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Cougar men return to home soccer field

The University of Minnesota, Morris men's soccer team was playing at home Saturday and Sunday for the first time since the season opener on Sept. 1. Saturday's game was the first of 2010 on Cougar Field, as the opener was in Big Cat Stadium.

St. Thomas 2

UM-Morris 0

Coming off their first victory of the season last week against UW-Superior, UMM was unable to carry the momentum as they were held scoreless against St. Thomas on Saturday, Sept. 11.

The Cougars actually outshot the Tommies in the first half, holding a 9-5 advantage at the break, but St. Thomas got the one that counted with a goal at the 20:05 mark from Adam Wieckert.

The scoring play was the first of two on the day from Wieckert, as he accounted for both of the Tommies' goals. His first goal came off an assist from Angel Riera, with the second coming unassisted and early in the second half, at the 58:43 mark of the game.

The two teams finished even in shots when it was all said and done, after the Tommies turned up the heat in the second half and outshot the Cougars 7-3. At the end of 90 minutes, each team had 12 shots, with the Cougars holding a slight edge in shots on goal at 6-5.

Tyler Weber suffered the loss in net for UMM, giving up both goals while finishing with three saves. Greg Borchers led the attack on offense with four shots in the match, and two landing on net. Cory Schmeling finished with two shots and one on goal.

Macalester 1

UM-Morris 1

The Cougars nearly knocked off one of the top teams in the country Sunday, Sept. 12, but had to settle for a 1-1 tie with No. 7 Macalester.

The Cougars struck first, on the first career goal from freshman Matt Bennis just 28:22 into the match. After a pass across from Matt Johnson, Bennis fired off a shot deep from the right side of the penalty box that the Scots goalkeeper just could not catch up with.

The shot was the first on goal for the Cougars, and one of just two in the game. Macalester had the edge on the stat sheet all day, but was unable to get more than the one goal.

The Scots outshot the Cougars 21-7 in the match, and held a 10-1 edge on the shots on goal.

UMM held the lead until Macalester finally broke through at 86:48 with an unassisted score from the Scots' Taylor Rasmussen. Much of the play was in the Cougars' zone, and controlled by Macalester before they were able to connect on one scoring chance for the tie.

With the play deep in the Cougar zone, goalkeeper Tyler Simpson had to have a big game to keep his team in, and come up big he did. Simpson made 10 saves on the day, with many balls coming off shots through a pack right in front of the net.

The Scots took 14 corner kicks in the match to just one for the Cougars, including three in the second overtime with the game still hanging in the balance. Macalester took four shots in the last session, and five total in the extra 20 minutes, while the Cougars stayed on the defensive and did not attempt a shot.

Bennis made good on his only shot attempt of the game, while Greg Borchers led the Cougar attack with three shots on the day. Rasmussen led the way for the Scots with six shots, including four that landed on net.

Sunday's draw is now the only blemish to the previously perfect season for Macalester who moved to 4-0-1. UMM improves to 1-2-2 on the year after the most impressive performance of 2010.

"This is by far the best team we've played," head coach Scott Turnbull said. "And this is the best we have played so far. I think this puts us in a good spot heading into conference play."