Men’s soccer clinches playoff spot

For the first time in nine years the team advances to the postseason.


Senior Abbai Habte strides to score the game winning penalty kick against Bethel on Oct. 27. Habte was fouled in the box with two minutes left in the game to push the Pipers to a playoff spot.

Jake Kjos, Reporter

With time running out in a 0-0 tie against Bethel, senior forward Abbai Habte made his way into the box and put extreme pressure on the defense. As he dribbled past a defender, Bethel goalie Jakob Bartels charged at Habte and took out his legs.

The play gave Habte a penalty kick, and a chance to propel the team higher than it ever had been during his career at Hamline. Habte described the play as it unfolded.

“When I made the run into the box I was just hoping that I can get to it and make something out of it. Luckily enough for us, I was able to challenge the defender from getting the ball and get a penalty out of it,” Habte said.

Bethel goalie Jakob Bartels charged out and fouled senior Abbai Habte, leading to Habte's penalty kick that propelled the Pipers into the playoffs on Oct 27.
Cole Mayer
Bethel goalie Jakob Bartels charged out and fouled Habte, leading to Habte’s penalty kick that propelled the Pipers into the playoffs on Oct. 27.

First-year goalie Dean Isaacson shared his perspective on the play that led to Habte’s penalty kick.

“That’s the toughest thing as a goalkeeper. If he had gone for the ball it wouldn’t have been a penalty,” Isaacson said.

With the game on the line, Habte stepped up to the spot. He embraced the pressure of the moment and used his experience as a four-year starter to help himself in the moment.

“Being put on the spot to win the game for your team is every player’s dream and I was fortunate enough to make it and secure our ticket to the playoffs,” Habte said.

Habte scored the goal to put the Pipers up 1-0. Bethel applied pressure late, moving the ball up field and getting shots off. The defense held strong to maintain their lead after the great opportunity they were given.

Isaacson had his fourth shutout of the season and attributed his team’s strong play in accomplishing another game played without any goals allowed.

“You have to stay focused on each play. We controlled possession for most of the time. We kept it clean at the back. Our defensive pressure has been amazing,” Isaacson said.

The win against Bethel clinched a playoff berth for the team, and Isaacson relayed the team’s feelings about making it into the postseason.

“We were really excited. It’s the first time in nine years,” Isaacson said.

Habte shared the same excitement, and was glad to be able to accomplish a career goal in his final year.

“To finally be in the playoffs feels amazing; it’s been the goal from the day I joined this program and I’m glad we are able to achieve it,” Habte said.

Head coach Alex Morawiecki talked about the benefits of having a player as accomplished as Habte on the team.

“He’s been able to recruit high level players. He shows everyone how much he cares and how much he loves Hamline,” Morawiecki said.

Morawiecki’s decisions over the course of the season to move Habte to forward and name Isaacson the starter have paid off to accomplish the playoff goals the team set at the beginning of the season.

Isaacson thinks that this season and playoff berth has been better than he could have expected.

“It’s definitely different. I was surprised when I got the job,” Isaacson said.

Hamline finished the week with a close match against Gustavus Adolphus on Saturday, Oct. 31. After conceding an early goal, Habte scored his tenth goal of the season off an assist by first-year forward Stefan Kinsinger to tie it up at 1-1. Hamline lost 1-2 after a header by Gustavus Adolphus put the game out of reach late.

The game finished up conference play for the Pipers, and their final record in MIAC play was 5-4-1, which gave them the fifth seed in the playoffs.

After a nine year playoff drought, the younger players on team can now look forward to building off this experience, while Habte can look back on how much the program has changed for the better since his time at Hamline.