October 18, 1996
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As thousands thronged the stands of Jake Christensen Stadium to watch the football game last Saturday, a smaller, more personal group sat a little to the east in the stands of the soccer field watching the women's soccer team defeat Bethel 3-1.
Though the crowd was small in number, they were serious fans. Fans like the couple who argued about which corner kick formation had been more effective for the team over the last several games.
There were fans like the gentleman who recited, kick-by-kick, the team's last several scoring sequences, which took place the previous week.
There were also fans like Christina Myren, who flies to Concordia from her home in Thousand Oaks, Calif., several times each year (on frequent flier miles she says), to watch her daughter, junior midfielder Tina Myren, play. Despite the distance, she loves watching her daughter play, especially on weekends like this one.
"It's real exciting, and the weather is perfect; it's nicer than it was in California," she said. She also had the opportunity to see her daughter score a goal for the first time. "It was a good feeling," said Tina.
Myren's goal, scored off a deflection by the Bethel goalie, came just four minutes into the first half, which Concordia dominated. The Cobbers often worked the ball down the right sideline with forwards Allison Daehlin and Allison Smith, and Myren, whose goal gave her three for the year. They also controlled the play at midfield, several times establishing nine or ten players on the offensive side of midfield. This combination generated six scoring chances in the first half.
One of those chances was converted by Angela Tohm, a senior forward, for her team-leading tenth tally of the year. The goal, scored midway through the half, was assisted by senior defender Kari Eissinger.
"It was a through ball, and I just took it in by myself," said Tohm.
The lead came despite several costly mistakes. Although the Cobbers held the Bethel team scoreless, they allowed Bethel several good scoring chances, forcing sophomore goalie Amy Gentz to make last-second saves. Gentz finished the game with four saves, running her total to 80 for the season.
The second half was more methodical as Concordia played to protect its lead, not venturing quite so aggressively into the offensive zone. The Cobbers did add a third goal, by senior midfielder Jessica Sauer, off a corner kick fifteen minutes into the half. The goal ran Sauer's total to five on the season.
Bethel managed to get on the board with 3:21 remaining, but it was too late to allow a comeback.
"It was a good win for us; we needed a conference win," said Tohm.
The win moves Concordia into seventh place in the MIAC, with a record of 7-5-1. They play at St. Thomas today at 4:00 p.m. Myren stresses the importance of the St. Thomas game on the team's playoff chances. According to Myren, the chances of making the playoffs are "close if we beat St. Thomas and St. Mary's, but we have to take one game at a time and beat St. Thomas."
Tohm echoed this sentiment. Concordia lost last year's game against St. Thomas in overtime, thanks in part to some questionable calls. According to Tohm, this year's match will be a "revenge game."
Concordia football fell to St. Thomas in last Saturday's Homecoming game by a score of 42-24, giving the Cobbers their second consecutive loss of the season. It was also the second year in a row the Cobbers have lost to the Tommies.
St. Thomas scored early when quarterback Chris Esterly threw a touchdown pass to tight end Ryan Collins, giving the Tommies a 7-0 lead. The Cobbers came back with a drive into St. Thomas territory, but settled with a field goal by freshman defensive end Clayton Horgan.
With a score of 7-3, St. Thomas delivered three more touchdowns to finish the first half at 28-3. The Tommies scored again right after halftime. Concordia returned with a six-yard touchdown catch by senior wide receiver Tory Langemo, and senior halfback Eli Schuff added a touchdown run.
Concordia struggled to stop the passing attack of Esterly and the Tommies. Esterly completed 19 of 21 passes for 348 yards and five touchdowns. Collins caught ten passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, Tommy running back Matt Petrika gained 99 yards on 26 carries.
The Concordia offense did not fare so well with sophomore quarterback Ethan Pole completing only 11 of 26 passes for 138 yards for a 48 percent completion rate. Schuff was held to just 40 yards on 11 carries. However, senior defensive lineman Jason Caron kept the team alive with 14 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery.
This weekend, the Cobbers travel to Collegeville to take on St. John's, currently the number one offense in the MIAC averaging 481 yards per game.
Pulling out a pair of victories, the Concordia men's soccer team beat St. Thomas 1-0 on Saturday and Hamline 3-0 on Tuesday. The game against the Tommies was important, as the win put the Cobbers at the top in the MIAC points race.
"We were pretty pumped up because it was Homecoming and we hadn't beaten St. Thomas in four years,"said senior goalie Chad Anderson.
All the scoring of the St. Thomas game occurred right before halftime in the 44th minute. Junior midfielder Jim Stone put in an unassisted goal to give the Cobbers the lead. Anderson protected the score with nine saves and his fifth shutout of the season.
"The defense won this game. Chad Anderson played outstanding; Forrest Olsen had his best college game ever; on the outside Todd Stebleton and Ryan Williams held their forwards in check; and Zach Brumbach also played well," said head coach Jim Cella. "Stone is a great point supplier right when we really need it; also Pete Benson is doing great."
Last year St. Thomas made it to the national tournament by beating Concordia, so the Cobbers were ready for a rematch.
"We've been counting down the days since last year's loss to meet them again," said Cella. "We outplayed them and it showed, because we came out with more emotion and had more stamina."
On Tuesday the Cobbers traveled to St. Paul to take on Hamline in a game which worried Cella.
"Hamline does scare me the most, because they are not a traditionally strong team, but they have posted some good results lately," said Cella.
However, it didn't take long for Concordia to take charge. In the fourth minute, freshman forward Josh Spaulding netted his third goal of the year, assisted by sophomore midfielder Eric Berg and junior midfielder Todd Hashbarger. Hashbarger led the team with six assists.
Five minutes later, Berg put in an unassisted goal to make it 2-0. The goal was Berg's fifth of the year. The scoring was wrapped up in the 28th minute as freshman Micah Benson scored his first goal in collegiate play. The goal was assisted by Berg and midfielder Pete Benson. The Cobbers dominated the game, racking up 15 shots on the goal to the Pipers' five.
"We're just starting to play good again," said Stone. "We had kind of a mid-season slump."
With those wins, Concordia has a two-point conference lead over Gustavus Adolphus and a three-point cushion over St. Thomas. The Cobbers are 6-1 in the conference and 8-2-1 overall, and in a recent Division III national poll, they are ranked 16th. Over midsemester break, the men's team will travel east to play Roanoke College and Greensboro. The Cobbers then take on St. John's here on Oct. 26 for their last home game of the season.
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