The St. Thomas men’s soccer team won a 2-1 overtime thriller at home against the University of Minnesota-Morris Wednesday afternoon.
Tommie sophomore standout Mike Hutton scored the game-winning goal just under three minutes into the overtime period for his third goal of the season.
The Cougars threw everything they had at the disciplined Tommie defense, anchored by junior defenseman Colin White.
“They had three guys in the midfield that caused us a lot of problems all game long,” coach Aaron Macke said. “[They] were bigger than us and more technical than us and it showed [as] it allowed them to get the ball forward.“
The Cougars offense was led by senior forward Brent Diggs, who broke down the sidelines several times early in the game, but junior back-up goalkeeper Alexander Benson made a few tough saves.
The game was physical on both ends of the field, causing the referee to give two cards late in the first half to senior Tommie forward Austin Kane and Cougar senior defenseman Dana Veth.
The first half ended scoreless and both teams kept cool enough heads to avoid any further cards.
The Tommies broke the tie within the first 15 minutes of the second half on a lofted corner from sophomore midfielder Angel Riera that was deflected in by junior defenseman Reid Moser-Bleil.
The Cougars fought back quickly, controlling the play in the Tommie’s defensive end. Cougar sophomore Toby Glaser scored the game-tying goal in the 17th minute on a low hard shot that beat freshman goal keeper Matt Soyka to his right.
Macke was impressed with Glaser’s play.
“We just rushed out and made a mental mistake on the reach in and gave them an opportunity,” Macke said.
The remainder of the second half went back and forth with few real chances for either team. Freshman Josh Pozner had a desperate last ditch effort to get a shot but it was deflected wide, ending regulation in a 1-1 tie.
That tie didn’t last long as Hutton’s goal in overtime came off a perfect set up, which Macke had planned out in the brief intermission.
“It was just a build up and it was put right in front of the net to tap in,” Hutton said.
“We talked about getting the ball out wide early on [and] getting it down the flank to Sean [Kennedy],” Macke said. “Sean got his service in early and Mike [Hutton] crashed the net and finished like a forward is supposed to do.”
The win ended the Tommie’s two-game losing streak and raised them at a 2-2 record in non-conference play.
For the Cougars, the loss is a third in non-conference play, having also dropped games to St. John’s and Augsburg.
Macke did go deep into his bench, taking some starters out who were nursing injuries and sicknesses. Senior goal keeper Carlos Castelan was unable to play in the game due to a fever and sore throat.
“It was a game that either team could have won,” Macke said. “We had some [opportunities] and they had some, but it was a good game, a very good non-conference game for both teams.”
Brian Matthews can be reached at email@example.com