Some dreams do, indeed, come true. At the start of the season, the Hamline women's soccer team was picked for 10th in the annual MIAC Coaches' poll. But the Pipers thought otherwise and aimed to prove they belonged with the top teams in the area.
The 2016 season started with a smashing 10-1 victory over Wis-Superior and, on Saturday, the combination of a thrilling 1-0 double OT win over Gustavus Adolphus plus losses by Macalester and St. Benedict, has propelled HU to sixth place in the MIAC and a first ever playoff berth.
Hamline (11-6-1 overall, 5-5-1 MIAC) will open the postseason at third seeded Augsburg on Tuesday, November 1. Game time in Minneapolis will be 2:00 p.m. HU entered the day knowing they needed a win and some help to finish in sixth place -- the final playoff spot. The wheels began to fall into place when St. Benedict lost at St. Olaf, 1-0. The Blazers and Pipers each have 16 points but HU held the tiebreaker by virtue of a 3-1 win over CSB on October 22. The CSB loss meant HU had to win its game and Macalester had to either lose or tie against Bethel, for HU to claim the final spot.
The Gusties had plenty of incentive. A win would give them fourth place and a first round home game. They attacked HU goalie Amy Ramras, who ended up making seven saves. But HU needed to get a goal in their own right. The game stretched into the second extra session when an opening suddenly appeared. It started with Mackenzie Zink passing to Grace Nichols. In turn, Nichols spotted Louter who buried a shot in the corner of the net for her ninth goal of the season to set off a wild celebration at Paterson Field. Louter has now scored goals in five of her last six games. It is her third gamewinning goal of the season.
It was a farewell to remember for the six senior Pipers -- Zink, Nichols, Ramras, Malya Hirshkowtiz, Rachael Nelson and Mallory Wirth -- who were honored in a pre-game ceremony. Six hours later, the Scots result was complete and Hamline had a first ever playoff berth for head coach Ted Zingman. The Pipers lost to the Auggies, 2-1, at Paterson Field on October 15. Louter scored the lone HU goal.