Seniors star for men's soccer

by Rebecca Aledort | 10/26/00 5:00am

Several weekends ago, during the men's soccer game against the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Brad Christof '01 scored the game-winning goal off a pass from team Captain Nick Magnuson '01. But this was not an ordinary pass between two players.

Christof and Magnuson are seniors who have been playing together now for four seasons. Both were starters on the successful teams of 1997 and 1998 that received bids to the NCAA Tournament, and the pair could lead this year's team back to the promised land.

Magnuson was an honorable mention All-Ivy pick in 1999, and led the team with three goals and two assists last season. Christof's 1999 season was cut short by an injury that limited him to just a goal and an assist in 10 games.

This year, both Christof and Magnuson are optimistic about their chances for an Ivy League championship title and a NCAA bid. The team is currently 9-3, compared to last year's record of 3-12.

Magnuson and Christof have never actually won an Ivy Championship. In both of their first two years, the team lost the title to Brown in the last game of the season.

Again this year, Brown stands in Dartmouth's way. The Bears stand solely atop the League with an undefeated Ivy record after Dartmouth's loss to Columbia last weekend.

Magnuson said he prefers "to take it one game at a time," but the Big Green must surely be looking forward to their season-ending showdown with Brown in Hanover.

Getting personal

Both men have been playing soccer for years. Although neither can pinpoint the exact reason they began playing, both remember picking up the ball and simply enjoying the game.

Since those early days, Christof and Magnuson have developed considerably. Playing with talented upperclassmen in their early college years allowed them to make significant improvements in their games.

Christof said that he has become a better defensive player, while Magnuson says that he's a smarter player now. This experience has allowed them to set an example and standards for the rest of the team, which has five freshmen starters this year.

Although some would draw parallels between the success of this year's team and those from 1997 and 1998, Christof said they are incomparable. He pointed out that he and Magnuson were the only freshmen starters on the 1997 team that was comprised of exceptionally strong upperclassmen.

Magnuson agreed, adding, "things are a lot different this year."

The past winning seasons have produced some strong memories of the jubilation of victory, and on the flip side, the bitterness of defeat.

For example, Christof recently recalled a game from his freshman year during the first round of the NCAA tournament when the Big Green beat Boston University 5-1, but not before snow was plowed off the field. Magnuson remembered defeating Stanford during his sophomore season in front of a crowd of several thousand people.

Both cited the end-of-the-season losses to Brown in 1997 and 1998 that cost them Ivy League titles as lows in their careers.

Magnuson and Christof have one last chance to right those wrongs.