Nov. 22, 2008

HOBOKEN, N.J. – The best season in Carleton men’s soccer history came to an end with a 1-0 loss to defending national champion Middlebury College in the NCAA Sectional Semifinals (round of 16). As expected, good scoring chances were difficult to find for both teams in a matchup of two of the top programs in the nation. Middlebury was No. 6 in the final regular-season NSCAA national poll with Carleton right behind at No. 7.

Carleton’s memorable season included a team-record 17 wins, a second consecutive regular-season MIAC title, the conference post-season tournament crown, the program’s first NCAA Soccer Championships appearance and it’s initial national tournament victory.

On a cold, windy evening neither team was able to create sustained offensive pressure. The Knights (17-2-3) entered the match with the second-ranked defense in the country, while and the Panthers (15-2-3) were ranked fourth.

“We fought hard, but we ran into a Middlebury team that played really well tonight,” said Carleton head coach Bob Carlson. “They pressured us. They were well organized and took away what we tried to do.”

After a scoreless first half, the Panthers got the game’s lone goal in the 83rd minute. Baer Fisher passed the ball from left to the right, deep in the box where Tyler Macnee converted his 13th goal of the season.

Goalkeeper Pete Semmer (So./Del Mar, Calif./Bishops School) made nine saves to keep the Knights in the match as long as possible, but Carleton was unable to crack the Middlebury defense for the equalizer.

“Pete was phenomenal. He made some spectacular saves tonight,” Carlson said. “Jack Boller and Robert Carlton had good nights on the back line. Tonight’s result was not for a lack of effort by each of the guys.”

The Knights concludes the season having trailed for a combined 64:38 all year, a particularly impressive figure given that Carleton played more than 2,000 minutes of soccer this season.

This was the final match in the collegiate careers of eight Carleton seniors, including the program’s all-time leading goal scorer Bobby Phillips (Vadnais Heights, Minn./Moundsview). The others who completed their fourth season at Carleton were: Sam Birnbaum (Bernardsville, N.J./Newark Academy); Jack Boller (Charlottesville, Va./Albemarle); Derek Orth (Sugarloaf, Pa./Hazleton Area); Joe Lindner (Hanover Park, Ill./Glenbard North); Paul Pedtke (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township); Brian TenHoor (Eden Prairie, Minn./Minnehaha Academy); and Christoph Terwitte (Altenholz, Germany).

“I can’t say enough about these seniors,” said Bob Carlson after the match. “They have taken the program to new heights, and they should hold their heads high. They’ve led us to a great season and had very successful careers.”