Setting and shooting goals

Optimism remains high during rough week for Hamline soccer programs.

PJ Stebbings, Sports Reporter

Senior Tylar Sayles held down the defensive line against St. Olaf
on Saturday, Sept. 17. (Aidan Stromdahl)

Despite a rough start for both the Men’s and Women’s soccer programs, both head coaches remain optimistic about the remainder of the season. On Saturday neither team was able to pull out a win against St. Olaf, the men fell 4–0 while the women battled to a 0–0 draw. 

This marks the second straight 4–0 defeat for the men’s soccer team and the third week without a win for the women’s team. The men fell to 2–4 on the season and 0–2 in MIAC play, the women fell to 1–2–3 and 0–1–1 in conference play.

Although the women once again failed to secure a win and have not done so since the first game of the season way back on Sept. 1, head coach Michael Prunty only looks at the positives. A big takeaway from the beginning of the season for him was that although they have not been winning they have been “tough to beat.” 

He talked about telling his players that “he wouldn’t trade this for anything else.” Prunty was also extremely pleased with his defensive performance. 

“We’re not giving up goals, we’re in every game and that can be very tough to do in the MIAC. We’ll take the zeros on the scoreboard from a defensive standpoint as long as we can,” Prunty said. 

Offensively he feels that, “the chances are there and the goals will come.”

Hamline’s women’s soccer team also struggled with a few injuries. Key players Maya Dempsey and Catie Regan were out this week, which called for more inexperienced players to step up. 

Senior Carin Currier played
the majority of the game on
Saturday on the either side of
the midfield wing. (Aidan Stromdahl)

Prunty praised sophomores Anslee Klinefelter and Adela Ashby, as well as senior Lauren Osborn for stepping up in place of their injured teammates. 

“These girls have played some, but not a lot and they stepped onto the field and made the team better,” said Prunty. 

Looking forward to next week, Hamline faces UW-River Falls in River Falls, Wis. which will be a tough matchup. 

“We gotta get healthy and score some goals. It’s a good chance to gain momentum going into the next conference game,” Prunty said. “Our target is to be playing in the conference tournament at the end of the season, so we know these next games are important to do that.” 

Prunty is in his first year as head coach at Hamline, coming over from D2 program Concordia-St Paul and has high expectations for his girls.

After a pair of tough 4–0 losses for head coach Alex Morawiecki’s Men’s soccer team, The Pipers are back in action Wednesday against Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis. 

Despite the 2–4 record, three of those losses came against very tough opponents. “We’ve played three opponents who are ranked in the top 10 of the region. We’re learning a lot of valuable lessons, unfortunately the hard way in some moments, but the road is long, so we are going to keep working hard to improve,” Morawiecki said. 

One positive for the team going forward is the depth of the roster. The roster is filled with veterans like seniors Jake Sullivan, Robert Cooper, Nate Vogel and Jared Garcia who bring years of experience and leadership to the program. The program is also full of first-year players, who contribute meaningful minutes to the team such as Drew Axel, Ashton Frost, Belal Elghorab and Yulian Rodriguez-Torres. This mix of youth and experience makes the team flexible and exciting to watch.

Although Hamline’s soccer teams is not off to an ideal start, they have 11 games remaining and still have a chance to make it into the conference tournament. The top six teams in the MIAC make the conference tournament and although Hamline is tied for last place in the conference, they are only one game behind a playoff spot with plenty of time remaining in the season. 

“Our goal each season is to play as many games as possible and to continue to build and improve along the way,” Morawiecki said.