On a cold, wet, cloudy day, Connor Kasch’s ‘17 goal from a corner kick proved the ray of sunshine that the Knights needed as the Carleton College women’s soccer team sloshed to a 1-0 victory against the University of St. Thomas.
“Today, we came out focused, we warmed up focused, and I thought the entire game we were focused,” said Carleton head coach Jocelyn Keller. “St. Thomas is a fast, athletic and well-organized team. They gave us a great game and fought to the wire.”
The conditions on the pitch limited both teams, as players slipped and slid while attempting to maintain control of the ball. Carleton (8-8-1, 6-4 MIAC) found themselves limited to just nine shots over the course of the match. St. Thomas (9-7-1, 5-4-1 MIAC) put several dangerous shots on net but were unable to finish the ball, striking the side post of the Knights’ net twice during the match, and having a third shot destined for the twine knocked away by Caroline Sheffield ‘17.
“A few huge plays in the defensive third kept us in the game,” Keller said. “[Goalkeeper] Mikayla Coulombe and our back-line had a terrific game, and we managed to score off a set piece which is something the team has been working on.”
The goal came in the 82nd minute, when Kasch lined up to take the corner kick. Kasch curled the ball towards the goal line. Tommies’ goalkeeper Jenny Grahek leapt over Sheffield to stop the initial shot, but Grahek was unable to control the wet ball, which bounced off her knee and across the goal line.
Despite a furious assault and dominant possession from St. Thomas as they sought the equalizer, the Knights’ defense buckled down and limited the Tommies to just one shot over the closing eight minutes of play.
That shot, coming in the 87th minute, nearly tied the contest as a blast by St. Thomas’ Mary Grace Flesher from range bounced beyond the reach of Coulombe and off the right post. Thanks to some aggressive play disrupting St. Thomas attacks and assistance from the goal posts, Coulombe registered her 14th career shutout for Carleton.
The Knights needed a win today to keep their postseason hopes alive, finding themselves on the bubble of the playoff bracket, which takes the top four squads from the MIAC. Now in possession of 18 points, they have eliminated the Tommies from playoff contention but still require some assistance to advance to the second season.
In order for Carleton to pick up a playoff berth, the Knights now need a victory over St. Olaf plus a St. Thomas triumph over Augsburg in the regular-season finales for those four squads on Saturday, Nov. 2.