By Chris Butler
It was just a matter of time. The shots were there, but the goals were not. It had to change.
Over the first four games, the Cougar men's soccer team had twice as many shots as their opponents and yet only a 1-3 record to show for it.
Thursday, against Presentation College in Aberdeen, S.D., the Cougars doubled up their foe in shots once again, but this time three of those found the back of the net, much to the relief of head coach Christian DeVries and his team. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Tyler Weber and the Cougars back line kept the Saints at bay in a 3-0 win.
The game was evenly matched for the first 15 minutes until forward Mahad Abdi was brought down in the box at the 16:22 mark. Captain midfielder Patrick O'Connor drilled home the penalty kick for a 1-0 lead and his first goal of the season.
"Once Pat scored, we loosened up," DeVries said. "After that we played much better for the rest of the game.
The score remained 1-0 until halftime. During the break, DeVries exhorted his team to keep up the offensive pressure.
"I told them if we scored a second goal, we would definitely get a third," he said.
DeVries' prophecy was proven over first 20 minutes of the second half. Midfielder Kelsey Duerr scored at 49:22 and forward Mattson Towley punched in at 62:31, making the game 3-0. Duerr and Towley's marks were also their first of the year.
For the game, the Cougars outshot Presentation 19-9, and 9-2 on goal.
Off the ball, DeVries singled out forward Brent Diggs for his play.
"He isn't in the stat column, but Brent had one of his better games by the opportunities he created for us to score."
The match was UMM's first conference game of the year. DeVries was pleased to walk away with a victory.
"This is always a tough place to play. You drive 2-1/2 hours and get out of the van and play. That's very tough to do."
The Cougar men and women took the field on Friday, Sept. 18, at Bethany Lutheran. The teams play again today (Saturday) at Martin Luther before coming home for a set of games next weekend.