On Friday, Nov. 20, the St. Olaf men’s soccer team traveled to Dubuque, Iowa to take on the Thunder of Wheaton College in the third round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Tournament. Both St. Olaf (15-8-0) and Wheaton (15-3-3) entered the game with strong records, but Wheaton came out with a 2-1 victory over the Oles in extra time.
Despite the added challenge of playing in snow, both teams were strong on the offensive side and had a relatively even number of scoring chances, with Wheaton finishing with a total of 23 shots and eight on goal while St. Olaf finished with 18 shots and 11 on goal.
Within the first few minutes of the second half, Wheaton forward Stephen Golz found the back of the net, making the score 1-0 in favor of the Thunder. Minutes later Jens Undlin ’16 of the Oles scored, assisted by Kevin Skrip ’16, to level the game at 1-1. The score remained tied for the remainder of regulation, leading to overtime. Wheaton capitalized in extra time, as forward Max Carey notched the game-winning goal in the 95th minute of play.
Though the Oles’ playoff run ended more prematurely than they would have liked, the season was remarkable and historic. This season marked the men’s team’s first-ever trip to the sweet sixteen round of NCAA Division III National Championships and the third time that the team has made it to the NCAA Division III playoffs since the 2009 season.
Expectations will be high for the next few seasons but for now, players and coaches can relax and look back proudly on all that they have achieved during this incredible season.