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Cougar men wrap up non-conference soccer schedule

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The University of Minnesota, Morris men's soccer team stands at 1-3 on the season after two non-conference losses to St. John's and St. Thomas. The lone win came against Hamline.

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The Cougars open conference play Tuesday at Presentation College in Aberdeen, S.D.

UMM 1, Hamline 0

The men's soccer team rebounded from a disappointing loss to Augsburg with a resounding win over MIAC foe Hamline University. The Cougars shut out the Pipers 1-0 on Brent Diggs' goal with just over three minutes left in the first half.

On paper, the narrow margin of victory obscured a dominating performance by the Cougars. UMM controlled the tempo all game, especially on the backline where Dana Veth, Justin O'Connor and Greg Borchers held the Pipers to just five shots for the contest, three of which were turned away by goalkeeper Tyler Simpson who recorded the shutout in his first start of the season.

The teams battled back and forth in the first half until the 33-minute mark when the Cougars stepped up the offensive pressure with several shots on goal. At the 3:22 mark, forward Brent Diggs collided with a Hamline player in midair going for a ball. The defender fell to the ground and Diggs emerged with only the goalkeeper in front of him.

"I was trying to decide if I would chip the goalie, at first," he said after the game. "I was about 30 yards so I decided to take a couple more touches."

The Hamline goalkeeper charged and Diggs slipped it past into the left corner of the net.

After the break, Hamline was unable to threaten against the Cougar defense until late in the second half. At the 20-minute mark, Hamline's Matt Warhol lifted a pass into a crowd of players standing just outside the goalie box. Simpson charged into the mass and punched it safely away. Eight minutes later, Hamline had its best look all game when D.J. Weil charged toward the goal from the right wing. Simpson ran out to meet the charging player and snuffed out the ball before Weil could fire.

Simpson said his shutout was owed in part to the solid play of the defense.

"We maintained the shape we were trying to work on by pinching on the outsides," he said.

St. John's 1, UMM 0

A goal from Saint John's University midfielder Colin Hall at 75:32 of the second half proved to be the game winner as the Johnnies defeated Morris 1-0 on Sept. 6 in Collegeville.

The match was the season opener for SJU.

UMM outshot the Johnnies 19-10 for the game.

St. Thomas 2, UMM 1

For the second time in three days, the men's soccer team managed to get off twice as many shots as their opponent, the St. Thomas Tommies. And for the second time in three days, the result was the same: a crushing loss on a late goal, this time in the first extra period.

St. Thomas' Mike Hutton scored the game-winning goal to lead the host Tommies over the Cougars in a non-conference match-up

After a scoreless first half, the Tommies struck first on a header goal by Reid Moser-Bleil at the 54:43 mark of the second half. The Cougars rallied to tie the game just seven minutes later on a Toby Glaser mark, assisted by freshman Mahad Abdi.

The tie game moved into the extra session when Hutton scored with 7:20 to play in the first overtime.

The loss marks a frustrating end to non-conference play for the Cougars who have lost three one-goal games, two of those in overtime.

Despite that run, head coach Christian DeVries remains upbeat.

"We've just completed the toughest non-conference schedule we've ever played. We took two top-four MIAC teams to overtime and outshot them both. Once we start to put the ball in the net, we'll be an extremely dangerous team. We're very prepared for UMAC play this season."

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