Salvati and Brett Suhayda.

The MSOE goal came off a counter in the 68th minute due to what Coach Johnson called “frustration and panic” that impeded the Vikes’ attack late in the game.

Despite a strong start to the season, the real challenge for the Vikings starts today as they travel to Lake Forest, a team they beat last year, for the start of the conference season. Lake Forest is 4-2 overall this season and has made the MWC playoffs four straight years.

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