St. Scholastica men's soccer team enters postseason with nation's highest-scoring offense
Goal-scoring whiz Andrew Jenkins was late arriving to St. Scholastica's soccer practice on a blustery Wednesday afternoon at Malosky Stadium. Jenkins was stuck in class, which might be the only way to slow the senior forward from Wales. Jenkins h...
Goal-scoring whiz Andrew Jenkins was late arriving to St. Scholastica’s soccer practice on a blustery Wednesday afternoon at Malosky Stadium.
Jenkins was stuck in class, which might be the only way to slow the senior forward from Wales.
Jenkins highlights the nation’s highest-scoring offense with 24 goals, a tally that ranks second in NCAA Division III.
On most clubs, Jenkins would be the focal point. On the Saints, he’s but one cog in an attack that features a mesmerizing collection of scorers. Kyle Farrar has 23 goals and is tied for third nationally, while Tom Corcoran’s 21 scores are tied for fifth.
“We can score from around the pitch,” said Farrar, who played at St. Scholastica as a freshman in 2011 before taking the next two years off to focus on his studies back home in England.
The Saints are averaging more goals per game (5.86) than any other team in the country, regardless of division. Trinity (Texas) is second in Division III at 3.59.
The question now becomes: How far can this high-powered offense carry the Saints?
St. Scholastica rides a 17-match winning streak into its third consecutive NCAA tournament. Up next is the University of Chicago in a first-round showdown at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Waverly, Iowa. The No. 19 Maroons (11-5-2) reside on the opposite end of the philosophical spectrum, using an air-tight defense to suffocate opponents. Chicago allows less than one goal per game and has given up three in their past nine outings.
The Saints are undeterred. To do what they have done, even against modest UMAC competition, suggest the Saints are on the right path.
“It doesn’t matter who you play, to score that many goals and to produce that kind of possession football, you have to work hard at it, and these guys have,” coach Barry Chastey said. “We should be very confident going into Saturday.”
Jenkins and senior defender Ben Cullen, from Northern Ireland, were named the UMAC’s co-players of the year for the second time in as many seasons. Jenkins, meanwhile, was tabbed the league’s best offensive player for a third time.
Sean Morgan, from Ireland, has produced 24 assists for the Saints, which puts him second nationally. Cullen is third with 16 assists.
All of it - not to mention 17 goals from Shawayne Folkes and 12 more from Morgan - is a bit dizzying. But it’s what the Saints do; their identity revolves around gaudy offensive production.
“We work on it in practice all the time,” Corcoran, a junior defender, said.
St. Scholastica is unbeaten since a 3-0 loss to Gustavus Adolphus on Sept. 12. The Saints responded by outscoring their next four opponents by a combined 47-3.
And they kept right on humming to another UMAC crown. They depart for Iowa today seeking their first NCAA tournament victory - the Saints were close a year ago in a 2-1 overtime setback against Gustavus Adolphus.
With so many goal scorers, one would think Chastey faces a challenge of making sure there’s enough offense to go around. That’s not the case, the coach said.
“They are ecstatic whoever scores, as long as we take care of business in the game,” he said. “This is a really good group and they work incredibly hard together, they train a lot together and they’re just so happy when someone has a good game.”
Saturday’s winner will meet either host Wartburg College or Milwaukee School of Engineering at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Saints women face uphill battle
The St. Scholastica women didn’t have much time to celebrate their fourth consecutive NCAA tournament berth after they slipped past Minnesota-Morris in double overtime last weekend in the UMAC final.
Opposite the Saints on the 64-team Division III bracket is undefeated Lake Forest (Ill.) College, the nation’s 10th-ranked team. The Foresters (20-0) are led by Michelle Greeneway, who is fourth in the country with 32 goals.
Still, St. Scholastica coach Dave Reyelts says his Saints (15-6-1) are confident they can claim their first NCAA win since making their inaugural trip in 2007.
“I think they’re a team we can compete with,” Reyelts said. “Obviously, we’re going to have to play well and be on our game and have some bounces go our way, but based on what I’ve seen I feel confident that we can make it a game.”
St. Scholastica and host Lake Forest meet in a first-round contest at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Four-time UMAC offensive player of the year Kelsey Kehtel leads the Saints, who have won nine straight. The senior forward, a Duluth East product, has scored 22 goals, giving her 20-plus for the fourth straight season, a school record.
The Saints fell 3-2 in overtime against Wisconsin-Whitewater in the 2013 first round. Internally, Reyelts says there is some pressure to get the program over the hump and back into the second round. Externally might be a different story, he said.
“The fact that we haven’t been able to win that game, there aren’t a lot of expectations from people outside of our program to win that game, and that gives us the opportunity to just relax and play,” the coach said.
The winner will play either Aurora or Concordia-Moorhead at 1 p.m. Sunday.
NCAA Division III soccer tournament Men St. Scholastica (20-2) vs. University of Chicago (11-5-2)
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Waverly, Iowa
Women St. Scholastica (15-6-1) vs. Lake Forest College (20-0)
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Lake Forest, Ill.