Sports talk: big games, promising teams to watch this fall
Following an outstanding 2012-2013 season for St. Olaf athletes, a few crucial months lie ahead for our fall teams. St. Olaf teams hope to make a huge impact not only within the MIAC but also on a national level. The men’s and women’s cross country teams, both of which are returning several star performers, will lead the way as several other Ole teams also set their sights on a title. Mark your calendar for these must-watch sporting events.
On Sept. 21, the men’s and women’s cross country teams will host the St. Olaf Invitational on campus. The race will provide a good hit-out for both teams, who will be looking to replicate their successful 2012 performances. The men’s team, which includes MIAC champion Grant Wintheiser ’15, finished 14th at the NCAA Division III Championships and at the top of the MIAC.
The women’s team finished 8th at the Championships and narrowly took 2nd in the conference. With November’s MIAC Championship looming just ahead, the St. Olaf Invitational offers a fantastic chance to see our cross country teams launch their bid for a national title.
The St. Olaf football team will also be a contender in a MIAC anticipated to be one of the nation’s strongest conferences. After losing star quarterback Dan Dobson ’13, the team hopes to rebuild quickly. On Oct. 5, Manitou Field will host an important game for the Oles: a clash against St. John’s University. As has been the case in previous seasons, the game against the Johnnies may prove to be a battle for a spot in the MIAC top two.
Other must-see home events include the game against defending conference champions University of St. Thomas on Nov. 16 and the annual “Cereal Bowl” against Carleton College on Oct. 26. The Cereal Bowl will decide this year’s owner of the legendary “Goat Trophy.”
Not to be outdone, the men’s and women’s soccer teams seem confident that they will place at the top of their conference. After claiming the MIAC title in 2011, the men’s team will be looking to bounce back from a relatively disappointing 4th place finish in 2012. Bolstering their chances of returning to the national tournament is the return of star striker and former MIAC player of the year David Rosenthal ’14. Rosenthal comes off a strong performance at the 2013 Maccabiah Games, where he represented the U.S. on the fifth place team. The home match against Luther College on Sept. 15 will provide a litmus test for the team’s future aspirations. The Nov. 15 home game against 2012 MIAC champions Carleton College also has season-defining potential for the Oles.
The women’s soccer team aims to carry on its stellar 2012 performance, which saw a 2nd place finish in the conference. If the Oles are to match this accomplishment, finding form in the month of October will be critical. A string of home matches on the Rolf Mellby Field against Hamline University (Oct. 2), Gustavus Adolphus College (Oct. 5), Macalester College (Oct. 12), St. Mary’s University (Oct. 16) and St. Catherine University (Oct. 19) will go a long way in deciding the fate of the team in 2013.
The St. Olaf women’s volleyball team will also be one to watch in 2013 as they follow great successes in the past few seasons. The team finished 3rd in the MIAC last season and was crowned champions in 2010. There are many chances to support the team in the upcoming weeks, starting with a game in Skoglund Center against Augsburg College on Sept. 25. The facility will also host games against the University of St. Thomas on Sept. 28 and another crucial clash with Gustavus Adolphus College on Oct. 2.
Looking ahead to notable off-campus sporting events, the St. Olaf men’s and women’s golf teams will be in action throughout the fall. The women’s team is looking to better a 15th place team finish at the NCAA Division III Champions and a MIAC title. In late September, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams will be taking part in USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championships.
Stephen Nolan ’15 (email@example.com) is the Messenger’s Sports Editor. He is from Hillsborough, Australia.