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Soccer teams end season on positive notes

Major May ’17 completes a spectacular save during a match. Photo contributed.

By Graham Dodd


Both the College’s women’s and men’s soccer teams ended their seasons after losing the title matches of the Midwest Conference Tournament last Saturday, Nov. 5. Though both programs had extraordinary seasons. The men’s team made college history by beating the higher-seeded Lake Forest team 1-0 in the semifinals.

Captain of the men’s team and starting goalkeeper throughout his Division III career, Major May ’17, expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance in the semifinals.

“We had the best season we’ve had since the 2009 team,” May said, “That’s the first time [the College] has ever beaten a higher-seeded team in the conference. It was the first time we’ve beaten Lake Forest in four years.”

That game ended a six-game wining streak for Lake Forest’s men’s team and balanced out a loss Grinnell took against them earlier in the season.

The men’s soccer head coach Brian Jaworski expressed his pride for his team’s performance.

“Like they have all year, our guys rose to the occasion.” Jaworski said. “I thought it was a real gritty, completely disciplined, attacking game, our best game this year.”

The men’s team went on to lose 2-1 in overtime against St. Norbert due to a penalty kick.

“We got to halftime down only a goal and that was because Major May, our superstar goalkeeper, stood on his head and made save after save,” Jaworksi said.

“Because of his performance,” Jaworski continued, “at halftime we were upbeat and took a couple of moments to think about the little details we needed to do in the second half. We responded with a goal six minutes into the second half, and then we lost on a penalty kick that I think was a pretty questionable call in the first overtime.”

The women's soccer team practices before the Midwest conference tournament. Photo by Hung Vuong.
The women’s soccer team practices before the Midwest conference tournament. Photo by Hung Vuong.

The women’s team had a similar tournament experience, advancing to the finals after defeating Lake Forest 5-3 in a shootout and adding a sixth game to their late-season win streak.

Women’s team captain Nora Sahel ’17 emphasized that her team’s season had been remarkably successful.

“Last year was the first year we didn’t make it to the tournament in about 15 years,” Sahel said. “So it was really nice to bounce back and make a strong showing. We made it to the Midwest conference tournament this year and advanced to the finals for, if I’m not mistaken, the first time since 2011. So it has been a few years.”

The team played against Knox College in the finals, losing 1-0. Sahel described the disappointment of the loss as a secondary concern to the unity her team had developed throughout the season.

“I think it was we were more sad for our season as a team to be over than we were about the loss of the game,” Sahel said. “I think that is really special about a group of women. At the end of the game, as soon as we lost, we all jogged over to each other and huddled, and honestly we looked more unified than the team that had just won and had a bid to the NCAA tournament. I think that just shows our own sense of GC pride we had and commitment to the team. I’m really happy about how we ended this season, and I’m looking forward to what this team will do next year. “

Nick Brule ’17, who started as a forward for four years, expressed a similar sentiment the men’s team’s performance in the conference and the future of his team.

“I think the future for this team is very bright,” he said “I think the juniors below us can step up and be leaders next year, and the first-year class is probably the most talented class I’ve seen since I’ve been here. I think we showed that we were capable of being the best team in the league.”

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