Soccer wraps up season in historic fashion

Sam Curry

currysam@grinnell.edu

Katy Oldach ’16 set the women’s record for total saves in her last collegiate game.   Photo by  Jun Taek Lee

Katy Oldach ’16 set the women’s record for total saves in her last collegiate game.
Photo by Jun Taek Lee

The men’s and women’s soccer teams finished off their respective seasons last weekend with a pair of exciting, record-breaking victories. The women’s team defeated Beloit College 2-0, while the men’s team eviscerated Beloit with a score of 10-0.

For the women, goals from Carolyn Silverman ’17 and LilyRose Weiss ’18 produced the women’s victory in conjunction with Katy Oldach’s ’16 five saves. With these stops, Oldach set the school’s all-time record for career saves.

Although she was aware that setting the record was a possibility, Oldach says she didn’t prioritize it during her preparation for the game.

“I wasn’t really focused on that, I just wanted us to have a good last season,” Oldach said. “But it was kind of cool to get to say that.”

Kirsten Russell, the head women’s soccer coach, agreed that while breaking the record was a big accomplishment, Oldach remained focused on the team rather than herself.

“She was very modest about it, [she] didn’t really want her teammates to know she was closing in on it … she was very focused on trying to motivate and encourage and be present and just play the best game that she could,” Russell said.

Oldach was more focused on both the end of the season and of her collegiate career. The previous three seasons the team made the Conference tournament, but since they did not make it this year, they went into this match with the knowledge that it would be the last of the season.

“It was honestly just nice knowing that we could leave it on the field. [It was] very emotional,” Oldach said.

Russell agreed that the game was quite emotional, but said the team did a good job of focusing on the task at hand.

“I thought they did a fantastic job of locking it up as much as possible, but when they stepped off that field, it just was overwhelming,” Russell said.

Meanwhile, the men’s team put on a display of offensive and defensive dominance against an overmatched Beloit team. Even more notable than the lopsided score was the fact that all ten goals were scored by a different player, including David Leitson, Michael Hurley, Caelum Froikin and Joey Saenz, all ’16 – a fitting result for Senior Day. According to Hurley, the team was aware of Beloit’s weaknesses and was eager to capitalize on them.

“Once we got a couple [goals] in on them, everything went in. I think they gave up a little bit,” Hurley said.

However, both Hurley and Brian Jaworski, the men’s head coach, agreed that the team was neither aiming for a blowout nor trying to get ten different players a goal.

“I like that we did it with style and class, everybody likes to win,” Jaworski said. “Our intention was not to run up the score … [but] it was five-nothing at half and … I said ‘guys, it has to be ten.’”

Like the women’s team, the men’s team went into their match knowing they had not qualified for Conference and that this would be the last match of their season and of the seniors’ collegiate careers. The finality of this game, along with the uneven scoring, allowed for moments of introspection while the game was still underway.

“It was one of those games where, because the score was so lopsided, you were able to reflect a bit, while it was happening, and if you’re going to go out in a game, this is definitely the way to do it,” Hurley said.

Both Hurley and Jaworski singled out Eric Paige ’19 as a notable performer from the game. Although Paige scored the last goal of the game, when the outcome was firmly decided, the extraordinary circumstances of the goal stand out. According to Jaworski, a player was injured and he asked Hurley to choose a replacement.

“He turns, and I know who he’s going to pick, and he said ‘Eric!’ and so Eric Paige, who hasn’t played a single second the entire season … he goes out there and David Leitson nutmegs someone right in front of our bench and slots a really perfectly shaped, perfectly-weighted ball to the back … and here comes Eric, his first college touch ever, and bang! – back of the net,” Jaworski said.