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Cougars pick up 2 home shut outs

The University of Minnesota, Morris women's soccer team shut out Martin Luther and Bethany Lutheran at home over the weekend.

The wins move the Cougars into third place in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference, leaving them in firm control of their own destiny for post-season play.

Morris improved its record to 8-8 on the season and 7-4 in the conference.

UM-Morris 5

Martin Luther 0

Amber O'Connor started the scoring less than six minutes into the game Friday afternoon at Big Cat Stadium. Maddy Gerber recorded the assist.

In the 16th minute, Gerber scored on an assist from Tayler Fairchild.

At the 28:08 mark, Nina Jarnot made it 3-0 with a Katie Kestner assist.

Kestner then scored at 54:50 with an assist from Gerber.

Four minutes later, Taylor Meehan scored the final Cougar goal on assists from Taylor Oistad and Gerber. Gerber's three game assists were a season high.

Kestner and O'Connor had seven shots on the day, also a season high.

UM-Morris 4

Bethany Lutheran 0

The Cougar women's soccer team finished a successful weekend with a resounding 4-0 route of visiting Bethany Lutheran College.

So dominating was the Cougars' defense and ball possession that the Vikings didn't get off a shot until the 81st minute of the game. It would be their only shot of the match.

O'Connor opened the scoring in the 14th minute of the first half, finishing a pass from Gerber. It was O'Connor's 11th tally of the season. She is now ranked second in the conference in goals scored.

Two minutes later, Kestner picked up a free ball in the box and lasered it home for an unassisted goal.

Gerber finished the first-half scoring by punching home a Meehan pass from 10 yards away.

In the second half, Gerber added a second goal, this time scoring off a pass from Jarnot.

In the two games this weekend, Gerber racked up 10 points (3 goals, 4 assists). After the game she noted the team's overall improved play.

"I thought we did a really good job connecting passes and moving off the ball. That was something we struggled with before, but now we're starting to find feet (other players) and move the ball."

After nine Cougar team goals this weekend, Jarnot attributed the success to tempo.

"I think we've picked up the speed of the game a lot and play a lot faster than we did in the beginning of the season. As a result, we're scoring more goals."

Meanwhile, at the other end of the field, junior goalkeeper Emily Jacob faced one shot all day, insulated by the fine backline play of sophomore Crystal Zastrow and first-year players Kali Cordes and Annie Hawkinson.

Next weekend the Cougars travel to Duluth to play St. Scholastica and Northland College, before returning home for the regular season-ending match-up with Presentation.