Storm soccer ride blowout victory to crucial two-game stretch

Two seven-goal victories in one season are not common in Division III soccer, let alone any level of soccer higher than middle school. But on Saturday, the men’s soccer team did just that, defeating Coe College 7-0 in a game in which six Storm players scored.

Besides junior Tyler Neumann’s two goals against the Kohawks, Mitchell White’s goal in the 17th minute was the marquis score of the day, as he surpassed Angel Salcido’s (2002-05) all-time points record at Simpson, 89, with his seventh goal of the season to notch his 90th career point.

Although White etched his name in another category of the Simpson soccer record books, if you ask the senior, he wouldn’t look at the goal as a record-breaker but rather another step towards a successful season for his team.

“I guess I’m honored by the achievement,” White said. “It still is just another thing along the road of achieving the team goal of making the national tournament. It really wasn’t anything special to me I guess.”

The seven-goal explosion by the Storm ends a drought over the last four games in which they only averaged .5 goals per game. Simpson won’t get an immediate chance to channel this momentum, as they have to wait until Saturday for their next contest as they head to Dubuque to face the Spartans.

This will complete a seven-day span between games for the Storm, who are earning some needed rest after already playing 18 games, the most of any IIAC team at this point in the year.

“The schedule is a little bit untraditional this year in the fact that it was frontloaded and since has tapered off,” head coach Rick Isaacson said. “Hopefully it allows us to remain fresh, mentally sharp and healthy, something we want to be towards the end of the season.”

At 11-7 overall and 2-3 in IIAC play, Simpson sits in a tie for fifth place with Central College and three points behind Dubuque, two teams Simpson has left on their regular season slate.

Simpson has earned at least a sixth-place finish in the six-team field for the IIAC Tournament, and could finish as high as fourth if they win out against Dubuque and Central. This would give them home-field advantage in their first round game.

“There is a little bit of pressure on the games, [Dubuque and Central] but not an overwhelming amount,” White said. “It’s more the importance on the games rests on achieving home-field advantage.”

Simpson’s first hurdle towards reaching this goal comes against Dubuque, who now sits alone in third place in the IIAC with a 3-1-1 conference record despite a below .500 overall record at 5-6-3.

Dubuque will be looking to get back at Simpson, who took two games from them last season and knocked them out of the first round of the IIAC Tournament last year with a 2-1 victory.

The Spartans feature three players in the top-10 in goals scored in the IIAC between Brandon Wiley at six and Billy Belmonte and Gonzalo Hernandez with five.

“Dubuque is always an athletic-big team,” White said. “They’re under .500, but we definitely can’t sleep on them.”

In Isaacson’s time at Simpson, the Storm’s matchups with the Spartans have always been hotly contested dogfights, something Simpson has been no stranger to this season with 11 of their 18 games decided by one-goal margins.

If things go right on Saturday, Simpson will be poised to jump into fourth place as they host the Central Dutch in the final home game of the season Oct. 28.

“You could actually see a similar scenario to last year playing out this year as we may host Dubuque in the first round of tournament play,” Isaacson said. “We know right now that our win-loss record won’t earn us an at-large bid, but we’ve shifted our focus to winning out and going into the conference tournament with some momentum.”