By Jordy Manker
It was a great weekend for Pioneer soccer as the men’s and women’s teams won three out of four games. Both teams were looking to get back on track after opening the season with several tough losses.
After suffering a non-conference loss to University of Dubuque, which has a 14-3 record, on Wednesday September 26, the men’s team found their stride this weekend, cruising to two wins over Midwest Conference opponents. The men started off the weekend against Knox College on Saturday and, after jumping out to a 3-0 lead at halftime, never looked back, finishing the game 4-1. Elliot Meyer ’15 led the team with two goals while Joey Brown ’15 and Victor Ghazal ’16 notched one score a piece. The men were able to ride the momentum of their win through the next day, defeating Cornell College in a similar fashion on Sunday with a final score of 4-0. Brown, who leads the team with seven goals, scored twice against Cornell while Benjamin Charney ’15 and Pun Winichakul ’13 each contributed one goal. The men’s team now has a record of 5-5-1 overall and 3-2 in conference. Both the players and coaches recognize the significance of their wins this weekend as they are enjoying a three game conference win streak and a lot of momentum as they head deeper into conference play.
“It’s huge for our confidence,” Meyer said, who added an assist against Cornell. “We got back on the right foot in conference.”
“Any time you score eight goals in a weekend, you’re going to gain some confidence as a team,” head coach Brian Jaworski said.
The team now stands in fifth place in the conference and while Jaworski is happy with the wins over the weekend, he has already shifted his sights to their next game. This Saturday, October 6, the Pioneers travel to Beloit College where they will take on the Buccaneers who are tied with Grinnell for fifth in conference.
“This game coming up here on Saturday is obviously a big game,” Jaworski said. “Beloit College is arguably one of the better attacking teams in our conference.”
Despite Beloit’s strong attacking power, Meyer believes the Pioneers have a good shot at getting the win and making a strong push for the playoffs.
“With the right mindset, we can beat anyone in conference,” he said.
The women’s team faced a similar situation going into the weekend. After being shutout their first five games, the Pioneers have scored 14 goals in their last six games, going 4-2 over that stretch. They entered the weekend attempting to strengthen their position in the conference standings and were able to accomplish this with a victory on Saturday over Knox College. It was a hard-fought game and the Pioneers were able to ride Maddie Gray’s [’16] 66th minute goal to the end of the game. The final score was 1-0. The women did not fare so well the next game against the Augustana Vikings, who have an 8-2 overall record. The non-conference opponent defeated the Pioneers 6-1. Again, Gray delivered the lone Grinnell goal.
On Wednesday October 3, the Pioneers faced the Cornell College Rams, which yielded a higher scoring affair for the Pioneers than the weekend. Patty Murphy-Geiss ’14 tallied two goals and Pauline Zheng ’14, Mackenzie Shanahan ’14, Abby Jaeger ’14 and Kathryn Vincent ’13 added one each as the Pioneers steamrolled Cornell 6-0.
Despite the loss to Augustana, Grinnell maintains a four-game conference win streak and are feeling good about the rest of the season.
“It’s definitely boosting our confidence,” said goalkeeper Jordan Young ’14.
The Pioneers now own a 4-6-1 record overall, but a 4-1 record in league play, putting them at second place in the MWC, one game behind Lake Forest College. While they are happy with their current regular season standing, they already have their sights set on the postseason and have big things in mind.
“Our goal is to make it to the conference tournament,” added Young, “and hopefully win that.”
The women will join the men’s team on October 6 at Beloit College for their next game.