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Schedule and Results

Result: T 0-0 (2OT)

Men's Soccer vs. Saint Mary's University

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 – 3:30 p.m. at Northfield, Minn. - Bell Field

Knights celebrate Senior Day by clinching postseason berth

By Eli Inkelas '20
Stephen Baisch
Stephen Baisch
Photo: Geoffrey Mo '19

NORTHFIELD, Minn. -- The Carleton College men’s soccer team clinched a playoff berth for the MIAC-best 11th consecutive season after playing Saint Mary’s University to a 0-0 (2OT) draw on an especially windy afternoon.

The tie—combined with Augsburg’s loss to MIAC-leader St. Thomas—punched the Knights’ (10-6-1, 4-4-1 MIAC) ticket for yet another return trip to the postseason. The MIAC’s next-longest active streak of playoff appearances is five, held by Saint John’s which is currently sixth in the conference standings. Carleton will open the MIAC Playoffs on the road with a quarterfinal match on Oct. 31 against an opponent still to be determined.

Tuesday also marked the final regular-season home game for the four seniors on the Carleton roster: Stephen Baisch (Sr./Williamstown, Mass./Deerfield Academy), Jack Lightbody (Sr./Etna, N.H./Hanover), and goalkeepers Brandon Hilliard (Sr./Anoka, Minn./Totino Grace) and Aidan Mullan (Sr./Iowa City, Iowa/Regina).

“As I told the team in the post-game huddle, our senior group may have tied their final regular season home game but, they were winners on every measure today,” said Carleton head coach Bob Carlson.

“Stephen simply worked himself to the point of exhaustion and then kept giving more and willing us forward. His determination, grit and talent out wide created countless chances, and he fought relentlessly defensively. Jack was rock steady as usual. He’s been a pillar for us and his play is a big part in leading our backline. As he has done all year, he won a couple of vital challenges.

“Brandon cut out everything today and made a couple difficult saves look easy. He’s been terrific, and his big saves throughout the season have led our defensive unit. Like Stephen, he has been an outstanding captain and leader.

“And then Aidan stepped in today was his usual unflappable self. He came in literally cold given the conditions and commanded his box. We always know we can count on Aidan. He’s always engaged, encouraging the team, and it showed today how prepared he is for any situation.”

Carleton’s defense is firing on all cylinders and is prepared for a playoff run: the back line has now gone 498 consecutive minutes across six games without conceding a goal. Hilliard and Mullan combined on the Knights’ 11th shutout of the season, most in the MIAC this season.

Strong winds up the length of the field dictated play for much of the game, and Carleton dominated the run of play with the wind at their backs during the first half. Trevor Freeland (Jr./DeKalb, Ill./DeKalb) nearly put Carleton up in the 15th minute, but a one-handed diving save from the Cardinals’ (8-8-1, 2-6-1 MIAC) Nate Levy kept the Knights’ leading scorer from adding to his season total.

Carleton nearly struck towards the end of the half, but Levy saved attempts by Kohl Sparrman (Jr./Apple Valley, Minn./Rosemount) and Brennan Johnson (Fy./Portland, Ore./Grant) minutes before intermission. Carleton finished the half with 9-1 advantage in shot attempts, five of which were on goal.

The second half was a true end-to-end battle, with both teams mounting attack after attack. Carleton finished the game with 29 shots, while Saint Mary’s, desperately needing a win to keep its postseason hopes alive, tried to pressure in the attacking third. Levy saved the day for the visitors twice late in regulation as he stymied breakaways from Freeland and William Lanzillo (Jr./Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West).

Carleton maintained the attack during the overtime periods, recording a combined 8-0 edge in shots during the extra time.

Carleton closes out the MIAC regular season with a 12 p.m. match on Saturday, Oct. 28 at Saint John’s. The Knights will be looking to secure the No. 5 seed with a victory or a tie.

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