Ian MacDonald — Staff Writer
The thick, chilly air proved hard to handle as the players stepped onto the soccer field. But when the wind began to die down and the music played over the intercom, they knew it was going to be a good day.
On Nov. 3, the Dordt University Men’s Soccer team battled in their first playoff game
against Morningside College.
Fans from both Dordt and Morningside packed the stands. Gasps filled the bleachers with every shot, and cheers roared when a Dordt player made a skillful move on the defender.
The game started off tight. Morningside struck first as forward Yannik Vogel snuck it in at the 28th minute for their first goal. Dordt responded in the first half with Marco Laenen scoring a goal from about the midline.
A vital part of the game remained the Defenders’ defense in the second half. Dordt held Morningside to zero points with six saves from goalie Brandon Hansen.
Junior midfielder Quintin Olson explained why the second half went so well defensively.
“Going into the half with a fresh mind really helped us out,” Olson said. “We knew we could go on the attack once we scored early in the half.”
During the second half, the Defenders scored two more times with a goal from Javier Moscardo and a second goal from Marco Laenen.
Morningside marked Laenen’s best game statistically, being his highest scoring game of the season with two goals. Laenen had three goals total prior to the playoff game.
Laenen wanted to help his teammates in any way he could when he stepped on the field. He did it for his family in Germany as well. He wore a long sleeve shirt to the game, which his twin brother gave him before he came to the U.S., and after scoring his second goal, he ripped off his jersey to show his brother back home.
“My family plays a big part in my life,” Laenen said. “They always supported me, and the celebration was all for them.”
This playoff game meant a lot to the players in general, as they didn’t make it to the playoffs last year.
Olson said Head Coach Ryan Gresse placed a large emphasis on defense from the start of the season, that the team would eventually come to pride themselves in it.
“Our defense has improved dramatically from last year,” Olson said. “As you can see that is what kept us in the game against Morningside.”
Beyond tactics, Olson watched his team “mesh” over the successful season.
“We knew our culture would overpower theirs if we kept together,” Olson said.
Although the soccer team took a difficult season-ending loss against No. 2 team Concordia in the GPAC semifinals on Nov. 8, the Defenders leave with a lot of hope for the year to come.
Photo credit: Dordt University Athletics