Junior forward Nick Rapisarda’s second-half goal secured the St. Thomas men’s soccer team’s 2-1 victory over Macalester Wednesday at the South Campus Fields.
The win extended St. Thomas’ (10-2-2, 6-0) winning streak to six games. The Tommies control first place in the MIAC.
Coach Jon Lowery said he felt that the team’s victory over the Scots was one that reflects the new era that the Tommies are building. He said St. Thomas hadn’t defeated Macalester in three years.
“We wanted to make a statement that a new era is around,” Lowery said. “They (Scots) weren’t going to beat us again.”
The Tommies started off the first half strong, pressing a tough defense against the Scots. Junior defender Kit Weaver played an aggressive game, falling down in the 13th minute after colliding with Scots’ senior forward Eric Dodd. Weaver bounced right back, but Dodd had to be subbed out due to injury.
Scot senior goalkeeper Jesse Yourish held strong against the Tommies’ 12 total shots on goal throughout the game. Senior defender Brett Day made an aggressive shot in the 30th minute but was unable to score.
The first half ended with the Tommies and Scots scoreless.
The second half took a turn of events, junior midfielder Ben Dugoni netted a goal in the 51st minute. Weaver said the Scots’ goal didn’t set a precedent on how the game would continue to unfold.
“I think they were more scared than we were, even with them up 1-0,” Weaver said.
Despite the Scots early goal, the Tommies continued to play aggressive defense and press hard against the Scots’ offense. Rapisarda took shots on goal throughout the second half with another shot during the 57th minute.
Rapisarda said Lowery continues to direct his players by reminding the team to play its game and stick to its game plan.
“He (Lowery) just kept constantly reminding us that you’re going to get teams’ best,” Rapisarda said. “You can’t let down for a second.”
The Tommies’ game plan proved to be successful with junior forward Alex Bernhardt’s goal in the 77th minute, tying the game 1-1. In the 78th minute, Rapisarda got the ball past the Scots’ goalkeeper with his left foot, elevating St. Thomas to a 2-1 lead.
Rapisarda said he believes that the team contributed to his goal.
“I was just proud of our team,” Rapisarda said. “I don’t think we’ve ever been down in the conference and come back, like from being down 1-0 and winning 2-1. I was just super excited.”
The team continued to press the remainder of the game and ended the game with a victory and a score of 2-1. The Tommies had four corner kicks throughout the game.
Up next for St. Thomas is St. John’s University (6-5-2, 3-2-0) Saturday, Oct. 13, at home. The team will play in hopes of defending its first-place standing in the conference.
Lowery said the team needs to stay focused in order to pull out a win over the Johnnies.
“We put a system in that the guys are comfortable with and can succeed with,” Lowery said. “We’ve found a way to get it done every single time.”
Sean Crotty can be reached at email@example.com.