Men’s and women’s soccer teams defeat Nebraska Wesleyan


Photo courtesy of the Photo Bureau

Megan Munger (‘23) passes the ball during a game against Coe College earlier this season.

The Luther College men’s and women’s soccer teams traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday, April 8 for games against Nebraska Wesleyan University. The Norse defeated the Prairie Wolves in both games, with the men winning 4-1 and the women winning 3-1. This was the third straight win for both Luther programs in a soccer season postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the men’s game, the Norse were down 1-0 at halftime but quickly gained the lead back early in the second half due to goals from Faydane Ouro-Akondo (‘22) and Marcos Vila (‘22) in the 52nd minute. Four minutes later, William Valentine (‘23) scored to put Luther up 3-1, and in the 62nd minute, Will Overberg (‘23) scored the final goal of the game and solidified Luther’s 4-1 win. Assistant Athletic Director and Men’s Soccer Head Coach Chris Garcia-Prats was very impressed with his team’s performance in the second half after struggling during the first, and highlighted the performances of Vila and Ouro-Akondo.
“It was a difficult game in Lincoln, as Nebraska Wesleyan did a good job of making it hard for us to find our rhythm,” Garcia-Prats said. “[The second half] was probably our best team performance of the year; Marcos and Faydane created quite a bit of havoc for their defense and set the tone for the rest of the group.”

Vila was also impressed with how the team played in the second half, considering it the team’s “best performance this season.”

“We were able to get the win after a long day of driving to Nebraska, and winning on the road is always challenging,” Vila said. “Three out of our four goals came from guys that were yet to score this year, which is always positive and gives players a lot of confidence.”

The Norse women, who fell behind early after a Prairie Wolves goal in the second minute, quickly got back on track and never lost the lead. Samantha Och (‘24) scored her third goal of the season in the 20th minute, while Megan Munger (‘23) scored her sixth and seventh goals of the season in the 34th and 66th minute, respectively. Luther Women’s Soccer Head Coach Hollie Gray III (‘15) thought the team played a great game, and defended well to maintain their lead. 

“Conceding the first goal of the game shook us awake, but after [Och’s goal] we showed we were able play and compete against [Nebraska-Wesleyan],” Gray said. “Then defending late, a blocked shot by [Kelly Fielder (‘22)] showed that we were not going to give up what we worked so hard for.” 

Midfielder Madison Yaeger (‘21) was happy with her team’s ability to reset and regroup after falling behind early, but also acknowledged that there were some things that the team will have to improve on.

I think we can improve on keeping up our intensity for the whole game, and not just turn it on when we are down on the scoreboard,” Yaeger said. “Our next few games are going to be tough, so we will have to go into them ready to play.”

Both teams will play their next games on Saturday, April 17, at home against Simpson College. The men will play first at 2:00 p.m., and the women will play at 5:30  p.m. Both games will be livestreamed on the Luther athletics website.