Soccer cruising into the postseason

The Augustana women’s soccer team has three more games before the start of the NSIC tournament. With the season coming close to an end, they sit at an overall record of 10-3-2. With their most recent wins against St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth, the women are now in third place in the conference. 

This season is the return of women’s soccer after the cancelation due to COVID-19. This brought players back to the field, with sophomores playing on the field for the first time at the collegiate level. Sophomore Hope Korte remarks how her expectations about a season with games have been surpassed. 

“I think coming in I knew it was going to be a tough challenge, but our team has stepped up and risen to the occasion on multiple instances,”Korte said.

On Oct. 17, the Vikings beat the University of Mary Marauders by a score of 3-2. Junior Kelly Kleekamp scored the game-winning goal in overtime for the Vikings. The Marauders fouled senior Morgan Keirstead in the box, giving the Vikings a penalty kick. 

“In the game against University of Mary, it was the opportunity to win the game. So I did what any individual on the team would do, I stepped up to the spot set, took a deep breath and put it into the back of the net,” Kleekamp said. 

They also celebrated and honored their seniors. Keirstead will continue to play for her fifth year because of last year’s cancelation. Meghan Kuntz will not be returning to play soccer for her fifth season, but she will be finishing up her education as a biology and psychology double major with minors in sign language studies and chemistry.

“After four years of playing at Augie, I have met some of my best friends and will truly miss playing soccer with everyone,” Keirstead said. 

Kuntz hopes to extend this season deep into the postseason and make Viking history. 

“Every game we play is a battle, but we are connecting really well as a team,” Kuntz said. “We have improved so much, and our goal for the season is to take a run in the NCAA tournament further than any other in Augustana history.”

This past weekend, the team traveled to Minnesota to play against the St. Cloud State Huskies and the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. The game against the Huskies ended with a score of 3-1. The Vikings had 12 total shots in the game, with seven on goal. Junior goalkeeper Jillian Barkus had eight saves.

On Sunday, Oct. 24, the Vikings defeated UMD 2-0. Late goals from senior Alexis Legg and junior Josie Arduser sealed what would mark the Vikings seventh consecutive win.

“It was a game of patience,” coach Brandon Barkus said. “We moved the ball incredibly well. However, Minnesota Duluth closed much of the space, and we struggled to go forward. UMD truly battled, and it’s difficult to get a win at their place, so I am very excited to get the win.”

The Vikings will return to Morstad field for their last home regular season game on Oct. 29. The Peacocks of Upper Iowa will come to town looking to end the Vikings’ winning streak. 

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