NORTHFIELD, Minn. -- The Carleton College women’s soccer team saw its playoff hopes disappear and its season came to a close with a tough 2-0 loss at the feet of cross-town rival St. Olaf College.
With Augsburg and St. Thomas playing to a draw, it turned out that the match of Northfield foes would be for a spot in the MIAC playoffs. But unfortunately, Carleton (8-9-1, 6-5 MIAC) was unable to take advantage of the situation. Instead it was St. Olaf (9-6-2, 7-3-1 MIAC) that managed to tally two goals and walk away from Bell Field with three points and a spot in the postseason.
The Knights seemed to control the pace of play through much of the first twenty minutes of the match, a period in which the home squad held a distinct 4-1 advantage in shots and nearly took the lead when a Megan King (So./Corvallis, Ore./Corvallis) touch glanced off the right post in the 19th minute. However, it was St. Olaf that managed to strike first.
After Ole goalkeeper Nora Forbes saved a shot from Knights’ forward Caroline Sheffield (Fy./Seattle, Wash./Garfield) in the 23rd minute, St. Olaf sprang a quick counter attack. Less than 20 seconds after the save, a long punt was flicked forward and found Chelsea Marsh sprinting up the middle of the pitch in space towards the box, where the Ole forward took a low shot past Carleton keeper Mikayla Coulombe (So./Crystal, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret's) for the first score of the match.
Knowing that they needed a win in order to keep its season alive, Carleton continued to press and managed to stretch its shot advantage to 8-1 by the halftime whistle. The Knights, however, were unable to convert on any of those attempts and went into the break down by a goal.
The Oles nearly tacked on an insurance goal in the 53rd minute when Coulombe pushed an Ole shot off the crossbar and out of harms way. And just two minutes later, off of a second straight corner kick, the cross-town rivals found a way to notch that insurance goal. Olaf midfielder Emma Crumley was in good position after a curling corner kick sailed into the middle of the box, and the Ole headed the ball into the back of the net. With the score 2-0, it was time for the Knights to really get the offense going.
Carleton held a 7-5 advantage in shots in the second half and threatened to score multiple times down the stretch, including on a header from senior Kaitlyn Gerber (Ridgefield, Conn./Ridgefield) in the 73rd minute that was forced high by pressure from Forbes, but the home squad was unable to breakthrough in what proved to be their final game of the season. Perhaps the Knights best chance came in the 81st minute when the rebound from a Nina Shapiro (Sr./Westwood, Mass./Westwood) shot settled in front of Knight defender Madelaine Horn (So./Hamilton, Ont./Westdale Secondary). Horn, who was open in space on the upper-right side of the penalty box, launched a rocket towards the Ole goal box, but once again the Carleton offense was stymied by a brilliant stop from Forbes, who registered five saves—many of the highlight variety—to help preserve the clean sheet and the victory.
In addition to ending the Knights’ season, the loss also marks the end of the collegiate careers of six Carleton seniors. In addition to Gerber and Shapiro, the Knights say goodbye to captains Layne Teska (Sr./Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) and Annika Ord (Sr./Juneau, Alaska/Douglas), midfielder Arielle Koshkin (Sr./Oakland, Calif./Head Royce School), and defender Erin Wilson (Sr./Novato, Calif./Marin Academy).