The University of Minnesota, Morris men's soccer team gave up its first Upper Midwest Athletic Conference point Friday in a 2-1 overtime win over Crown College. On Saturday, the Cougars recorded another shut out, this time over Northwestern.
Crown College 1
Two weeks earlier, the Cougar men's soccer team blanked Crown College at home 4-0 as they outshot the Purple Storm 27-3 and dominated time of possession.
On Friday against Crown in St. Bonifacius, UMM posted similar statistics, leading in shots 29-6, but needed overtime to overcome the Purple Storm, 2-1.
The Crown tally was the first goal against UMM in eight games.
Head coach Christian DeVries was relieved by the outcome and pleased by the manner in which it was achieved.
"I think this was a good wake-up call for our guys. The first go-around [in conference] is not indicative of how it will be the second time. We need to stay on our game all season."
For most of the season, the Cougars have used their talent for possessing the ball to control the pace of the game. But Crown used that talent against them.
"When you possess as well as we do, you're susceptible to counter-attack and they used that very well against us," DeVries said. "Their goal came on transition on a free ball. Their forwards work very well together and they did what they needed to do."
Crown scored an unassisted goal in the 39th minute.
Having the lead, the Purple Storm packed in their defense and made it difficult for the Cougars to get clean looks on goal.
In the 61st minute, Cougar forward Brent Diggs was brought down in the box. Captain Patrick O'Connor converted the penalty kick to tie the game at one. O'Connor is three of three on penalty kicks this season.
The game moved into overtime. In the 98th minute, senior Kelsey Duerr and junior Mattson Towley combined on a ball served into the box where Diggs finished with a goal in the lower right corner for the win.
After the game, DeVries had praise for the Crown goalkeeper, John Loeffler, who had 11 saves in the game.
"We put a lot of pressure on him and he made big plays when it mattered."
"Today we learned to fight back from being down. We have to stay on our mark no matter who we're playing," said DeVries.
The Cougar men's soccer team scored early and then hung on to earn a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Northwestern College in Minneapolis Saturday.
It was the second time in two days that UMM had been tested by an opponent they had already handily defeated this season. They beat Northwestern 5-0 on Sept. 25.
DeVries gave all the credit to his opponents and their coaches.
"[Northwestern and Crown] did everything they needed to do to beat us. They were well-coached and knew how to attack us."
In Minneapolis, Duerr scored in the seventh minute on an assist from Patrick O'Connor. It was Duerr's conference-leading ninth goal of the season and O'Connor's similarly conference-leading eighth assist.
Shots were difficult to come by as both team's defenses frustrated opposing attacks. The Cougars managed just seven shots for the game, compared to Northwestern's five.
UMM's Tyler Weber in goal earned the shutout, his fifth of the season.
DeVries was just happy to leave with a victory.
"It's always tough to play a team the second time around. Today wasn't about scoring a bunch of goals. It was about winning the game," he said.
The Cougars' extraordinary run of shutouts in conference (broken by Crown College on Saturday) has earned them national rankings among Division III teams. At the end of last week, out of 377 teams, UMM was ranked seventh in shutout percentage and eighth in team goals against average.
The win improves the Cougars' record to 10-3, still undefeated in conference play.
The Cougars return home for a pair of games this weekend, hosting Martin Luther College on Friday and Bethany Lutheran College on Saturday.