Men’s soccer defeats Illinois, grabs spot in conference tournament

Jenny Angeli

The men’s soccer team headed to Illinois College this weekend to play their last conference match against the Blueboys. A win in this match would secure a spot for the Vikes in the Midwest Conference Tournament. Knowing this, the Vikes came in ready to win, and it did not take long for them to find the back of the net.

In the 12th minute, senior Karl Mayer crossed in a ball and sophomore Joe Cullen headed it past the goalie. With the Vikes in the lead, the Blueboys were eager to counter and pressured hard for the next 15 minutes. However, in the 27th minute senior Vince Butitta gave Lawrence a 2-0 lead and some relief, scoring off of a pass from senior captain Stephen Exarhos.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, the Blueboys scored with only two minutes left in the half off of a corner kick. Unwilling to relent to Illinois College, the Vikings continued their attack until the incredible Newsom Twosome sealed the victory! Junior Simon Newsom passed the ball to his brother, freshman Oliver Newsom, who scored his first collegiate goal.

When asked how it felt to play on the same team as his brother, Simon responded, “I grew up playing with Oliver on the same club and high school teams, so we have the Newsom connection that really benefits us in games. For the most part, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and can complement each other pretty well.”

The second half began and the Illinois College fans were eager for their team to score. The Vikes refused to let in a goal and their defense did an incredible job. Freshman goalkeeper Taiju Oki only needed to make one save.

When asked about the success of the Viking defense, junior and starting defender Colin Potts stated, “When we are communicating well our defense is solid, the times we really start feeling pressure is when that communication starts to break down.”

Wanting to increase their lead, both junior captain David Caprile and sophomore Daniel O’Mahoney, back from ankle injury, had beautiful shots from afar. Though they were unable to find the net in the second half, the Vikes defeated the Blueboys 3-1, sending them on to the conference tournament.

Potts commented, “The game was crucial to secure our spot, and it also put us into a great position coming into the tournament.”

The Vikings will take on Beloit College Friday, Nov. 4 at Carroll University in the MWC Conference semifinal match.