Gustavus Adolphus roughs up MLC in season opener

Courtesy of MLC Athletics

ST. PETER — The Martin Luther College football team opened its 2019 season with a 50-19 loss at Gustavus Adolphus College on Saturday.

The Knights opened the scoring early in the first quarter as Joshuah Kren raced into the end zone from eight yards out on fourth down following a GAC muffed punt return to give MLC a 6-0 edge.

The Gusties took control from there, scoring 36 unanswered first-half point to take a 36-6 lead into the break.

MLC got back on the board in the third quarter, as Austin DeNoyer capped a 17-play drive that lasted nearly nine minutes with a one-yard touchdown run.

The Gusties put the game to bed in the fourth quarter, scoring on both offense and defense to push their total to 50 for the game. MLC was able to get one last score in the final minutes when first-year quarterback Colin Olson found first-year receiver Zach Thiel in the end zone from 32-yards out for the first career score for both players.

Quarterback Ethan Aguilar finished as the Knights’ leading rusher in his first career start with 52 yards on 12 carries. He also completed six of 13 pass attempts for 43 yards, but threw a pair of interceptions.

DeNoyer was unable to find much room on the ground against the stout GAC defense, carrying the ball 22 times for 49 yards and one score. Kren finished with nine carries for 29 yards and one touchdown.

The MLC defense struggled against the talented and experienced GAC offense, allowing 496 total yards for the game. Gusties’ senior quarterback Michael Veldman finished the day 18-27 through the air for 353 yards and three scores, while receiver Brice Panning caught six passes for 118 yards and three touchdowns.

Ian Paulsen led the MLC defense with 13 tackles, 11 of which were solo stops. Ben Riegsecker registered the team’s lone sack on the day, while Ben Arndt recorded a team-high three pass break-ups.

MLC will return to action for its second and final non-conference game next week when it hosts Rockford in the team’s home opener. That game is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m.

Volleyball team earns its first win of the year

OSHKOSH, Wis. — The Martin Luther College volleyball team earned its first win of the season as part of a split on day two of the Pizza Hut Classic Tournament hosted by UW-Oshkosh on Saturday. The Knights won 3-2 (24-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-20, 15-12) against Lawrence in the opening match before losing 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-16) to host UW-Oshkosh in the finale.

MLC 3, Lawrence 2

The Knights came back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat Lawrence in five sets on Saturday morning.

The match was back-and-forth between the two teams, with all five sets competitive until the end. Lawrence jumped out to a 2-1 lead thanks to wins in the first and third sets, but MLC forced a fifth and deciding set with a 25-20 win in the fourth game.

In the final set, the Knights were able to pull ahead towards the end and held on to secure their first win of the season.

Hannah Willems was dominant on the attack throughout the match for the Knights, recording 14 kills and zero errors. Alyssa Heckendorf added 13 kills, while Kati Aguilar recorded 12 kills.

Willems also added four blocks (one solo, three assists) and a pair of service aces in the match, while Kate Aswege and Aguilar led the team with 19 and 18 digs, respectively. Jewel St. Germaine finished with a team-best 25 assists to go with 14 digs and three service aces.

UW-Oshkosh 3, MLC 0

The Knights followed their thrilling win over Lawrence with a three-set loss to UW-Oshkosh in the tournament finale.

Kelsey Birschbach was the Knights’ top hitter with five kills and two aces, while St. Germaine once again led the team in assists with 10.

Willems was named to the All-Tournament Team for her performance at the two-day event.

MLC moved to 1-7 on the season following the split. The Knights will return to action on Tuesday, September 10, when it travels to Buena Vista for a match scheduled to start at 7 p.m.