DULUTH, Minn. (csssaints.com) – Erik Trochimchuk headed in a corner in the 79th minute to give the St. Scholastica men's soccer team the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Tournament Championship with 1-0 victory over the University of Minnesota Morris at Saints Field on Saturday.
The Saints will now advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the second time in program history. The first coming in 2010 when they fell to Augsburg College in double overtime in Whitewater, Wis.
Minnesota Morris came out very aggressive in today's championship game, pressuring the Saints the whole field. The Cougars had scoring chances early as Ebrima Badgie had a shot on goal in the first three minutes that was stopped by CSS 'keeper Adam Hewitt.
Later in the first half a free kick by Badgie just outside the box would hit the cross bar and the rebound would fall to William Wachutka who headed it to an open goal, but Hewitt jumped out of nowhere to make the save. The game would be scoreless at the half. Morris outshot CSS 10-2 in the first half.
The Cougars kept the pressure on in the second half and things got much more difficult for the Saints when Sean Morgan received a red card with 20 minutes left in regulation, meaning the Saints would have to play a man down the rest of the way.
If you recall, the Saints received a red card in last year's championship game against Morris leading 2-0 and ultimately lost the lead and fell in a shootout. On the other hand, earlier this season the Saints picked up a red card at Morris and managed to score the game-winner with 88 seconds left in regulation.
Once the Saints were playing a man down this afternoon, the flow of the game started to go towards the middle of the field and even sometimes favoring the Saints.
In the 79th minute the Saints would earn back-to-back corner kicks, their only two corners of the match. On the second corner Joe Watt played it in and it deflected off of Tom Corcoran's head and onto the head of Trochimchuk who was at the far post and buried it to give the Saints the 1-0 lead.
The Cougars would get a couple shots on goal after that, including many good looks at the net, but could not convert as the Saints prevailed 1-0.
Hewitt made seven saves in the win and was named the UMAC Tournament's Most Valuable Player. Jacob Borash made three saves in the loss for the Cougars. Morris outshot St. Scholastica 22-6 for the game.
The Cougars' season comes to an end with a 12-8-2 record. This was the sixth straight year both CSS and Morris played for the UMAC Men's Soccer Tournament championship.
The Saints (18-4-0) will find out Monday at noon local time who and where they will be playing in the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will be broadcasted live on NCAA.com.