Soccer earns spot in national tournament

Morgan Van Lanen

The Titans men’s soccer team poses for a team photo after its last home game on Oct. 24 in a 0-0 tie against UW-Whitewater who were also selected to the NCAA tournament.
[/media-credit] The Titans men’s soccer team poses for a team photo after its last home game on Oct. 24 in a 0-0 tie against UW-Whitewater who were also selected to the NCAA tournament.

The UW Oshkosh men’s soccer team clinched a spot in the 2015 NCAA Division III Championship on Nov. 9. It will be its 14th appearance in program history. UWO received one of the 19 at-large berths. After many months of being told by the University that not being in a conference is part of the reason why the men’s soccer program is being cut, head coach Wyste Molenaar said he believes making the tournament on Monday shows his team can do just fine without one. “You don’t need a conference to get into the tournament,” Molenaar said. Molenaar said he is tired of his team being given different reasons for why it is being cut, and he would like his team to find out the truth. “It was, more than anything, proof of what we have been saying all along–that you don’t need a conference to get into the tournament.” Molenaar said. “I think that every member of this team had a good feeling on Monday. It is one of the best feelings that an athlete can have.” Molenaar said he hopes making it to the tournament will give the program a little more respect. “They continue to be tossed around as if they mean nothing,” Molenaar said. “A week ago, cutting this team was about the budget. How can this continue to be recycled? How can these men continue to be Titans when they are getting this kind of disrespect? I am questioning what is going on here and why.” On the other hand, junior goalkeeper Sam Gabrilska said he is putting the distractions aside and working hard to stay healthy. He said he is savoring the feeling that he felt on Monday when he heard the good news. “It’s hard to use one exact word to describe the way we all felt, but most of all, it was relief, excitement and a motivation to our season,” Gabrilska said. “We have new life, in a sense. And now we have the ability to go out and prove to, not only our campus and community, but to the rest of the country just what we are all about on a national level.” UWO Vice Chancellor Jamie Ceman said the University has nothing but pride and respect for the team. “Their accomplishments this season and throughout the program’s history have been extraordinary,” Ceman said. “The budget cut to the University put the athletics department into a situation where an incredibly challenging decision had to be made. The way to make that decision came down to a sports ability to participate in the WIAC which unfortunately singled out men’s tennis and soccer.” Ceman said she imagines the whole campus is pulling for the team in the tournament. The Titans face St. Olaf College on Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Oles earned an automatic berth into the tournament when they beat the University of St. Thomas 2-0 in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference playoffs. This will be its seventh NCAA tournament appearance. The winner of Friday’s game will go on to play the winner of the Macalester College and St. Scholastic game on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. Gabrilska said he’s excited for his team to get on the field and to give it their all. “St. Olaf is going to be a great match,” Gabrliska said. “They always have a hard working squad and will be in it until the final whistle. It’s the tournament so anything is possible; we need to be ready for everything.” Senior David Radtke said after interviews earlier this week, the team decided to not speak with any more media. “Unfortunately we, as a team, have decided to cease talking to any media for the duration of our time in the tournament,” Radtke said.