On Saturday, Nov. 13 the St. Olaf men’s soccer team played Dominican University in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship tournament. The match kicked off at 11 a.m. at Rolf Mellby field, and many Ole students and parents turned out to cheer on the team.
Attacker Hakeem Morgan ’24 scored the first goal, giving the Oles the lead in the 28th minute. The first half then ended 1-0. The Oles netted their second goal in the sixtieth minute, with a ball beautifully headed into the back of the net by Victor Gaulmin ’24. A third goal sealed the deal for the Oles in the sixty-fifth minute, as midfielder Casey McCloskey ’24 shot a dagger from outside the 18-yard box.
Though the win required an impressive team performance, the MVP of the match was certainly McCloskey. Showing both defensive and attacking skill, McCloskey made his presence known all over the field, frequently winning back possession and creating quality chances in the final third. The impact of his performance was tangible, as he left the game with one goal and two assists.
The Oles also put up a strong defensive effort, anchored by center back Ian Elliott ’24, to hold the Stars scoreless throughout the game. A solid performance from goalkeeper Austin Williams ’24 ensured that even the glimmers of hope for Dominican resulted in no change in the scoreline.
Moving on to the second round, the Oles faced Loras College on Sunday, Nov. 14. They won the game 4-0 thanks to goals from Morgan, McCloskey, Liam Vance ’24, and Martin Machon ’24. The win allows the Oles to advance to the third round, facing North Park University on Nov. 19.