Tim Wills blasts home his 10th goal of the year late in the first half of the MIAC Playoffs Final at St. Olaf (photo by Tom Dahlin)
NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Despite a pair of first-half goals and some solid work by goalkeeper James Neher (So./Mahtomedi, Minn.), the Carleton College men’s soccer team came up short in its quest for a MIAC Playoff crown to pair with its regular-season title. The Knights lost to cross-town rival St. Olaf College 3-2 in two overtimes.
This was the third time in the last four years that the Knights participated in the MIAC Playoffs championship match.
“I am VERY proud of our every single player on our roster,” said Carleton head coach Bob Carlson. “A loss like today stings, and it stings even more because our four seniors fought to the very end—all 107 minutes. It was fitting of a championship game and thrilling to the very last whistle.”
Even though the Knights seized the early momentum, it was the Oles who wound up with the first major scoring opportunity of the day. After being fouled inside the box, Rosenthal was awarded a penalty kick, but Neher registered the huge save diving to his right.
Despite that missed opportunity, the Oles still struck first in the 23rd minute. Following a flurry of activity in front of the Carleton goal. Nick Lund had the first chance, but Neher made a diving save. Rosenthal rebound attempt was also stopped by the Carleton keeper. Finally, Blake Dressen stepped up and put the ball in the back of the net.
The Knights tallied the equalizer in the 38th minute. Alex Voorhees (Jr./Winnetka, Ill./New Trier) took a free kick from outside the box. Neil Bartholomay (So./St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) headed the ball across the goal mouth and Devin Tomson-Moylan (Fy./St. Paul, Minn./Central) finished it for his first goal of the season.
Barely five minutes later, Tim Wills (Sr./Portland, Ore./Central Catholic) found a cross from Ryan Cammarota (Sr./Neenah, Wis.) in front o fthe goal and buried it to lift the Knights to a 2-1 lead.
St. Olaf recaptured the momentum after intermission, possessing the ball for the majority of the half. The Oles would knot the score in the 66th minute when David Rosenthal took a free kick from just outside the Carleton 18-yard box . Neher got a hand on the shot but couldn’t keep it out of the back of the net.
Neher registered another fine stop moments later intercepting Nick Lund’s curving attempt. Rosenthal tried to go near post but was denied again by Neher with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
Jordan Cammarota (Fy./Neenah, Wis.) nearly ended it with his blast with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first overtime period.
Neither team could break the deadlock until Rostenthal delivered in the 107th minute. He found himself alone in space atop the 18-yard box and put the ball into the lower left corner of the net past Neher, punching the Oles ticket into the NCAA Championships as they earned the MIAC’s automatic bid to the national tournament.
The Knights must now wait with fingers crossed until Monday when the full 61-team field is announced. In addition to 41 automatic qualifiers, and 1 Pool B team (from conferences without an AQ), there are 19 at-large bids to be handed out. NCAA.com reports that it will have the selection show at 12 p.m. CST on Monday.