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Ground game lifts MLC past Westminster

Information courtesy of MLC Athletics

FULTON, Mo. — The Martin Luther College football team ran for 384 yards on the way to a 24-14 win Upper Midwest Athletic Conference win at Westminster on Saturday.

The Blue Jays’ defense entered the game allowing fewer than 80 yards per game on the ground, but the Knights recorded 267 rushing yards in the first half with the help of touchdown runs of 54 and 79 yards by Joshuah Kren.

Westminster threw a pair of touchdown passes in the second quarter to tie the game 14-14 going into halftime, but the Knights took the lead for good late in the third quarter thanks to a 12-yard touchdown pass from Ethan Aguilar to Micah Jarvis.

After taking the lead, the MLC defense took over, holding the Blue Jays to only one first down in the final 18 minutes. Kicker Micah Otto sealed the game with a 33-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

Kren finished with a career-high 205 yards on 19 carries, while backfield mate Austin DeNoyer ran for 191 yards on 24 attempts. This marks the second time this season that both players rushed for more than 100 yards in the same game, and Kren’s 200-yard outburst is the second time this season an MLC player rushed for at least 200 yards in a game (DeNoyer ran for 225 yards at St. Scholastica on October 5).

Kren’s two touchdown runs also give him five touchdowns of at least 50 yards (four of which were at least 74 yards) so far this season.

Defensively, MLC allowed 215 total yards in the first half, but held the Blue Jays to only 28 yards on 23 second half plays to secure the win. The Knights recorded three sacks and six tackles for loss in the game, with Dan Gensmer leading the charge with seven total tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack. Nate Holz added one sack, while Keith Brassow recovered a fumble and recorded 0.5 sack.

MLC improved to 5-1 on the season and 4-0 in UMAC play with the win. Westminster fell to 2-5 overall and 2-3 in UMAC play in defeat.

The Knights will return to action on Saturday, October 26, when they host Northwestern-St. Paul in a game scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m.

Men’s soccer

NEW ULM — The Martin Luther College men’s soccer team scored two goals in just over two minutes in the second half to defeat Northwestern-St. Paul 2-0 on Saturday in UMAC action.

The game was named this week’s UMAC Game of the Week due to the potential implications on the conference standings heading into the final weeks of the season, and the two teams showed how even they were with a scoreless first half.

In the second half, the Knights finally broke through as Xander Heiman made a great pass from Joe Graumann count with a perfect shot that beat the keeper to the far side for his second career goal to give MLC the 1-0 lead in the 63rd minute.

Just 2:10 later, Luke Meihack headed home a corner kick from Clay Hirsch for his fifth goal of the season to give MLC all the cushion it would need.

MLC keeper Joshua Higgins made the two goals stick as he stopped all 13 UNW shots on goal in the game.

Graumann’s assist pushed him into fourth place in MLC men’s soccer program history with 89 career points.

The Knights improved to 5-9-2 on the season and 3-3-0 in UMAC play with the win. UNW fell to 3-12-1 overall and 2-3-0 in league play in defeat.

MLC will return to action on Tuesday, October 22, when it travels to Saint Mary’s for a game scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Women’s soccer

NEW ULM — The Martin Luther College women’s soccer team lost 1-0 to Northwestern-St. Paul on a first-half penalty kick goal.

The Eagles earned the penalty thanks to a foul in the box in the 23rd minute, and Emily Currie made the most of her chance to put UNW ahead 1-0.

That score would stick the rest of the way, thanks to MLC keeper Mollie Fischer. While the MLC offense struggled to sustain possession, Fischer stopped 11 of the Eagles’ 12 shots on goal for the game to keep the Knights within striking distance.

MLC was able to force three UNW saves in the second half, but was outshot 27-6 for the game, including 12-3 in shots on goal.

Lydia Bitter finished with a team-high four shots (two on goal) for MLC. Emily Witkowski recorded the other two shots.

MLC dropped to 5-8 on the season and 2-3 in UMAC play in defeat. UNW improved to 7-10 overall and 4-1 in league play with the win.

The Knights will return to action on Wednesday when they travel to Bethel for a game scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m.

Volleyball

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The Martin Luther College volleyball team lost both its matches at a tournament hosted by Coe College on Saturday. The Knights lost the opener 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-13) to Millikin, and followed that with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-12, 25-13) defeat to host Coe to end the day.

Millikin 3, MLC 0

The Knights struggled to get going in a three-set loss to Millikin to open the day.

MLC hit a negative percentage in each of the first two sets, and when the attack began to come around in the third game (.208 attack percentage), Millikin answered with its best attack efficiency (.333) of the match.

Kelsey Birschbach led MLC with six kills and hit .222 for the match. She also finished with a team-best three blocks.

Jewel St. Germaine finished with team highs in both digs (eight) and assists (10).

Coe 3, MLC 0

MLC dropped the second match of the day in three sets to Coe College.

The Kohawks came out firing on the attack, hitting .286 in the opening set and .483 in the second game on the way to the win.

Kati Aguilar led MLC with six kills. Kate Aswege finished with 10 digs to lead the Knights.

MLC fell to 4-20 on the season in defeat, and will return to UMAC action on Tuesday when it hosts Minnesota Morris in a match scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

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