By Megan Dierberger
The St. John’s soccer team has had a rocky start to its season.
The Johnnies won their season opener against Nebraska Wesleyan 4-3 in overtime, but went on to lose four of their next five games. An overtime win over Augsburg, a draw with Bethel and a loss to UW-Whitewater slots them seventh in the MIAC with a conference record of 1-2-2 and overall record of 2-5-2.
The current record will not define its upcoming games.
Sophomore goalkeeper Payton Spencer is currently second in the MIAC with a save percentage of .824. Spencer said the Johnnies’ faltering record can easily be fixed.
“We’ve had a lot of bounces that could have gone either way,” Spencer said. “I think we’re a team of not pointing fingers or blaming each other; we take
accountability for what we’ve done and learn from it. People shouldn’t count us out because of our record.”
The Johnnies graduated 10 seniors last year, accounting for eight starting players. The majority of SJU’s 2017 starting team is new to the varsity experience, as the starting lineup features just four seniors.
Senior midfielder Danny Bruckbauer, who is tied for 11th in the MIAC with three goals, said the team is doing its best to adjust with the young team.
“The younger players are stepping up,” Bruckbauer said. “I think its super important to stay positive, no matter what. We’ve lost a couple games, but we
always make sure the next day at practice we are working harder to improve.”
SJU has the home advantage this weekend as they face St. Mary’s on Friday, Oct. 6 and play the University of Minnesota-Morris on Sunday, Oct. 8. St. Mary’s is currently last in the MIAC, but that will not change the team’s mindset.
“We’ve underestimated teams like St. Mary’s in the past,” Bruckbauer said. “Soccer is a sport where it doesn’t matter if you’re the last team in the league or the top team. Anybody can win.”
The regular season winds up with their last home game on Saturday, Oct. 28 against Carleton. The MIAC tournament begins on Oct. 31.
The top six teams in the MIAC, out of 11, make it to the playoffs. The Johnnies need to win four of the next five games in order to secure a spot in the postseason. SJU was the fifth playoff team last year, eliminated in the semifinals to fourth place. This year, the Johnnies are just focused on the playoffs.
“You can’t really be nervous about not making the playoffs,” Spencer said. “We have to be relaxed and calm, and just play our game. From here on out we have to pick up our points at home. It’s do or die at this point.”