Auggie Soccer Begins Path to MIAC Title

Hayden Audette, sports editor 

The Augsburg Men’s and Women’s Soccer programs have started Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) play, and both teams got off to strong starts in their opening games. 

The Auggie men started off their MIAC campaign with a convincing home victory over the Hamline Pipers on Tuesday, Sept. 13. For the first 22 minutes of the game, neither team found the back of the net. After that point, the Auggies exploded with four goals in an 11-minute span. The opener was put in by senior midfielder Nick Zuchowski, who scored on a brilliant 25-yard free kick attempt from a tough angle to give Augsburg a 1-0 advantage. This lead would be extended just 22 seconds of game time later, after sophomore forward Tomas Piza quickly put in another goal to make the score 2-0. Zuchowski would score again on a penalty kick nine minutes later, finishing off his second goal of the night and Augsburg’s third. The Auggies finished their first half flurry shortly after that, when first year midfielder Jeffrey Richter scored his first college goal in the 34th minute to make it a 4-0 Augsburg lead. That would be the final score of the game, as neither side found the net in the second half. 

It was the Auggie Women’s team’s turn to host Hamline the following night, and it was a much more even first half than the Men’s game. Neither team scored in the opening 45 minutes and both recorded six shots. The second half was a much different story as Augsburg quickly broke the game open. Sophomore midfielder Annika Rudolph scored the opener just one minute after play restarted, after a blocked shot came back to her and she was able to put the ball in the net on a rebound. That made the score 1-0 in favor of the Auggies, and it would not be long before they would get a second goal. Just after the 60-minute mark, sophomore forward Jayla Ponce converted a penalty kick to give Augsburg a little breathing room, as they now led 2-0 with only a half hour left. Hamline would make things a little interesting late in the game, as first year forward Denise Hamdan scored for the Pipers with eight minutes to go to cut the lead to 2-1. The Auggies were able to hang on, however, securing a win to open conference play. 

On Saturday, Sept. 17, both teams traveled to take on the Macalester Scots. The Women’s team dominated in a 4-1 win, thanks to two more goals from Ponce and one each from seniors Molly Conners and Jennifer Bobaric. The Men’s game was much less eventful, with the Auggies and Scots settling for a 0-0 tie. Men’s Soccer head coach Greg Holker is optimistic about his team’s chances for the rest of the season, but he believes there is still more work to be done. “Taking 4-of-6 points to start the MIAC portion of our season is okay but not what we wanted,” Holker said regarding his team’s start to conference play. “We want to win the MIAC title. Although every other team wants to do the same thing, we know we have the players and culture in place to make it happen.”