Written by Sasha Cohen
Basking in last week’s successes against Centenary College and Austin College, the Colorado College men’s soccer team had high hopes for their games this past weekend. They emerged with a win against Schreiner University and a close loss to Trinity University, the highest ranked team in all of D-III men’s soccer.
Last Friday night, CC played the Trinity University Tigers on Washburn field. Throughout the first half, the Tigers deftly handled the ball and clearly dominated the game, taking eight shots while Trinity managed only three. The half consisted of mostly neutral zone play, due to CC’s strong defense—an impressive feat considering Trinity’s high ranking. Despite TU’s two corner kicks, CC kept the score tied up at 0-0 for the entire first half.
“The first half, in particular, was probably the best half of soccer I have seen in my four years at CC,” said Head Coach Scott Palguta. Senior Captain Soren Frykholm said, “It was just such a fun night, such a fun atmosphere. The game just had an intensity to it that was really fun. [It was] one of the most memorable games I’ve played at CC.”
The second half began much like the first half with a lot of midfield play, however, CC played more offensively in the 64th minute. It was then that junior Joel Frykholm volleyed the ball towards the goal from 22 yards out and it deflected off of a TU defender and flew past their goalkeeper, Todd Whittaker. The first goal of the night marked Frykholm’s first goal as a Tiger. Soon after, with only 18:33 left in the game, CC nearly doubled their lead when junior forward Sam Markin forced a Trinity defender into a weak pass and beat him to the ball, shooting just outside the left post.
In the 81st minute, Trinity’s Laurence Wyke, a sophomore midfielder, evened out the score after heading a cross from Ryan Hunter past junior goalkeeper Theo Hooker. Then, with only 3:17 left in the game, Trinity’s Donovan Smith scored from eight yards out, putting them in the lead. With limited time left in the game, CC could not manage to even out the score.
“I think we just couldn’t quite sustain what we had going for 80 minutes,” noted Frykholm. “We started to fatigue physically and mentally.” The team is still proud of how they played: “Our game plan was to put them under pressure in a way they hadn’t experienced yet this season,” said Frykholm, “and I think we were pretty happy with our performance.” Palguta said, “I think the only lesson to be learned is that soccer is a 90-minute game,” in reflection. “You can do everything right for 80 minutes, but you have to see it out.”
Two days later, on Sunday afternoon, CC celebrated Senior Day at Stewart field, where they faced off against Schreiner University.
Markin scored the first goal of the game in the 24th minute, after an assist from sophomore midfielder Robert Malone allowed junior midfielder Tim Huettel to set up the play. The score remained 1-0 until 12 minutes into the second half, when junior midfielder Joel Frykholm sprinted 50 yards down the center of the field into the penalty area, slipping the ball past Schreiner goalie Brandon Anselmi. 22 minutes later, Frykholm notched yet another goal for the Tigers after an assist from junior midfielder Austin Hammer allowed him to take a shot from the middle of the 18-yard box. That tally marked Frykholm’s third goal of the weekend, of the season, and of his CC career. With just under three minutes left in the game, sophomore forward Daniel Krueger took a touch from Huettel and slipped past Anselmi, who had come off the line to challenge, easily scoring into an empty net and ending the game with a score of 4-0.
“I think [the team cohesion] is incredible,” Palguta said, “and Sunday’s game is testament to that.” Palguta applauded his team for their ability to bounce back from Friday’s loss to Trinity. “When you play the number one team in the country…And you put so much into it emotionally, physically, mentally, it’s very draining,” he noted. “To have to put that aside the next day and turn your attention to the next game can be a really difficult thing to do and the guys put together an unbelievable performance on Sunday. That’s the sign of a really mature, responsible but cohesive and supportive group.”
The Tigers faced off against Johnson and Wales University on Tuesday night in their final home game of the season. In a relatively uneventful game dominated by penalties and yellow cards, Markin scored the lone goal of the game which was enough for CC to come away with the win. After Markin evaded a defender and took the ball down the left side of the field, he curled a shot inside the far post from 12 yards out to beat JWU goalkeeper junior Jordan Collier.
Ultimately, it was a successful weekend for CC’s men’s soccer. Despite their loss to Trinity on Friday, their level of playing was extremely high on Sunday. Palguta views the game on Friday as “a valuable learning experience and something which we can easily turn into positive as we push towards the end of our season.”
This weekend, the Tigers are heading to Texas to play Texas Lutheran University and Southwestern University. Palguta is hopeful about this weekend, but says the team is simply trying to “take it one day, one step at a time and trust the depth and quality of our group.”