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Men's Soccer NCAA Round of 16 Notes -- Nov. 17

Men's Soccer NCAA Round of 16 Notes -- Nov. 17

UST Men's Soccer 22-Game Notes -- Nov. 16

 

Tournament Time

MIAC regular-season and playoff champion St. Thomas Men's Soccer travels to Chicago for round of 16 action in the NCAA Division III playoffs.

No. 4-ranked St. Thomas (21-1) will face No. 10-ranked Otterbein (Ohio) (19-2) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on the North Park University campus. Unranked Washington and Lee (Va.) (15-4-1) will take on No. 5-ranked North Park (18-1-1) at 11 a.m. before the Tommies take the field.

The winners will play on Sunday at 1 p.m., for the opportunity to advance to the national semifinals. 

All games will have live video and live stats.

 

Superlatives

The Toms have won 31 of their last 34 games since late last season, including a 10-1 record in postseason play. That includes 18 victories in a row this season and 17 consecutive home victories.

 

Offense

St. Thomas outscored foes last season 41-13, and this year have a 53-15 advantage. The Toms need two goals to tie a school season record of 55 set in 2001.

This year's team combined to score 10 goals against two UMAC conference top-tier teams: Northwestern-St. Paul and UW-Superior. They combined for 14 goals in three victories against perennial MIAC conference contenders Gustavus, St. John's and Macalester (playoff).

 

Milestone Year

This is the 50th season of Tommie Men's Soccer. The program played its 800th game last season and has a 489-256-89 all-time record (.640 win clip).

 

Turnaround

The Tommies missed the NCAA playoffs for 20 consecutive seasons from 1996-2015 but is back in the national field for the second season year in a row. The Toms went 4-1 in NCAA playoff games last season, losing 2-1 to eventual national champion Tufts in the national semifinals.

 

Clutch Time

The Toms improved to 10-1 in postseason play over the last two seasons with four victories thus far in 2017: a 3-0 win over Hamline and a 5-2 win over Macalester in the conference playoffs, and 4-3 defeat of UW-Superior and a 1-0 win over No. 22-ranked Loras in the NCAA first- and second-round games.

 

Second-Half Stars

St. Thomas scored all eight of its goals in the two conference playoff wins in the second halves of games, including all five it scored against Macalester. The Toms scored one second-half while goal down one player (red card) last Saturday against Superior.

 

Did You Know?

St. Thomas senior Shae Bottom -- the conference Player of the Year and a 2016 All-America honoree -- broke a 30-year-old school record for season assists last weekend. During the Superior win he recorded his 14th assist of the season. One day later he scored the game's only goal against Loras.

In 86 career games, Bottum has 63 points (20 goals), including 12 game-winning goals. The Tommies are 31-1 in games on Bottom's career when he scores a goal or an assist (27 wins in row).

 

Double Trouble

Justin Oliver, a first-year transfer and senior forward, has 16 goals and four assists this season to lead all MIAC players with 36 points. His twin brother Tyler Oliver has seven goals and nine assists for 23 points.

 

Last Weekend

In the last win over Loras, senior Shae Bottum converted a penalty kick in the ninth minute, and the Tommie defense did the rest against a flurry of challenges in the second half. Freshman Niklas Martensson made his collegiate debut in goal and made three saves for the Tommies. He replaced two-year starter Aidan Hogan, who had to sit out after receiving a red card during Saturday's 4-3 defeat of UW-Superior. Hogan came out to stop a breakaway and collided with a Superior player, drawing the mid-game red card.

St. Thomas (21-1) broke its own school record for season wins set last year with 20.

In the Nov. 11 win over UW-Superior, St. Thomas scored three goals in a 12:07 span -- two by Tyler Oliver and one by Will Kidd -- to take a 3-1 lead midway through the first half. After a Tommie turnover just outside its goal box, goalie Hogan received a red card and was ejected after he tripped up a Superior player on a breakaway run in the 41st minute. Troy Louwagie came on in goal for UST. Superior pulled within 3-2 early in the second half on a goal. Justin Oliver made a steal and converted a breakaway goal in the 56th minute as the Toms regained a 4-2 lead.

Superior kept the pressure on and scored in the 85th minute to cut the deficit to 4-3. But the Toms were able to hold the Yellowjackets off the board in the closing sequence.

 

Otterbein Watch

The Otterbein Cardinals went 10-0 to win the Ohio Athletic Conference. They bring a 17-game win streak into the weekend. Kennedy Mensah has scored a team-best 10 goals.

Otterbein men's soccer web page

North Park men's soccer page

Wash and Lee men's soccer page

 

Past Postseasons 

This is St. Thomas' seventh NCAA playoff trip. UST is 8-6 all-time in the national tournament (6-1 so far the last two seasons).

The Toms made four trips in a seven-year span from 1985-1991, and qualified again in 1995. They won a pair of 1-0 decisions in 1990 to make the Sweet 16.

 

The Boss

A 2016 National Coach of the Year and the 2016 and 2017 Conference Coach of the Year, Jon Lowery has a six-season record of 83-27-13 at St. Thomas (.727 win clip) and could coach his 125th game this weekend. He's guided St. Thomas to back-to-back MIAC championships and three consecutive conference playoff title games.

Last fall Lowery led UST to the program's first conference regular-season title in 21 seasons and first NCAA trip since 1995. His 2016 Tommies won the program's first crown in the 14-year history of the conference playoffs, and the 2017 team repeated.

His recent Tommie teams have recorded three consecutive wins over region power Loras -- 2-1 in Dubuque in 2014 (ending the Duhawks' 30-game home unbeaten streak); 2-1 at home in 2015; and 1-0 last weekend at home in the NCAA second round.

 

Home Slate

The Toms went 12-1-2 at home last season and 13-0 this season.

 

Road Streak

The Toms are 26-4-1 in their last 31 games away from campus.

 

Superlatives

The Toms had a school-record 16 shutouts last season, and this fall have recorded 12 more.

 

Top Dogs 

St. Thomas is 18-2 in career games when Pierce Erickson scores a goal or assist. In games when Christian Elliehausen scores a goal or an assist, the Toms are 17-1. When Justin Oliver scores, the Toms are 14-0. When Tyler Oliver scores in his two-year career, UST is 16-0.

   

Progress

St. Thomas improved from nine wins in 2014, to 12 in 2015, to a school-record 20 in 2016 and is already at 21 thus far in 2017. 

 

Seniors

The Tommies' 28-player varsity roster includes 10 seniors and four juniors.

 

New Faces 

Four freshmen were big contributors in the Nov. 12 win over Loras -- goalie Niklas Martensson of Milwaukee, Wis., made his collegiate debut and helped pitch a shutout; defender Halvor Houg of Baerums, Norway, a foreign-exchange student last year at Forest Lake High; forward Jonathan Acevedo of St. Charles, Ill.; and midfielder Sam Holton of Mequon, Wis.

 

Academic Pride 

The Tommie men have six current non-freshman varsity players with grade-point averages of 3.70 or better, led by sophomore Drew Winkoski with an unblemished 4.00 grade-point average while majoring in Engineering.

Others at 3.70 or better are:

 

Purple Pride

St. Thomas is one of the few national institutions to make this fall's NCAA playoffs in football, volleyball, and men's and women's soccer. St. Thomas also did it in 2016 in what was a first among all conference institutions in one fall season.

The No. 4-ranked UST Football and No. 4 Men's Soccer come into this weekend with a combined 30-2 won-loss record.

Add in No. 4-ranked Tommie Men's Golf, and St. Thomas is the lone NCAA institution to have three men's fall teams ranked in the top five nationally.