The LU men’s soccer team will face Beloit at home on Saturday at 2 p.m., in a game that will determine its playoff fate. A win would get them a No. 3 seed in the playoffs, a tie the No. 4 seed, and a loss would eliminate them entirely. This opportunity presents itself because of two wins at home this past weekend. On paper, that didn’t seem like too tough a task.Half of it was, in fact, not tough at all. A 6-2 drubbing of Monmouth on Saturday was easy, breezy, beautiful for the home team. This wildly entertaining game was, at one point, interrupted because of a tornado sighting and a torrential downpour. Field conditions throughout the game were best described as “shloppy.” The conditions elicited a nostalgic tear from striker Rodrigo Gomes, as his home of Buenos Aires traditionally receives around 40 inches of rain per year. Playing in his natural habitat led to a hat trick for the Argentinean. These goals built upon another from Richard Amankwah, two from Ryan Pikna, and overall muddy revelry – by players and fans – reminiscent of a child’s joyous use of a Slip n’ Slide.
Sunday’s game against Illinois College saw an entirely different paradigm. The Vikings came in, playing in a visibly overconfident manner. They controlled most of the ballplay, but when the futility of their incessant crossing became apparent, they refused to change their tactics.
The Blueboy goalkeeper, known simply as “the Beard,” put together an impressive statistical afternoon, with 19 fairly easy saves against the homogenous Lawrence attacks. Finally, when matters became urgent, forwards began dribbling at defenders and taking shots. This led to the only goal of the game, scored by Pikna after 82 frustrating minutes.
The two wins allow for some wiggle-room in Saturday’s game against a strong Beloit team. With both teams needing at least a tie to advance, the game promises to be hard-fought and exciting.