After a disappointing loss to Monmouth, the men’s soccer team needed to do big things last week to keep their hopes of an appearance in the conference tournament alive. They had two important conference games ahead of them, and coming out with two wins was crucial.
Their first game was against Ripon College. With 2:25 left in the first half, sophomore Kelson Warner put the Vikings ahead with his first collegiate goal. The next goal was scored off of a penalty kick scored by the Vikings leading scorer, junior captain David Caprile. This was also a big game for freshman goalkeeper Taiju Oki making nine saves to receive his first collegiate shutout in his first collegiate start.
After their big win against Norbert’s, the men had to refocus their efforts in order to achieve their two-win goal. Their next match was against Beloit College. Sophomore Joe Cullen scored in the 33rd minute of the game to give the Vikings the lead, but just six minutes later, Beloit scored to tie the game.
The game remained extremely close. Sophomore goalkeeper Steve Solomon made six saves that forced the game into overtime. At the 104th minute of the game, Cullen was fouled in the box. No questions were asked when leading goal scorer and captain Caprile, stepped to the line to take it.
Caprile was three-for-three on penalty kicks this season so everyone knew he would be calm under pressure and carry his team to victory. He made the penalty kick and brought his team to victory. Now Caprile is four-for-four on penalty kicks.
Since the men were extremely successful when they needed to be, their hopes for making it to the conference tournament are getting more realistic. When sophomore Daniel O’Mahoney was asked what are they doing to prepare for the next three important conference matches, he said, “[I am] training and working hard with the team. [We] make sure to go into all the games prepared to leave the field with a W.”
The Vikings play Knox at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Lake Forest College at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at Whiting Field, so come out and cheer for them. It’s parent’s day on Saturday and senior day on Sunday, and these are their last home games. It’s a big weekend, and they could really use your support!