Tuesday Talk is a weekly news and notes feature on Tommiesports.com
Tommie Men's Golf coach Scott Proshek knew it would be a hard decision. And now it's crunch time, with five of his players chasing two spots for his conference lineup.
Proshek has two more days of practice rounds that will determine the rest of his five-man lineup for next week's three-day, 54-hole MIAC Championships. The 10-team competition starts Saturday and Sunday and concludes Monday in Jordan, Minn.
In three tournaments this fall, four different Tommie players have shared or posted the team's low score. Seven different players have posted individual rounds of 72 or better. Nine different players are averaging between 74.0 and 76.8 this fall through six rounds.
St. Thomas placed fourth at the conference meet last season, but Proshek feels that his players are poised to put together a good weekend of golf. UST will likely battle St. John's, Augsburg, Gustavus and Concordia at the top.
St. Thomas has five fall teams ranked this week in national top-25 polls:
- Men's Soccer is at No. 10;
- Football is at No. 7;
- Women's Cross Country is at No. 22;
- Volleyball is at No. 17;
- Men's Golf is at No. 24.
Senior twins Justin and Tyler Oliver have produced electricity near the net, but senior Shae Bottum is quietly playing a large role in St. Thomas Men's Soccer's 8-1 season start.
The Oliver brothers have combined to score 12 goals and five assists through the opening nine contests.
More off the radar, Bottum has scored nine assists in nine games, on school-record pace for one season. Tom McCarr holds the UST record with 13 assists in 1987. Bottum's total has already put him in the top 10 for one season. Mark Heydt had 10 assists last season -- the most by a Tommie in the last 14 seasons.
Coach Jon Lowery's squad is 22-1 in games when the All-America Bottum has scored a goal or assist, including 18 consecutive victories. He has 45 points (14 goals, 17 assists) in 73 career games. In Tuesday's win, his corner kick entry was headed in by Kevin Van Lieshout for the tying goal late in the first half, and Bottum scored what stood up as the game winner as he converted a penalty kick in the 63rd minute.
No. 10-ranked St. Thomas has a big MIAC road test Saturday at Macalester (1 p.m.), in a match up of 2016 MIAC playoff championship game teams. Those squads are ranked 1-2 in the NCAA North region.
No. 17-ranked St. Thomas has three matches this week -- Wednesday night at St. Olaf; Saturday afternoon home vs. Macalester; and Saturday evening away at ranked Northwestern-St Paul.
The Tommies (13-2 overall, 3-0 MIAC) have won 13 of their last 14 matches this season and 31 of their last 38 contests dating back to 2016.
Coach Thanh Pham's squad swept St. Ben's and Carleton last week.
St. Thomas' 20-17 defeat of archrival and previous No. 6-ranked St. John's on Saturday before a Division III-record crowd announced at 37,355 let it move up in the national polls. The Tommies (3-1 overall, 2-0 MIAC) climbed three spots to No. 7 in both the D3football.com and AFCA rankings, and move to No. 5 in the Hero Sports computer rankings.
The Tommie defense has eight takeaways and 37 tackles for loss. Opponents are averaging only 48 rushing yards, 214 total yards and 10 first downs. The foes convert just 19 percent on third down, and are scoring under 14 points a game. On offense, UST is averaging 275 passing yards and 162 rushing yards.
The Toms play Saturday at 1:10 p.m. against 3-1 Augsburg -- a team averaging 41 points a game.
St. Thomas (6-1-1 overall, 3-1 MIAC) is in the midst of a span with six road tests in seven games. It started with a 2-0 win last Saturday at Gustavus.
The Toms play Wednesday at Wartburg (Iowa) at 7 p.m., and again Saturday at Macalester (3:30 p.m.).
Senior Brielle Bierman scored in the 40th minute Saturday to lead a 2-0 victory over Gustavus. Bierman is closing in on 50 career points with 17 goals and 13 assists in 58 games. St. Thomas is 13-1 in games on her career when she has scored a goal.
Men's Cross Country
St. Thomas sophomore Karl Wachter, freshman Carl Kozlowski, and junior Parker Rosenau had solid races Saturday at the Williams (Mass.) Invite.
Wachter clocked 27:04 for 23rd place and was the eighth overall freshman or sophomore finisher on the day in a field of 325 runners. Kozlowski (68th, 27:49) and Rosenau (82nd, 27:55) also finished in the top quarter of the field.
Some of the Toms will race Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in Northfield at the Carleton Invite.
Women's Cross Country
Sophomore Becca Wilkin placed 10th to lead St. Thomas Women's Cross Country to second of 12 teams in the D-III race at last Saturday's U of M Gopher Griak Invite.
Carleton (26), St. Thomas (67) and UW-River Falls (82) had the top three team placings.
Wilkin (24:29) was followed by teammates Sara Ness (11th), Melissa Marsh (12th), Jenny Launder (14th), Megan Gossfeld (21st) in a field of 154 finishers. Katie Breuckman (26th), Ali Glassbrenner (28th), Amber Matzoll (29th) and freshman Carly Scheuerman (32nd) also finished in the top 35. There was a 67-second split among the Tommie top nine.
St. Thomas has a weekend off to prepare for the Oct. 7-9 MIAC Championships set for Becker, Minn.
The Toms placed seventh last weekend in Hastings at the 36-hole College City Challenge. Emily Thul, Kate Drimel and Marja Sorensen had top-20 placings.