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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Soccer wins MWC, to play in NCAA tourney

Grinnell’s Men’s Soccer team made history—in the realm of Grinnell, but history nonetheless—this past weekend. With their Midwest Conference Tournament victory last weekend, the Pioneers were nominated for their first NCAA Division III National Tournament this weekend. In years past, the team has won the Midwest Conference, but a recent policy change gives an automatic bid to the winner of the Midwest Conference to go to the NCAA Division III National Tournament. The heightened stakes resulted in higher quality competition—every game in the tournament went to penalty kicks.

“It was a ridiculous weekend—all the semi-finals in the tournament and the final went to a shootout,” said Senior Captain and defender JP Prouty ’10. “We just happened to be a clutch team in both shootouts. In the semi-final, it was the kickers who won it for us. We made all seven of our PKs. In the final, it was our goalie [Ben Schemper ’11] who made some big plays.”

In the semi-final match, the second seeded Grinnell Pioneers played third seeded St. Norbert College. At the end of regulation, the teams were tied 0-0, but Grinnell won 7-6 in the shootouts. 

In the second game, the Pioneers rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the first 10 minutes against Beloit College to tie the game with two goals from Mark Rosenberg ’10. Fourth-seeded Beloit beat top seed and in-season conference champion Carroll University to make the tournament finals. In the shootouts, Grinnell won 3-2.

During the regular season, Grinnell beat St. Norbert 3-1 on Oct. 11 and tied Beloit 2-2.  Grinnell lost to Carroll in their only conference loss this season.

“It’s surreal for me,” Midfielder Reed Caron ’13 said. “I never thought we would get this far. It’s a really great achievement.”

With the MWC tournament now behind them, the team will be gearing up to play their first round in the NCAA against Macalester on Saturday in Dubuque, IA at Loras College. In the regular season, they fell to Macalester 3-2 on Sept. 26. If the Pioneers win that game, they will play the winner of the Loras-Webster University game at 6 p.m. Sunday. If the Pioneers win both of these games this weekend, the team will compete in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.

“We’re expecting Loras to win that game. They’re number three in the nation, but we’ve scrimmaged them before the season and every year, we’ve hung with them,” said Prouty. “It was not a blowout so it should be a good game.”

Through the work of several individuals and groups on campus, the College will be sponsoring a fan bus to the game on Saturday that departs the PEC at 3:00 p.m. They expect to arrive back on campus at 1:00 a.m. The cost of the trip is $5. Reservations can be made for the bus ride until 2:00 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 by emailing [baumgart]. If students cannot make the trip, they’re encouraged to watch the game on the big screen in JRC 101 at 8:00 p.m.

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