Men’s soccer clinches playoff

Kyle Nodarse

The weekend opened up for the men’s team as another chance to clinch a postseason future. Going into the weekend, the men’s team was in third place.
The Monmouth Fighting Scots came to town Saturday and proved to be worthy opponents, but the Vikings dominated throughout the game. The Vikings outshot Monmouth 27-9, and had 13 corner kicks against Monmouth’s none.
The first half was hard fought, with the Vikings getting nine shots on goal but unable to put one into the back of the net. The half ended scoreless, and the second half opened similarly. The Vikings kept shooting, with 12 more shots on goal, but it wasn’t until the 82nd minute that anyone scored.
Unfortunately, the late scorer was Monmouth, with the Fighting Scots gaining a questionable penalty kick and taking a 1-0 lead. It looked like that lead would hold, but with only 42 seconds left, the Vikings were fouled hard in the box, and senior Tristan Lipe bounced a penalty kick off the side bar and in to tie the game and send it into overtime.
The Vikings again were dominant, outshooting Monmouth 6-1 in the two overtime periods, but were unable to find the back of the net again. The game ended in a 1-1 tie after 120 minutes of soccer.
The Blue Boys of Illinois College came to Appleton Sunday to try to slow the Vikings’ push toward the conference tournament, and this game proved to be a much higher-scoring affair. Lipe gave the Vikings an early lead, scoring just three minutes into the game, and added another goal on a penalty kick just 10 minutes into the game.
The Blue Boys fought back, however, and scored two goals of their own to tie the game. Midway through the second half, the Vikings put pressure on Illinois College, and after a shot on goal, they had the ball bounce off of a defender and into the net to give them a 3-2 lead.
This proved to be the difference in the game, as the Vikings held on despite six second-half shots by the Blue Boys. The final score had the Vikings up 3-2.
The Vikings now sit at 5-2-1 with 16 points, still good for third place. However, with the four points earned this weekend, the men secured a spot in postseason play. It is yet undetermined if they will be third or fourth in the conference, but playing in the postseason is assured either way.
The Vikings finish the regular season Oct. 25 at St. Norbert and Oct. 31 at Carthage with a nonconference match-up. The Midwest Conference Tournament will be held at Carroll College Nov. 8 and 9.