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St. Olaf Men’s Soccer Team wins Division III National Championship; first in the College’s history

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St. Olaf Men’s Soccer Team wins National Championship for the first time in the College’s history Hannah Robb/St. Olaf Athletics

After a Thanksgiving break shortened by a semi-final 3-1 win against Washington College, the St. Olaf Men’s Soccer Team was ready to compete for a national title. “We feel confident. It’s been a four year process with a lot of ups and downs which have all culminated into the run we’ve put together over the last few weeks. We have all of the tools to win today, we just need to stick to our process and what we’ve been doing this whole season,” said St. Olaf Men’s Soccer Team Member Liam Vance ’24 in an interview with The Olaf Messenger. 

Two days after their win against Washington College, the St. Olaf Men’s Soccer Team (20-3-3) secured their inaugural NCAA Division III National Championship in a thrilling 2-1 overtime triumph against Amherst College (16-3-4) on Dec. 3 at Kerr Stadium in Salem, Va. This marks St. Olaf’s second NCAA  title in the College’s history, following the 2013 Men’s Cross Country triumph.

At the start of the National Championship game, St. Olaf trailed 0-1 in the second half following Amherst’s early goal by Luka Ohadike. However, in minute 62 of the game, St. Olaf Men’s Soccer Team Captain Hakeem Morgan ’24 equalized the game with an assist from Casey McCloskey ’24. Morgan played the game with a sprained ankle and seven stitches in his foot after getting cleated during the semifinal game. This goal marked Morgan’s 10th of the season.

Leading into overtime, the game stood at 1-1 when McCloskey netted the winning goal merely a minute into the first overtime period — securing the championship victory for the team. This was McCloskey’s  third goal of the weekend.

Following the game, McCloskey was recognized as the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player, while Goalkeeper Peter Forseth ’25 earned the distinction of Most Outstanding Defensive Player. Joining them on the All-Tournament Team were Morgan and fellow St. Olaf Men’s Soccer Team Captain Victor Gaulmin. 

When asked in an interview with The Olaf Messenger about their story book run, Gaulmin said, “This has been so well deserved from the beginning to the end. We [seniors] committed to a team that had four wins in a season, but we knew what we could build together and we all had this same goal in mind. As a senior class we continued to work hard for three seasons, never losing sight of our goal. We started from the bottom and ended at the top.” 

This victory marks the team’s 20th win of the season, setting a new program record and extending their unbeaten streak to 22 games (19-0-3), surpassing the prior record set by the 2021 team. Notably, it also secures the first-ever national title for a men’s soccer team at a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) institution. This puts St. Olaf as the westernmost program to achieve this feat since Trinity University in 2003.

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