Knights open season with 14-7 win vs. Cougars

MORRIS, Minn. — The Martin Luther College football team opened its season with a thrilling 14-7 win at UM-Morris in a designated nonconference contest Saturday.

The Knights (1-0) broke a 7-7 tie late in the fourth quarter when Joshua Arndt caught a slant pass from Zachary Bloomquist from 19 yards out with 15 seconds to play in the game for a touchdown. The score capped an eight-play, 71-yard drive that took just 1:22, and also marked the first collegiate touchdown pass for the first-year quarterback.

The defense put the Knights in position to win late, allowing only seven points and 236 total yards in the game. The Cougars (0-1) had success at times through the air (219 yards), but the Knights’ defense held them to 17 yards rushing on 25 carries and finished with four sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery.

The Knights took a 7-0 lead into halftime thanks to a Bloomquist 1-yard TD run to finish an 18-play, 88-yard drive that chewed 9:33 off the clock. That drive came directly following a fumble recovery by the Knights that thwarted an opposing drive that reached the MLC 7-yard line.

The MLC offense struggled to start the third quarter, committing a pair of turnovers and a special teams miscue to give the Cougars good field position. But the defense held the Cougars to just one score as the teams went into the final quarter tied 7-7.

The defense continued to hold the Cougars off the board to start the fourth quarter, making four-straight stops in the fourth quarter to give the offense a chance to win it late on Arndt’s catch in the final seconds.

Bloomquist led the Knights with 25 carries for 68 yards, and also completed 10 of 21 passes for 104 yards, one touchdown and one interception in his collegiate debut. Elliott Butler added 59 yards on 16 carries, while Joshua Schroeder led the MLC receivers with six catches for 54 yards. Three of Schroeder’s six grabs came on the final drive leading up to Arndt’s game-winning score.

Kenton Fabian led the defense with seven tackles, including six solo stops, one sack and two tackles for loss. Jacob Schmidt and Daniel Gensmer each recorded six tackles and combined for two sacks, while Adam Westra finished with four tackles to go with a key interception in the end zone in the third quarter to keep the score tied 7-7.

MLC will play at 1 p.m. Saturday at MacMurray.

Volleyball

NORTHFIELD, Minn. — The Martin Luther College volleyball team won two matches at the 2017 St. Olaf/Carlton Volleyball Invitational on Saturday.

The Knights (2-2) swept Hamline before topping Crown in four sets.

MLC earned its first win of the season with a sweep of Hamline 26-24, 25-14, 26-24. MLC was able to pull out close first- and third-game wins with the help of a strong attack. The Knights hit .171 for the match, while Hamline hit .000.

Jade St. Germaine was the top MLC hitter with 10 kills and an attack percentage of .435 with no errors in the match. Kira Grev added eight kills to go with 15 digs.

Taylor Weber tied Grev for the team lead with 15 digs. Rylee Weisensel led the Knights with four blocks.

MLC finished the Saturday sweep with a four-game win against Crown 25-11, 25-11, 21-25, 25-13.

The Knights dominated the match and the stat sheet, recording an attack percentage of .205 while the Storm hit -.068.

Grev led the team with 12 kills while hitting .258 for the match. St. Germaine added 11 kills to go with three blocks. Weber led the team with 14 digs.

MLC will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Catherine.

Men’s cross-country

WINONA, Minn. — The Martin Luther College men’s cross-country team opened its season with a second-place finish at the Saint Mary’s (SMU) Alumni Open 4-Mile on Saturday.

MLC sophomore Benjamin Bitter finished first in at the event with a time of 21:32.2, which was 15 seconds faster than any other competitor.

Fellow sophomore Ryan Gurgel finished third with a time of 21:49.9, which was nearly 50 seconds faster than the fourth-place finisher.

Senior Justin Wilkens finished 11th with a time of 23:01.1, while Ethan Carter and Jonathan Fleischmann rounded out the MLC top five in 14th and 15th place.

MLC finished the team competition with a total of 44 total points, three more than third-place SMU, but nine shy of first place Luther’s total of 35 points.

MLC will compete at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, at St. Olaf.

Women’s cross-country

WINONA, Minn. — The Martin Luther College women’s cross-country team opened its season with a third-place finish at the Saint Mary’s University (SMU) Alumni Open 5k on Saturday.

The Knights finished third out of four teams in attendance with 58 total points, five shy of second-place SMU. Luther College won the event with 34 total team points.

First-year runners Leah Miller and Rebecca Boehlke were the top finishers in eighth and ninth places, followed by junior Sydney Cody in 10th place. Miller’s final time was 24:02.9, with Boehlke and Cody each crossing the finish line within the next 10 seconds.

First-year runner Eliza Punzel finished 17th, while junior Abby Lash rounded out the MLC top five in 24th place.

MLC will compete at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, at St. Olaf.

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