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Men’s soccer takes on new season with win against Coe College

By Ezra Pine

This past Friday, the men’s soccer team played their first game of the semester against Coe College. Despite having significantly outshot Coe throughout the game, the Pioneers were down 1–0 in the 85th minute, and desperate for a goal. Enter forward Ray Goedeker ’22. Goedeker received a corner kick from forward Davis Provost ’23, and hammered it into the back of the net to tie the game and force overtime. Three minutes into overtime Goedeker delivered the final blow with a goal off a perfect cross from forward Mikoto Kobayashi ’20.   

“We knew we needed to start the season with a win,” Goedeker said. “We were all extremely relieved when the goal was scored, and everyone was so hyped up. It gives us a ton of momentum going forward.” Goedeker’s goals earned him MWC Men’s Soccer Offensive Performer of the Week.

The victory was a much needed boost for the team as they are looking to improve upon last year’s performance. In 2018, they finished 8–7 (5–4 in conference), and missed out on making the MWC Tournament by only three points. This year the team is hoping that experience will help push them to the next level. 

“We have a really strong senior class this year. A lot of us are getting really significant minutes all around the field, and helping lead the way,” Captain Thomas Pflipson ’20 said. Last year, the Pioneers significantly lacked veteran leadership, as they only had two seniors. This year, the team has seven seniors all benefiting from having an extra year of experience under their belt. Additionally, the teams has 12 first-years on the roster, many of whom are already making a big impact on the team.   

“All of the first-years on our team are stepping up big time. Nate [Girard] played the entire first game at center back, Davis [Provost] made some great plays, Noah [Guyton] too. We have a great class of first-years who, since the start of preseason, have meshed together really well,” Goedeker said. 

Perhaps one of the most intriguing storylines to watch for the men’s soccer team comes from forward Jasper Yang ’21. In the 2018 season, Yang put together one of the most impressive stat lines in school history. He ranked third in the Midwest Conference in goals scored (12) and points per game (1.73), and led all of Division III in shot accuracy at 70.7 percent. Yang’s individual accomplishments earned him a spot on the All-MWC first-team. 

Most importantly, if the team wants any shot at competing for a MWC Championship, they recognize that the defense is going to have to lead the way. “In order for us to win the MWC, it starts with defense. It’s something we have put an emphasis on this year,” assistant coach Rockne Decostre ’15 said. “Last year, we were a good team but not a great team because our defense just let in some goals that really shouldn’t be let in at this level. I think it’s something that our guys are starting to understand and get better at. If we improve on our defense, we have enough good offensive talent that we’re going to be able to score goals.” 

The Pioneers defense will be put to the test this weekend when they face Buena Vista University on Saturday, and Carleton College on Sunday. Carleton won their conference last year, and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament—a position the Pioneers hope they can be in by the end of the season. 

The team is currently focusing on building up towards conference play, where their goal of winning a conference championship will be put to the test.  “The top teams in our conference, like Lake Forest, St. Norbert, and Knox, are really scrappy, so we’re going to need to rise to that level if we want to win our conference,” Pflipson said.   

The men’s soccer team celebrates their first victory of the year against Coe College after narrowly winning the match 2-1.







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