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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Men’s and Women’s Soccer Kick Off Second Half of Season

This past weekend, both the men’s and women’s soccer teams took to the road to play conference games. The women felt right at home in Illinois defeating Knox College 2-0 and tying Illinois College 0-0 in double overtime, while the men took a nail-biting 2-1 overtime loss against the Prairie Fire of Knox.

The games—along with home wins against Beloit College on Saturday, Sept. 28—brought the women’s team to a conference record of 4-1-1 and the men to 1-3. Further, the men lost a close 1-0 non-conference game  in overtime against the University of Dubuque on Wednesday, Oct. 9

soccer - connie lee
Photograph by Connie Lee. Hannah Safter ’14 swerves around her opponent on Sept. 28.

The women’s team focused on their usual game play, while slightly adjusting to counter the other team’s strategy.

“Our strategy is always to stick to our style of play, while being aware of the other team’s strengths and how they might challenge us. Beyond that, we take each game as it comes knowing that every time we take the field we are working toward a win,” said women’s head coach, Heather Benning ’96.

The men’s strategy aimed to utilize their offensive skills.

“[With] both of those games we knew that we would be able to keep possession and keep the other team just chasing. That was basically our mentality and our strategy going into the game … to keep the ball away from them and hopefully be able to score first and kind of put them on their heels,” said Joey Brown ’15.

However, being on the road is always a struggle. Both teams admitted to feeling the pressure of playing an away game instead of having the home-field advantage last weekend.

“I think at home we have a lot more support from the community, especially from the men’s team cheering us on, as well as just other people from the College there to support us. I thought that was an advantage for Illinois College and Knox when we played them,” said Nora Sahel ’17.

Brown and Victor Ghazal ’16 acknowledged that the men’s previous hardships on foreign turf have had an effect on the team.

“It’s almost an issue of us getting into our own heads [more] than anything else,” Brown said.

Nevertheless, Ghazal insisted that the team’s aversion to away games should no longer inhibit their successes.

“In the past we were considered a young team and it used to be okay because we were still growing. Now we really need to start taking steps away from making those kinds of excuses and if we do that, then we should start having a better record in away games,” he said.

Brown scored the team’s only goal against Knox College, who beat the Pioneers in the 10th minute of overtime. Besides being without the home-field advantage, Brown cited a lack of energy and Ghazal noted the need for better communication between team members as the reasons for their loss.

The women’s team had fewer troubles as they battled Knox and Illinois College. Hannah Truesdale ’17 and Dabney Hofammann ’15 scored one goal each to pick up the win against Knox College.

The Illinois College game was more of a defensive struggle.

“It was an intense game. There weren’t really a lot of opportunities to score … for either team. I think we dominated. There was just a lot of possession going on and we just couldn’t really find a good look on goal,” Sahel said.

While no goals were made on either side during the Illinois College game, Benning insisted that there were no specific mistakes that caused the tie. She expressed her contentment with the outcome of the road trip.

“I think anytime you can go on the road and play two matches and return home undefeated, it’s a success,” Benning said.

While the men’s team struggled against Knox, they had no trouble picking up the win against Beloit on Grinnell’s home field the weekend before. Ghazal cited their win as a highlight of the season thus far, as he himself scored two of the four goals in the game. Elliot Meyer ’15 and Nick Brule ’17 also picked up one goal apiece for the win.

“[The win against Beloit] wasn’t our first win, but it was our first conference win. To have that win on our record, especially in conference when it really matters, is an important win,” Brown said. “[That’s] the highlight … getting that reinforcement and that confidence boost.”

Both teams are optimistic about the rest of their seasons and have similar dreams of making it into the conference tournament and winning it all.

“No one should count us out yet!” Ghazal said. “[We intend to] go back to our foundations, put our heads down, work hard during the week and look forward to the next game.”

Sahel claimed that the women’s team are ready to take their place in the conference tournament and are more than capable of coming away successful.

The teams have also asked for the continued support of the community throughout the remainder of the season, as well.

“Our record doesn’t show it, but it’s a special team and I hope people will still come out to support us,” Brown said.

The men are scheduled to take on Monmouth College this Saturday, Oct. 12, at 2:30 p.m. and University of Wisconsin-Platteville on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 1:30 p.m. in Grinnell. The women will also battle Monmouth College at home this Saturday at noon, as well as away at Coe College on Sunday.

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