Defending conference champion St. Thomas travels east along Grand Avenue to meet 2015 winner Macalester in a 1p.m. matchup of two nationally-ranked teams. The Tommies, rated No. 10 in the most recent United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division III poll, improved to 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the MIAC Tuesday with a 2-1 win over visiting Hamline. No. 21 Macalester (6-2-1, 3-0) kept pace with a 3-1 victory at Concordia.
In another 1 p.m. game, Hamline (6-4, 2-2) plays host to St. Olaf (2-7, 2-2), which lost 2-1 to visiting Gustavus Tuesday.
The Gusties (6-4, 2-2), visit Edor Nelson Field for a 5 p.m. matchup against Augsburg (6-3, 2-1), a 2-1 overtime loser Tuesday at St. John’s.
The Tommies rallied past Hamline after a first-half goal from Pipers senior Jay Reardon, arguably the MIAC’s top left back following the graduation of 2016 Player of the Year Mark Heydt of St. Thomas. Less than 10 minutes later, the hosts equalized when senior defender Kevin Van Lieshout headed a corner kick from senior midfielder Shae Bottum into the upper corner. Bottum scored the game-winner in the 63rd minute by smashing in a penalty kick as St. Thomas amassed advantages of 21-5 in shots and 7-0 in corner kicks.
Joining Bottum in a fearsome front six are Division I transfers Will Kidd of Bradley and Justin Oliver of Eastern Illinois, who rejoins his twin brother, Tyler, a 2016 transfer from the Panthers. The Oliver brothers have combined with another senior forward, Christian Elliehausen, to score 14 goals through nine games. Anchoring the group is senior holding midfielder Alex Schnobrich, who attended Shattuck-St. Mary’s and St. John’s before transferring to St. Thomas.
Two Shattuck graduates, senior Jake Burke and junior Jamel Benhamida, scored first-half goals at Concordia (2-6-1, 0-3-1) as Macalester extended its unbeaten run to six games. This despite playing with 10 men following the 62nd-minute ejection of senior Danny Baumann. Also scoring for the Scots was first-year forward Theo Nsereko.
Macalester has allowed just three goals in its last six games. One of the Scots’ three straight shutouts during that stretch was a 1-0 win at 28th-ranked Wartburg on Sept. 17.
Saturday’s Augsburg-Gustavus contest is a rematch of last year’s MIAC playoff quarterfinal, won 2-1 by the Auggies at St. Peter. Gustavus is led by junior forward Arthur Parens, whose sixth goal of the season was the game-winner Tuesday at St. Olaf. With three goals each, junior Aidan Sim-Campos and sophomore Lionel Vang headline a balanced Augsburg attack that featured nine different goal-scorers through nine games.
Hamline will have to contend with senior forward Kyle Leemon, who has scored six of St. Olaf’s seven total goals through nine games. Pacing the Pipers is sophomore forward Adam King, the team leader in goals, assists, and points (4-6-14).
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