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Auggie Soccer Season Ends at Bethel

Hayden Audette, sports editor

Heading into their final games of the season against the Bethel Royals on Saturday, Oct. 29, both the Augsburg University mens and womens soccer teams knew that they were still in the running for the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) soccer playoffs as long as they achieved a positive result. 

The women’s game was first on the schedule. Bethel opened the scoring a few minutes into the first half, with junior defender Abby Swanda scoring on a penalty kick attempt at the 3:49 mark of the game. This put the Auggies behind 1-0 early, and this would remain the score for the remainder of the first 45 minutes. After the teams came back out for the second half, it was the Auggies who found the net first to tie the game up at 1. Jennifer Bobaric, a senior forward playing in potentially her final game for Augsburg, scored her fourth goal of the year at the 54:16 mark. That made the score 1-1 with over 35 minutes left in the game for either side to find a winner. The game remained tied until Bethel struck twice in a span of eight minutes. First, the Royals’ senior defender Jess Van Wyk gave her team a 2-1 advantage at the 72:46 mark. Then, Swanda scored her second goal of the game with 10 minutes left to extend Bethel’s lead to 3-1. The Auggies would pull one back with five minutes remaining thanks to a goal from first-year defender and midfielder Allison Hookom, but time would run out before they were able to find an equalizer. This meant that the final game of the season for the Womens soccer team would end 3-2 in favor of Bethel. 

After the women’s game ended, the mens team took the field. The Auggie men only needed a draw to ensure that they would continue their season in the playoffs. Things did not start out in their favor, as Bethel jumped out in front early just like they did in the women’s game. Five-and-a-half minutes after the opening kickoff, Royals junior midfielder Lucas Johnson scored to put his team in front 1-0. At the 18:31 mark, Johnson would add a second to extend the Bethel lead to 2-0. That would be the final score, as neither team was able to find a goal for the remainder of the game. The Auggies were not without their chances, however. They finished the game with a 54 percent to 46 percent possession advantage and seven total shots. Unfortunately, none of those shots crossed the goal line. The result meant that Bethel would finish above the Auggies in the MIAC standings, whereas Augsburg’s season would end without a playoff appearance. 

Although both the Augsburg mens and womens soccer teams would have obviously liked to continue their seasons in the conference playoffs, the disappointing ending does not define the whole season. 

One positive storyline from the season for both teams is that they were both led by young players with very bright futures. On the men’s side, sophomore forward Kebba Janneh tied the single-season record for goals by an Augsburg player with 14, and he also had three assists. The Auggie women were also led by a sophomore forward, Jayla Ponce. Ponce put in six goals for Augsburg and assisted on four more. Both teams will also be retaining most of their players from this season next year. 

Despite both teams falling short of their goal of the conference playoffs this year, there’s plenty of reasons to feel good about the future of Auggie soccer.