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The Oracle

The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle


New kids finding early success

This story was previously published in print on Nov. 21, 2023.

With the men’s soccer season closing its 2023 chapter, let’s take a look back at the history-making performance that sets a new standard for the Hamline Piper soccer club.

The Hamline Men’s soccer team closed out their season back in October with a 0–0 draw to the Cardinals of St. Mary. This puts a bow on the historic season where the Pipers finished 8–6–3 (2–5–3 conf.). The Pipers also had a barrage of scoring, led by All-MIAC defender Jessie Juarez and MIAC Rookie of the Year Ryder Tomlinson-Sterud, with the two combining for 14 of the team’s 31 total goals, that being the most since the 2006 campaign. 

This combination of on-the-field talent and results was the handiwork of first-year head coach Tyler Oliver. Oliver is no stranger to success, being a former collegiate soccer player himself. 

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Oliver was a standout midfielder and a forward at Division 1 Eastern Illinois before transferring to Hamline’s then-MIAC opponent St. Thomas. 

While at St. Thomas, Oliver registered the second-most points on the team while leading the Tommies to a 42–4–3 cumulative record that included an NCAA Final Four appearance. 

When Oliver was named the head soccer coach, he had some relatively big shoes to fill. He was tasked with taking over for 11-year head coach Alex Morawiecki who set standards of his own, one of which was winning Hamline’s first home playoff game, resulting in a dramatic 2–1 victory over St. John’s. 

Knowing this, Oliver expected nothing but the best from his players before the season started, making it known that their goal was 10 wins and a top six finish. Despite the final result not quite living up to expectations, Oliver was still optimistic about the season.

“[This was] the best season that the seniors had in their careers,” Oliver said. “They left the program in a way better place than they found it.”

The addition of Oliver was a welcome change to the players. 

“The moment I met Tyler in person, you could tell he is a genuine guy,” Juarez said. “He is a great coach and above anything else, a great individual. From the get-go you could tell he cares about his players on and off the field.”

Along with the addition of a new head coach, the Pipers also brought 17 new players to the squad. Juarez, being one of those newcomers, spoke on how welcoming and kind the Hamline vets were and he felt like he belonged. 

“I would say the team welcomed all the new faces with a lot of joy and openness,” Juarez said. “The guys that were in the program before were all great in bringing us in and just getting us familiar with campus and were just helpful whether that was on the field or in just about anything.”

Prior to the season, Juarez had big goals for himself including becoming an All-MIAC caliber player. Jessie, an Augsburg transfer and native of Shakopee, MN, led the team with 19 total points. 

This performance earned him a spot as a First Team All-MIAC Defender, as announced by MIAC Athletics on Nov. 7. 

“My immediate reaction [to the announcement] was just a sense of proudness,” Juarez said. “Knowing that my goal was achieved made me feel really proud of myself and the work I had put in all pre-season and during the season meant something.”

Not all of the newcomers, however, were stud transfers. One player of note is MIAC Rookie of the Year Ryder Tomlinson-Sterud. Plymouth, MN native Tomlinson-Sterud matched Juarez’s team-leading point total with 19 as well as tying for the lead with seven goals. Despite his young age, Tomlinson-Sterud has already shown flashes of maturity as evidenced by the words of Oliver. 

“I can remember after we were up 1–0 at halftime against SJU and ended up losing.” Oliver said. “That very next day, Ryder was one of the ones getting all of the guys together on the team’s off day to work on set pieces and make sure that they corrected the errors from the day before.”

Along with the ROTY award, Ryder was also named to the All-MIAC Honorable Mention team for his fantastic rookie campaign.

With his first season of coaching under his belt, Oliver is very optimistic about the future of Piper men’s soccer. 

“We came together as a squad extremely quickly,” Oliver said. “The sky’s the limit for this group and I am excited to see what they accomplish over their respective careers here.” 

Juarez has made it clear that he has high hopes for the soccer club as well.

“For our first year playing with one another and to be just one spot away, shows how much this program has changed and only is to be better in the upcoming years,” Juarez said.

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