After a roller-coaster season, Monmouth managed to claim their berth in the playoff tournament with a compressive 3-0 win at Ripon College. A delayed kick-off moved the game to be played at 4 pm on the football field at Ripon College. Conditions were windy and icy and, no doubt, the coldest conditions I have played in.
Consequently, it took the Scots a while to warm up as both teams seemed nervous to be the first ones to take the risk. However, the more fancied Scots created the most threatening chances and just before the end of the half found the breakthrough thanks to the mercurial Alvarez who pounced on a spilled ball from the Ripon Goalkeeper. Midway through the second half, the diminutive forward duo of Lucas Sondgeroth and Nico Esparon combined to add a second goal consolidating the lead for the Scots. Monmouth sealed the game as Lucas Nilsson’s perseverant run was rewarded as the defender found the back of the net with a self-proclaimed Puskas award-winning goal, capping off a well-rounded display as the Scots kept another shutout.
For the first time since 2001, the men’s team has returned to the conference tournament creating another first for coach Kooten Johnson. When asked about his team’s performance this season, Coach Johnson remarked at his team’s ability to battle in the face of adversity after heartbreaking losses to Lake Forest and Grinnell. The Scots were able to respond and get the job done, Coach Johnson notes, “We had a good level of ups and downs and we have worked hard to correct our mistakes and the team morale has been good.” After many seasons in the wilderness, the Scots are determined to make an impact in the playoffs playing not only for the seniors who have been such a big part in the resurgence of this program but also for the other players and coaches who have gone through the program. Coach Johnson vehemently states, “We are not done yet.”
The Scots now face local rivals, Knox College, in a mouthwatering clash as they became the conference regular-season champions over the weekend. Kick-off will be on Friday at 2 pm at Knox College as the Scots continue to rewrite history.
Kieren Marshall – Contributing Writer