GRAEME GALLAGHER | CO-EDITOR IN-CHIEF
In their first game of the season at Schneider Stadium, the St. Norbert men’s soccer team cruised to a 3-0 victory over the visiting Augustana College on Saturday. Forward Ben Prange ’20 tallied a goal and an assist to lead the Green Knights to a 3-1 record to start the young season.
Playing in front of the home crowd for the rest time this fall, St. Norbert did not disappoint in the opening minutes. After continually holding possession and maintaining pressure on the Augustana defense, the Green Knights scored the opening goal when a cross from Max Censky ’22 found Prange in front of goal, who calmly slotted home with his left foot to make it 1-0 after only three minutes of play.
The Knights, however, did not concede pressure after the opening goal. Showcasing good spacing and ball movement on the wings, St. Norbert whipped in a cross that found the foot of a Green Knights forward that hit the bottom right post 10 minutes into the contest.
As the first half continued, St. Norbert continued to out-hustle the Vikings, especially in the mid-field. The pressure led to turnovers by Augustana that resulted in counter-attacks and opportunities from St. Norbert. However, the Green Knights were unable to find the final ball to secure that second goal.
Yet, when the whistle blew for half-time, St. Norbert was in control 1-0 and had outshot Augustana 9-0.
Similarly to the first half, the Green Knights grabbed their much-deserved second goal early on in the second half. In the 47th minute, Prange found himself in some space and then laid off a through ball into the box for Mitchell Scholz ’22, who took a touch and fired past the keeper to make it a two-lead for the Knights.
Not settling with just two goals on the day, the Knights created more opportunities as the second half wore on. Shortly after their goal, Seth Boldt ’21 stole the ball within the Augustana defense and ran inside the box for a shot that was deflected by the keeper towards who missed the goal.
Not long after, Prange was at it again as he streaked down the sideline, cut inside by nutmegging the Viking defender and then laying it off for Boldt in the middle, who just missed the lower left corner with a shot.
As the pressure mounted on Augustana from the St. Norbert offense, so did the physicality of the game. The Green Knights forced fouls on the Vikings throughout the second half due to their hustle on 50-50 balls, interceptions and jump balls. As a result, three Augustana players were given yellow cards during the game.
The third and final goal of the game for St. Norbert came in the 76th minute. A free-kick swung into the box by Brandon DiOrio ’20 found the feet of both St. Norbert and Augustana alike, however, the ball eventually fell to Boldt who dinked the ball over the keeper for the finish.
With victory in sight, St. Norbert decided to sub-in the new Freshman for their first taste of action at Schneider Stadium for the last ten minutes of the game.
Showcasing their dominance, St. Norbert outshot Augustana 20-2 over the course of the game. Additionally, the Knights had six corners as opposed to the Vikings, who had two.
The Green Knights will return to action at Schneider Stadium on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for a match against the Milwaukee School of Engineering.