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Cougars fall to St. Scholastica in men's championship

The University of Minnesota, Morris men's soccer team advanced to the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament Championship game with an overtime victory over Bethany Lutheran, but ultimately fell to the No. 1 seed St. Scholastica to end the season.

UM-Morris 3

Bethany Lutheran 2

The No. 3 Cougars upset the No. 2 seed Bethany Lutheran in overtime 3-2 on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The Cougars and Vikings combined for five goals, with the Cougars getting the game-winner in overtime to advance to the UMAC Championship game.

"It was pretty tight all game," head coach Scott Turnbull said after the match. "The play... was fast and physical all game, this is a smaller field than we're used to, so it was pretty congested out there. But, we were able to pull it together today, after not playing our best down the stretch."

The Cougars were coming off a run where they went winless in their last three matches, their longest such stretch of the season.

All knotted up at 2-2 in the extra session, a yellow card was called on the host Vikings, giving the Cougars a penalty kick just over two minutes into overtime. From there Greg Borchers did the rest, nailing the kick for the game-winning goal.

"Greg had the ball inside the box, and got knocked down," Turnbull said. "From there he just finished it off. It was pretty wild at the end."

The Cougars got on the board first, and took a 1-0 lead into the break. Toby Glaser scored late in the first half to give the Cougars the early lead.

Then in the second half, things got a little crazy as a two-minute span produced three goals and the 2-2 tie that the two teams would carry past regulation.

Thirteen minutes into the second, the Vikings got their first goal to tie it up at 1-1. From there the Cougars took the kickoff and went right down to score again, taking the lead back just over a minute later. Matt Johnson took a ball that Borchers had played up the flank and then passed it off to Matt Vik who finished it.

However, just 30 seconds later Bethany Lutheran again scored to tie it back up at 2-2.

"It was tight all game and that was a wild two minutes with three goals," Turnbull added. "Things slowed down after that and the scoring chances were pretty thin the rest of the way. We continued to play well, but just weren't able to get the opportunities."

Neither team was able to find the net again in regulation, but it wasn't for lack of trying as they combined for 12 shots in the final 30 minutes.

The Cougars improved to 10-6-4 on the season and advanced to play St. Scholastica in the UMAC Championship.

"No one is surprised to see St. Scholastica over there on the other side again," Turnbull said in closing. "It will be the fourth straight year, but we're definitely looking forward to playing them."

St. Scholastica 4

UM-Morris 1

After taking a 1-0 lead in the first half, the Cougars went into halftime down 2-1, and eventually fell 4-1 to St. Scholastica in the 2010 UMAC Tournament Championship Saturday.

"I think we came out and played very well at the start, we played very well the whole game," Turnbull said. "We kind of jumped on them a little bit, Toby [Glaser] hit a great shot, it was a perfect start for us. We struggled a little bit near the end of the first half giving up a goal on a free kick. After that they're a tough team to play from behind."

The final score does not do the game justice as it was a tightly played match between two evenly matched teams. The final two goals came in the final 12 minutes of the match, after a 2-1 score illustrated much of the play.

In just the 20th minute, Toby Glaser rifled a shot from nearly 35 yards out that was too high and too hard for Saints goalkeeper Sam Reed to catch up with. The goal was the team-leading ninth of the season for Glaser, and gave the Cougars their first lead of the season over the Saints.

The Cougars' lead would not make it out of the first half, though, but it wasn't for lack of effort.

Clinging to their 1-0 lead, a foul was called on the Cougars inside the box down on the Saints' end, awarding a penalty kick to CSS. Playing in his final game, UMM goal keeper Tyler Simpson came up with one of the best saves of the season, turning away the Saint attempt.

Caught up in the celebration of the stop, the Cougars' guard was down and the Saints capitalized just seconds later for the tying score.

Less than 10 minutes later a St. Scholastica corner kick led to the go-ahead goal, and a lead that the Saints would not relinquish. They took the 2-1 lead into halftime and outshot the Cougars 12-4 in the second half to lock up the win.

"It was an uphill battle," Turnbull said. "We tried to push ahead a little at the end, and they got two late on us at the end. I think it was more us trying to push forward than them attacking."

Simpson finished with four saves in the final match of his career, including two incredible stops on penalty kicks. The Saints were awarded a second penalty kick in the final minutes of the match, and Simpson turned that attempt away as well as the final seconds ticked off.

The Cougars wrap up the 2010 campaign with a 10-7-4 record, after finishing second in the UMAC in the regular season with a 9-4-2 mark.

Along with Simpson, Jeff Lind and Chris Blahna each played their final career matches, and made up a senior class that advanced to the UMAC title match every season they were on the UMM campus.

St. Scholastica will now advance to represent the UMAC in the NCAA Tournament, gaining the automatic bid for the tourney.