INDIANOLA, Iowa – Men’s soccer took the first of their two game break from conference play by hosting the Vikings of Augustana College (Ill.) Tuesday.
These two teams squared off in Rock Island, Ill. last season in a game that the Vikings took 1-0 in overtime. Unfortunately for the Storm, the Vikings made it two-in a row against Simpson, winning a hotly contested 2-1 affair on Tuesday.
“Tonight was another game in which we played a good opponent and we held a statistical advantage in shots and corner kicks,” said head coach Rick Isaacson. “But if you don’t win the result on the scoreboard those statistics don’t mean a whole lot.”
Augustana’s Jon Colucci got the Vikings on the right path to two straight against the Storm as he scored off of rebounded a shot off the crossbar, putting Augustana up 1-0 in the 29th minute.
The Vikings (8-4) clung to their 1-0 advantage until Simpson (9-6, 1-2 IIAC) finally tied it up 1-1 in the 71st minute. Josh Harry connected with a diving Tyler Neumann on a long through ball, which Neumann athletically headed inside the far-post, sneaking it past a diving Augustana goalkeeper. This broke Simpson’s 160 minute scoring drought dating back to their 2-0 loss to Luther on Saturday.
This was Neumann’s second goal of the season, a number he’d like to get up after notching 21 goals in his first two seasons at Simpson.
After seeming to gain the momentum, with Marcus Varnum and Mitchell White coming dangerously close to giving the Storm the lead, Augustana responded in the 84th minute to take the 2-1 lead on Ian Deggendorf’s first goal of the season. Deggendorf scored on a left-footed roller from 12 yards out, coming from the top of the box.
Despite outshooting the Vikings 10-7, and generating three more corner kicks than Augustana, Simpson wasn’t able to find the back of the net when they needed it.
“Well I think you’re starting to see a pattern,” said Isaacson. “I mean by that we are able to play with everybody we take the field against, even statistically dominate several of the games we have lost, but we are failing to do the little things and capitalize on our opportunities to score. We are letting teams hang around.”
After catching fire, winning four straight between Sept. 16 and Sept. 23, Simpson has lost three of their last four. At 9-6, Simpson is likely eliminated from receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, making the four remaining conference games vital for the Storm.
Simpson will have another quick non-conference tune-up as they head north to Winona, Minn. on Thursday for a 7 p.m. contest with a 5-5-1 St. Mary’s University team. The Cardinals only beat Buena Vista 2-0, a team Simpson disposed of 8-1 last week.
“I just addressed the team and said it’s awfully disappointing to be 9-6 with as talented a group we have,” said Isaacson. “We have kind of reached a crossroads in our season. They can feel sorry for themselves and allow this to ruin their season, or take the other pathway and rally around this, stare adversity in the face and use it to motivate them moving forward.”