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Friday, Jun 21, 2024

Men’s soccer falls in NCAA first round

Jordan Saint-Louis '24 scored one and assisted the other in Middlebury's 3--2 loss to Rowan University.
Jordan Saint-Louis '24 scored one and assisted the other in Middlebury's 3--2 loss to Rowan University.

The men’s soccer team bowed out of the NCAA tournament after a 2–3 defeat to Rowan University. The team also finished the season as NESCAC semifinalists.

The Panthers fell behind early in the contest on Saturday, giving up the first goal just 10 minutes into the match. Rowan’s lead was short-lived, however, with Jordan Saint-Louis ’24 converting a penalty kick to level the game less than 90 seconds later. A glancing header from Kyle Nilsson ’25 in response from Saint-Louis brought the Panthers into halftime to a 2–1 lead.

Rowan came out fighting in the second half, creating several opportunities before scoring from close range 17 minutes after the break. With just over 20 minutes to go, Rowan scored a crucial goal, taking advantage of a free kick opportunity and snatching the lead. The Panthers looked to force overtime, led by both Saint-Louis and Michael McFarlane ’22.5, fighting at every opportunity before the clock ran out. Yet, Rowan’s defense stayed strong, sending the Panthers home with nothing to show for a gritty performance.

The result may not have been the one the Panthers were hoping for following last season’s NCAA quarterfinals appearance, but they can head into the offseason with their heads held high. The team demonstrated signs of greatness over the course of the season, dominating conference rival Trinity 5–0, earning a playoff win against Hamilton following a loss to the conference opponent during the regular season and forcing overtime against a ranked Amherst before their departure from the NESCAC tournament. The team garnered numerous individual honors: goalkeeper Ryan Grady ’23.5 moved into first on the program’s all-time list of clean sheets, coupled with second team All-NESCAC accomplishments by McFarlane and Saint-Louis. With a core group of younger players returning next season, the Panthers will be back in the 2023 season with something to prove.

Charles Crounse

Charles Crounse '24 (he/him) is the senior sports editor for the Campus. He has previously worked as a writer and staff editor for the section. Charles is pursuing a major in environmental policy and a minor in French, and in his free time he enjoys biking, hiking, and exploring Vermont. He is also a member of the club soccer team on campus.