Men’s soccer finishes tough stretch with OT win

Photo by Haley Staffon
Photo by Haley Staffon

ST. PAUL – The St. Thomas men's soccer team opened the 2016 season with a grueling stretch that featured eight games in 16 days.  On Sunday, the Tommies put a fitting stamp on the end of that stretch with a 1-0 overtime win over UW-Superior at South Field. 

The Tommie men did not allow a shot on goal in the game and got a bounce to go their way with an own goal from the Yellowjackets to improve to 6-0-2 on the year, their best start since 2008 when they opened the year 8-0-0.  UW-Superior drops to 0-6-0 on the season.

The first half was played mostly between the boxes, as each team took their turn possessing the ball in the midfield.  However, neither team was able to create many truly dangerous chances, as only one shot was put on target.  In the half, the Tommies tallied four shots to none for the Yellowjackets.

The scoring chances increased in the second half.  Although just one shot was recorded on goal after the break, the total shot count more than doubled up to nine combined, shaking out to a 7-2 edge for the Purple. 

St. Thomas' best chances came in a seven-minute stretch beginning in the 63rd minute.  In that span, the Tommies got four quality looks, beginning with the only shot on goal of the half from Paul Gwidt.  UST also created a pair of corner kick opportunities that both led to shots, but neither resulted in a goal, and the two teams went to overtime.

In the overtime, no shots were recorded, yet the Tommies came away with a score just 1:24 into the extra period.  St. Thomas drew a foul deep in Yellowjacket territory, which set up a scoring chance on a free kick.  The kick was served into the box, where a UW-Superior defender deflected the pass into the top right corner of the goal to give St. Thomas the win. 

For the game, the Tommies finished with a shot advantage of 11-2 and did not allow a shot on goal for the second straight game.  They also tallied a 6-2 edge in corner kicks.

In goal, senior Grant Larson went the distance to record the shutout win.  Ben Wilhelm made two saves for UW-Superior in the loss.

St. Thomas now have a much-needed six days until its next contest, a date with Gustavus on Saturday, Sept. 24th at home.  That game is set for a 3:30 pm kickoff.