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FOOTBALL
MORRIS, Minn. – Justin Masloski topped 300 yards passing for the first time in his collegiate career, but Martin Luther’s top-ranked offense proved too much as Minnesota Morris dropped a 41-28 decision to the Knights in UMAC football action at Big Cat Stadium.

Masloski threw for 360 yards, the most by a Cougar quarterback since 2013 when Donnie Mavencamp threw for 404 yards against Northwestern. The junior got his hot hand started on the first drive of the game. He hit Nathan Sheridan for a 13-yard completion on a 3rd-and-11. He later connected with Branden Carlson on another 13-yard reception on a 3rd-and-10. Two plays later, he hit Carlson for a 52-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Cougar lead.

Martin Luther quickly struck back though as Zach Bloomquist hit Josh Arndt for a 56-yard score to tie the game at 7.

Masloski was back at it on the next drive. He hit JT Karis down the left sideline for a 65-yard touchdown connection that gave UMM a 14-7 lead.

The Knights would counter again though. Nate Stein closed out an 11-play, 67-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown rush to knot the game at 14 with 3:28 left in the first quarter.

Martin Luther took a 20-14 lead early in the second quarter. Masloski used his arm and his feet to give the Cougars the lead. As part of a 7-play, 64-yard drive, his 30-yard rush on a 3rd-and-4 prolonged the drive. His 19-yard connection to Sheridan put the Cougars inside the MLC 10. On a 3rd-and-goal, he hit Sheridan for a 9-yard touchdown reception that gave the Cougars a 21-20 lead.

Martin Luther scored twice before the half to take a 34-21 lead into the locker room.

The Knights extended their lead quickly in the third quarter. Bloomquist hit Arndt for an 87-yard touchdown to make it 41-21. Arndt caught only four passes, but they went for an MLC record 222 yards and three touchdowns.

Masloski would add his fourth touchdown pass with a 4-yard connection to Carlson early in the fourth quarter.

Carlson caught eight passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Sheridan made six grabs for 63 yards. Karis caught four balls for 83 yards and Carter Geyer had four receptions for 44 yards.

The Minnesota Morris defense came into the game tied for ninth in the nation in turnovers gained with 21 and added to that total with three more on Saturday. Marcos Luna, Trent Maloney, and Preston Fifarek all forced fumbles with Drew Shipley recovering two of them and Joseph Loija smothering the other.

Luna was all over the field recording 17 tackles and a half a sack. Carter Wattenhofer made 14 stops. Shipley added 13 tackles to his fumble recoveries and Loija made 10 tackles.

Minnesota Morris (2-6, 2-4 in UMAC) heads north for their next game, next Saturday at St. Scholastica.

CROSS COUNTRY
BENSON, Minn. – Senior Katherine Novak broke away from the lead pack and crossed the finish line Saturday as a UMAC champion in winning the individual title at the UMAC Women’s Cross Country Championships at Benson Golf Club.

Novak’s time of 23:29.3 over the six-kilometer course was 25 seconds ahead of runner-up Aria Plewa of St. Scholastica. Novak becomes the third Cougar runner to win an individual cross country conference championship over the last ten seasons: Amanda Peters (2014), Linda Keller (2009-12).

Novak paced the Cougars to a second place team standing with 73 points. St. Scholastica repeated as team champion with a team score of 20. Completing the field were: UW-Superior (90), Martin Luther (99), Crown (146), Bethany Lutheran (162), Northwestern (174), Northland (190), and North Central.

Two other Cougars earned top 10 finishes behind Novak. Paige Stearns ran a ninth place time of 24:51.5 and Kaitlyn Ladwig was right behind with a time of 24:52.5. Brittney Jonson crossed the finish line with a time of 25:56.6, good for 22nd place and Alexa Yeager rounded out the Cougar top five with a time of 26:58.0.

Junior Ryan Anderson’s runner-up finish helped the Cougar men’s cross country team to a third place team standing at the Championships.

It was no surprise that Anderson vying for the individual crown. He won his last competitive race two weeks ago at the St. Boni Invite. His second place time of 26:28.0 Saturday was just 16 seconds behind St. Scholastica’s Isaac Boedigheimer who ran a winning time of 26:11.7 over the eight-kilometer course.

Wisconsin-Superior repeated as team champion with 32 points as they had five runners place in the top ten. St. Scholastica was second with 60 points and the Cougars totaled 79 points. The field rounded out with Martin Luther (100), Bethany Lutheran (167), Northwestern (170), North Central (171), Northland (182), and Crown (278).

The Cougars had three top 20 finishers behind Anderson. Benjamin Barnack had the second best Cougar time with a 13th place time of 27:38.4. Raymond Abraham had an 18th place time of 27:53.9 and Gabriel Davila was two slots behind Abraham with a time of 28:04.7. Edmund Cease rounded out the UMM top five with a 26th place time of 28:24.2.

WOMEN’S SOCCER
MORRIS, Minn. – There was a lot on the line Saturday for the Minnesota Morris women’s soccer team. A win and they would secure a UMAC postseason berth. They could still get in depending on results of other contests. The Cougars did fall to UW-Superior, 2-0, at the Cougar Soccer Field, but did receive a playoff berth with a Bethany Lutheran loss to St. Scholastica. The Cougars will be the No. 5 seed and will travel to face the No. 4 seed Yellowjackets on Monday in a UMAC quarterfinal.

It was a tightly contested first half Saturday. The Cougars held a 7-5 edge in total shots, but neither team could crack the scoreboard in a scoreless first 45 minutes.

The Yellowjackets took advantage of a pair scoring chances in the second half. Claire Smith and Annah Schussman assisted on a Sarah Fjeran goal in the 52nd minute. Schussman fed Kaylie Johnson with a long pass in the 67th minute to give UWS a 2-0 lead.

The Cougars outshot the Yellowjackets 16-8 in the contest. Bailey Tschida made five saves in net for the Cougars.

Minnesota Morris finishes the regular season with a 6-10 overall record and 6-6 mark in the UMAC.

MEN’S SOCCER
MORRIS, Minn. – Minnesota Morris honored eight seniors who were playing in their final regular season home game Saturday. The Cougars, having already qualified for a UMAC postseason berth, fell to conference-leading UW-Superior, 3-1, in UMAC men’s soccer action at the Cougar Soccer Field.

The Yellowjackets controlled the action from the offensive from the onset as they held a 29-8 edge in total shots and 14-2 advantage in shots on goal throughout the contest. The Cougar goalkeepers did a good job of keeping UMM in the game. Senior Matt Marshall started and made two saves in just over 10 minutes and Jake Peterson stopped nine Yellowjacket shots.

UWS was able to connect on one shot in the first half, an Aaron Blanchard goal in the 35th minute to take a lead going into halftime.

The Yellowjackets added goals in the 58th and 76th minutes to extend the lead. Tristan Balk got the Cougars in the scoring column in the 87th minute with a deposit in the net off a steal.

Minnesota Morris finishes the regular season with a 6-11-3 overall record and 6-4-2 mark in the UMAC. They have earned the No. 4 seed and will host No. 5 Crown on Monday. The Cougars defeated the Storm twice in the regular season.

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