Under any circumstances, it would have been a win to cherish. But how it was achieved ... and what it meant in the big picture ... made Hamline's women's soccer team's 2-1 OT victory at Carleton Saturday one of the biggest triumphs in the 21-year history of the program.
Kelsey Caracciolo (pictured) capped a memorable week with the winner at 1:32 of OT. It marked the first time ever that Hamline had defeated Carleton in a women's soccer game in 21 tries. And it pushed the Pipers even more into the thick of a tight race for another potential first -- a trip to the MIAC playoffs.
Hamline is 10-3-1 overall. The win total matches the best in school history (it was done in 2007, coach Ted Zingman's first season and last year as well.) But they are now tied with St. Ben's for fifth place with a 4-3-1 standard in the MIAC, just one point behind a three-way logjam for second place in the loop.
It was exactly the type of game you would expect by two teams vying for a playoff spot. Neither side had many great opportunities and waited for their break. Hamline got the first chance and made the most of it when Bri Garside took a pass from Eden Behrens, broke into the clear and delivered into the top left corner of the goal for her first netter of the year at 72:52.
The Knights fought back to tie the game with 5:13 on a shot from a bad angle that eluded HU goalie Molly Jacobs. That set the game into OT. Caracciolo, who scored a pair in Tuesday's 3-0 win over Wis-Superior, ended matters by dribbling into the six yard box and working the ball past GK Mikayla Coulombe into the net for her sixth goal of the season.
Hamline held a 13-7 edge in total shots. Jacobs had a pair of saves to get the win.
The Pipers can clinch a playoff spot if they win their last three MIAC matches. The next of those is at Augsburg -- one of the trip of teams locked one point ahead of Hamline in the standings. That game will be Friday, October 19 at Augsburg (7:30 p.m.) Before the Pipers can think about that one, though, they have another prime time battle (albeit a non-conference one) set for Tuesday, October 16 at Wis-Stout (5-7-2 overall) A victory there would set a new school standard for triumphs in a season. Game time in Menominee, Wis. is 7:30 p.m.