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Cougars start season 1-1-2 in men's soccer

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sports Morris, 56267
Morris Minnesota 607 Pacific Avenue 56267

The University of Minnesota, Morris men's soccer team starts the 2011 season 1-1-2. The Cougars started out with a loss, and after posting back-to-back ties, picked up a home win in non-conference action.

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St. John's 2

UM-Morris 0

The Cougars started the season Sept. 1, falling 2-0 on the road to Saint John's.

The Johnnies used a goal in each half - one just before, and one right after the break - for the final 2-0 margin in the season opener for both teams.

The Cougars put the pressure on first, with a header on frame just 10 minutes in from Devin Chuba. Four minutes later, a corner kick from Matt Johnson led to another shot from Chuba, but again the shot landed in the hands of Johnnie keeper Mike Sikich.

The corner kick was the only attempt of the game for the Cougars, while the Johnnies took four in the first half on their way to nine in the game.

Saint John's would go on to flip the pressure and take a 10-5 lead in shots into the break, including the game's first goal at the 41:06 mark. Lucas Wagner sent home a Josh Whitaker pass for the eventual game winner.

Coming out of halftime, SJU wasted little time before going up 2-0, as David Wee put away a Michael Coborn pass at 52:56.

The Cougars managed another five shots in the second half, but were only able to get one on goal, while the Johnnies fired off seven in the period, with four landing on net.

The Cougars were outshot 17-10, with SJU holding an 8-4 edge in shots on goal.

Tyler Weber played all 90:00 minutes between the pipes and falls to 0-1 on the young season, finishing with four saves on the day. Chuba led the offense with two shots on goal, with Greg Borchers also taking a pair of shots, landing one on goal.

Kean 1

UM-Morris 1

Trailing 1-0 with just over two minutes to play, sophomore Michael Ward put away the tying goal, as the Cougars earned a 1-1 draw with Kean in Colorado Springs Sept. 4.

Morris was playing their first of two games on the weekend in Colorado, and as they were approaching the games 90th minute, still found themselves trailing 1-0. Kean broke a scoreless tie just out of the halftime break, as their Pat Foley put away a header at the 49:51 mark.

The Cougars outshot Kean in the second by a 9-5 margin, but had to use every minute of the second to avoid their second consecutive loss to open the season.

Then with a ball loose in front of the frame, Ward got enough to slip it to the back of the net, tying the game at the 88:43 mark. It was one of two shots in the game for Ward, who entered off the bench to tie the match. Borchers led the way with six shots, while Johnson added three.

The Cougars fired off 15 total shots in the game, landing six on goal. Kean countered with 18 shots, also landing six on frame.

In overtime, the Cougar defense held Kean without a single shot while the offense created a pair of chances in the second extra session.

"I think we played well, after a long day of travel," head coach Scott Turnbull said. "It was really good to find a way to tie it up, the ball was loose and Michael was able to knock it in."

Colorado 0

UM-Morris 0

The Cougars left Colorado with a pair of ties, after settling for a 0-0 draw in double overtime with host Colorado College on Sept. 5.

Weber stopped all five shots he saw to preserve the tie, and earn his first shutout of the season.  On the offensive end, five different Cougars charted multiple shots, leading to the 13 that Morris put up as a team. The Tigers fired off 23 shots, but the Cougar defense was all over the field, allowing just five to reach Weber, the fewest shots on goal allowed all season.

Glaser led the way on offense with four shots, while Johnson, Michael Schuweiler, John Hastings, and Chuba all added two. Johnson and Glaser each added shots in overtime, but neither were able to find the back of the net.

Johnson also had back-to-back corner kicks late in the second, but the Cougars only produced one shot as the game headed to overtime.

Colorado College took seven shots in the two extra sessions, but was unable to make them count as none reached Weber.

UM-Morris 1

Concordia 0

In need of a victory entering the season's fourth game, the Cougars answered in a big way Wednesday, Sept. 7, scoring an exciting 1-0 win over MIAC power Concordia on Cougar Field.

In a hard fought, but even game, the Cougars broke through late in the first half on the back of Borchers. The senior captain took control of a ball that was caught between the teams near the top of the 18. Using his knees and chest in addition to his feet, Borchers dribbled through a trio of Concordia defenders, and once behind them, fired off a shot to the far post that beat the keeper to his left.

"I think we played our best game so far this year, first half especially," Turnbull said. "Had almost a perfect half, played very well. Greg scored a really great goal, working hard, it's all about effort."

The goal came at the 39:13 mark of the opening half, and was one of 13 combined first-half shots.

With the shutout, the Cougars make it two straight without allowing a goal, as the defense turned away 12 total Concordia shots, with only two making to goalkeeper Weber.

Weber was also dynamic on balls served into the box and on more than one occasion played loose balls eliminating shot attempts. The senior has allowed a mere three goals in four games, and just one as the Cougars are unbeaten in their last three.

Playing from behind the entire second half, the Cobbers mounted just five shots, but were not without their chances. A physical game with 30 total fouls called and six yellow cards handed out, Concordia had multiple free kicks inside the box that were defended nicely by UMM.

"Our defense has been solid all year," Turnbull said. "I can't say enough about those guys. They've only allowed three goals in four games now. Two shutouts in a row, that's a pretty big deal. That's probably the most important thing to me is not allowing goals. They just did a fantastic job. Weber again played great and really deserved a shutout."

The Cougars also held Concordia to just two corners in the match, while taking five of their own.

Borchers' goal was his first of the season and went unassisted, while he took two shots. Glaser led the team with five, with Ebrima Badgie also taking two. 

The Cobbers were led by Riley McGlynn with seven, but just one landed on goal.

The Cougars post their first win over a MIAC team in over two years, with the last coming on Sept. 5, 2009 with a 1-0 win over Hamline.

Morris will stay on Cougar Field as they close out the nonconference season, hosting UW-Superior today (Saturday) at 3 p.m. Prior to the men, the Cougar women will also host UWS, kicking off at 1 p.m.

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