Another preseason has come and gone. The athletes are no longer the overwhelming force on campus and with all these freshmen around, we seem to have been forgotten. Our hard work over the past three weeks has finally been put to the test in games, matches and meets and we all have something to show for it. After a difficult season last year, the football team came in looking to improve with a large freshman contingent. Last weekend the team faced the St. Scholastica Saints in Duluth, Minn. to see how far preseason preparations could take them. The incoming class gave the Vikings a great start with rookie Sam Wagner returning a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown after a St. Scholastica field goal to give Lawrence an early 7-3 lead. The Vikings then punched in another touchdown to increase the lead to 14-3. At the half, Lawrence led 17-10, and the Vikings would take a 24-17 margin into the final quarter. Unfortunately, that is when things fell apart for our squad. The Saints pushed the ball into the Vikings’ end zone twice in the final ten minutes to take the lead and keep it. St. Scholastica won the hard-fought game 31-24. Despite coming home with a loss, the Vikings gained confidence and hope to begin their conference play with a win against Knox College this Saturday, Sept. 12. The game will be at 1 p.m. in the Banta Bowl across the river and the team will be expecting full stands and raucous freshmen to support them. The women’s soccer team got off to a slow start, yet the team looks potent in attack and strong in defense after four games. The team flew to Philadelphia early last week to face Cabrini College in their season opener. The Vikings were outplayed by a talented squad, and they lost 3-0, yet still managed to take a few positives from the game and the trip, including a vastly improved team chemistry. The Vikings would not be given a break, as they soon faced Clarke University’s strong NAIA squad in Dubuque, Iowa, and then Aurora University the next day in Chicago. Clarke got off to an early start in the first match of the doubleheader, scoring in the sixth minute, and never looked back. Though the Vikings put up a spirited resistance, they fell to a second consecutive 3-0 defeat. Lawrence showed up a different team the next day to battle with Aurora University. Though the Spartans put in another early goal against the Vikings to take a 1-0 lead that held until halftime, the Vikings fought on to score twice late in the game. Senior Sarah Ehlinger took charge and played in junior Mallory Koula for her first goal of the season to tie the game. Not soon after that, Ehlinger stole the ball in midfield and delicately chipped the ball into the top corner to secure the victory for Lawrence. The Vikings dropped a difficult contest Wednesday, Sept. 8 to Elmhurst College in Illinois, falling 2-0. The Vikings return to action in their first home game of the season this Saturday. The game will also kick off conference play for the Vikings, as they face Beloit College at 4 p.m. at Whiting Field across the river. The men’s soccer team also began its season with a trip to the east coast. The University of Maine at Farmington was the first victim for the Vikings’ new attacking style. After goals from seniors Bennett Pang and Paul Senner among a flurry of shots and possession, they returned home with a 2-0 victory and a 1-0 record under their belts. Last weekend brought much sterner challenges in Clarke University and Aurora University. After starting well in Iowa against Clarke, the Vikings fell apart after conceding a first goal, and eventually lost with a dispiriting score of 4-0. The next day the Vikings faced another strong squad, and were outplayed in the first half by the Aurora Spartans. They gave up two quick goals in the first half, and looked to regroup at halftime. They came out strong and dominated the final 45 minutes, achieving a 9-1 shot advantage in the half. Sadly, that would not be enough, and the Vikings fell 2-0. On Wednesday, the Vikings played their first home game of the season and thanked the large fan support with a scrappy 1-0 victory. Sophomore David Caprile notched his first collegiate goal with a rip from 30 yards out and the assist was given to junior Stephen Exarhos. The Vikings return to action this Saturday when they host Beloit College at 2 p.m. on our own Whiting Field. After a slew of ties last year, the Vikings hope to get off to a winning start in conference play this year and also expect rampant support. The men’s cross country team got off to a flying start last weekend at the St. Norbert Invitational. Freshman Curran Carlile won his first collegiate race and sophomore Sam Stevens took second to fire the Vikings to their first individual and team titles since 2001. It is an impressive start to the season and the team will only look to improve as the season goes on. The women’s cross country team could not match the heroics of the men’s squad, but still competed admirably. Junior Emily Muhs led the way for the team, placing fifth. Anne Sullivan was the next Viking to finish, placing 22nd. The team finished in seventh place out of 10, and is working hard to get better. Both the men and women will be running again next weekend at the Warhawk Invitational at UW-Whitewater Sept. 18. The women’s volleyball team has faced stiff competition to start their season. They first traveled to the Edgewood Invitational where they faced the 14th-ranked team in the nation, UW-Whitewater, and found another strong opponent in Edgewood. Though the team managed to steal sets in both matches, the Vikings could not pull out a victory. The ladies next traveled to Illinois to compete in the Dominican Invitational. They got their first win against Principia College with Senior Melissa Schnettler and junior Clare Bohrer leading the attack with 11 and 10 kills respectively. Unfortunately, the other three matches at the tournament were lost, but Bohrer provided a bright spot with her selection to the all-tournament team as an inside hitter. The Vikings competed against Northern International and Alverno College earlier this week at the Alverno Invitational, and will take part in the UW-Oshkosh Invitational this weekend. The women’s tennis team has gotten off to a great 3-0 start thanks to the perennial leadership of junior number one singles player Beth Larson. Larson and crew battled hard to take a 5-4 victory over Edgewood College in their first match of the season. More recently, the team dominated Marian University and Lake Forest College, winning 9-0 and 7-2 respectively, with Larson dominating the lead singles and doubles matches. The team traveled to Carroll University and UW-Oshkosh for matches earlier this week and will play two home matches this weekend. Saturday’s match against UW-River Falls will start at 9 a.m. and Sunday’s against Finlandia will start at 11 a.m. Since the tennis courts are on this side of the river, it should be no problem to pile fans onto the hill to support our lady Vikings. We athletes look forward to both continued and new support for the remainder of the season, and we will work hard to ensure that every home match results in victory.