Men downed by Carroll

Alexander Weck

The men’s soccer team fell to Carroll 4-1 at home Saturday. The defeat marked the end of an amazing streak; it was the first time the team had lost to a conference opponent at Whiting Field since Nov. 2nd of 2002, when Beloit showed the Vikings up by the same score. Let’s think about that one: at that point, Hiett was just a pile of rubble that annoyed Ormsby residents with clamorous noise, nobody in this state had heard of this Jill Beck, and some of this year’s freshman were still playing JV high school ball.
The only player to take part in both matches is senior goalkeeper Matt Wolin – except then he was a midfielder. Without going into a tangent about Coach Blake Johnson’s secret love for converting goalies to field players and vice versa, some reflection on this streak is necessary: undefeated for 12 conference games in a row on their own pitch, the Vikes tallied a 9-0-3 record and only gave up a total of seven goals. All in all, the streak lasted the better portion of three seasons.
Back in present day, the Carroll loss was less than inspirational, yet not all bad. It may serve as a wake-up call for upcoming match against conference bully St. Norbert. Despite the score, the game was not entirely lopsided. Although back on their heels for much of the first half, LU managed to work the ball forward quite a bit.
Joe Sluhoski’s 53rd-minute goal gave the squad some momentum in the early second half. The best attacking opportunities of the day came just following his breakaway tally. Unfortunately, “the forwards weren’t passing to each other very well,” commented junior midfielder Elliott “Bobbo” Spruell. As this resulted in failure to seize downfield opportunities, Carroll made the best of their own, putting all fourteen shots on goal and thoroughly working Wolin. Despite a handful of spectacular saves, the onslaught would only get worse until the horn stopped the bleeding with a 4-1 score after 90 minutes.
The team also failed to take advantage of numerous dead-ball situations as provided by the 32 fouls called by power-hungry referee Scott Bassner.
The Vikings next compete at home against three-time conference champion and hated enemy St. Norbert College. Although having recently snapped their NCAA-longest home winning streak of 25 games, the Green Knights always come to town expecting a battle. Lawrence will be sure to provide ample competition as not only does their blood burn with considerable disliking for Norbert, but it is also the last home match of the year and the final such ever for the team’s four seniors. Promises of intense soccer come to life on the pitch at 2 p.m. on Sunday.