Luther Defeats Grinnell, Loses to Carleton in Back-to-Back Games

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Luther defender Ella Smith (‘23) kicks the ball downfield during a game against the UW-La Crosse earlier this season.

The Luther women’s soccer team had a full weekend of non-conference competition, facing off against Grinnell College on September 18 and Carleton College on September 19. The Norse went 1-1 throughout the weekend, defeating Grinnell 1-0 on Saturday afternoon but falling to Carleton 1-0 on Sunday evening. 

In the first game of the weekend against Grinnell, the Norse played very aggressively and pressed high into the field against the Pioneers’ defense. The Norse took the lead after a free kick goal in the 16th minute from midfielder Chloe Baumgartner (’22). It was Baumgartner’s third goal of the season. 

“With set pieces, we are always optimistic that it can be a scoring opportunity,” Baumgartner said. “I really didn’t know that it would be the game winning goal, but once it ended up being that way I was just thrilled that I could help my team get the win.”  

On defense, the Norse only allowed four shots on goal throughout the entire game. Goalkeeper Irelyn Baumberger (‘23) had her first career shutout, making four saves. She credited her team’s changed mindset around defending, in which Luther now attempts to put a lot of pressure on opposing teams; specifically their defenders and goalkeeper.

“Being more aggressive and having our offensive players press so hard and high allows the rest of the team to follow suit and really sets the tone early on,” Baumberger said. “Our backline is fearless and holds themselves to a standard to not let [other teams get opportunities to shoot.]”

A day later, the Norse played Carleton College for the first time since 2015. They used the same game plan and kept constant pressure on the Knights’ defense. The Norse did have scoring opportunities, including in the 57th minute; Midfielder Cammi Gould’s (‘23) shot hit the crossbar and the rebound header by Rose Sieve (‘23) was saved by the Carleton goalkeeper. The regionally-ranked Knights finally broke the 0-0 tie in the 87th minute and held the one-goal lead until the final whistle. Sieve acknowledged that fatigue was definitely a factor after playing games back-to-back, but refused to use it as an excuse.

I think [the team feels] that we worked hard enough to win that game, but we need to prove it going forward,” Sieve said. “We’ve had a lot of games packed into our schedule recently, but Carleton and all our other opponents have been playing hard schedules as well. We all know we have to give our best every game and go hard for 90 minutes.”

Aside from a game against UW-Eau Claire later in the season, Luther is finished with non-conference play. Luther’s schedule now shifts to American Rivers Conference opponents, starting with Central College on September 27. Sieve is well aware of the importance of these games.

“Going forward, we can only focus on conference play because this is when it starts to count,” Sieve said. “We’ve had some time to sort out some things and now we need to show how good we can play.” 

Luther’s game against Central College on September 27 will be played at home. The game will start at 1:30 p.m. and will be live-streamed on the Luther Athletics website.

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