MLC football team locks up NCAA tournament bid

ST. BONIFACIUS — The Martin Luther College football team secured its second consecutive Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) championship with a 53-20 win at Crown College on Saturday.

The Knights clinched the conference’s automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III Championships and at least a share of the conference title last week with a win at MacMurray, but this week earned that honor all to itself with its 16th consecutive win in league play dating back to the start of the 2018 season.

MLC won Saturday’s game with a record-breaking performance on the ground as it set a new school single-game record with 522 yards rushing on 54 attempts. Both Austin DeNoyer (15 carries, 217 yards and three touchdowns) and Joshuah Kren (nine carries, 214 yards and two touchdowns) went over 200 yards on the ground in the game, and Kren also added a 26-yard touchdown reception.

With those totals, DeNoyer broke his own MLC single-season record for rushing yards with 1,298 (previous record was 1,086), while Kren pushed his season total for rushing yards to 1,010 to give the Knights two runners with at least 1,000 yards for the first time in program history.

Kren also broke the MLC single-season record for all-purpose yards with 1,484. DeNoyer set the previous mark with 1,442 yards in 2018.

The Knights jumped out to a 28-0 lead thanks to long touchdowns by Kren (70, 26 and 54 yards) and DeNoyer (63 yards), but the Storm was able to cut the deficit to 34-20 in the third quarter.

DeNoyer put the game away in the fourth quarter, scoring twice on runs of 12 and one yard, and Brice Guse added the final points with a five-yard score with just under four minutes to play.

Ethan Aguilar finished the day completing seven of 10 passes for 93 yards and one score.

The defense held the Storm to only 41 yards rushing and also forced a pair of turnovers. Ian Paulsen led the charge on defense with eight tackles, including three tackles for loss. Joe Herrewig and Matt Beahman each recorded an interception.

MLC improved to 9-1 on the season and 8-0 in UMAC play with the win. Crown fell to 3-7 overall and 2-6 in league play in defeat.

The Knights will learn their opponent in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championships tomorrow (Sunday, November 17) during the selection show that will be posted at 4:30 p.m.

Women’s basketball

NEW ULM — The Martin Luther College women’s basketball team set a new season-high for points scored in an 88-71 home defeat to UW-River Falls on Saturday.

The Knights started strong, but the Falcons finished the first quarter with a 23-15 lead and held a 42-35 advantage at the half.

UWRF began to pull away in the third quarter, outscoring MLC 24-18 with the help of a pressure defense that forced 27 MLC turnovers for the game that the Falcons turned into 29 points on the other end.

In the fourth quarter, but the Knights hung tough, but the Falcons’ lead was too much to overcome.

After struggling offensively in Tuesday’s home opener against Viterbo, the Knights scored at least 15 points in each quarter and made nine of 18 attempts from beyond the three point line in the loss. MLC shot 37.5 percent from the field overall, but UWRF shot 42.2 percent and was able to outscore the Knights 40-24 in the paint.

First-year point guard Ally Platzer had a career day for the Knights with 23 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field (including 5-6 from beyond the 3-point arc). Emily Witkowski added 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Erika Gosch scored nine points off the bench.

MLC fell to 0-4 on the season in defeat, while UWRF improved to 2-1 with the win.

The Knights will return to action on Tuesday when they host Gustavus Adolphus College in a game scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Men’s cross-country

WAVERLY, Iowa — The MLC men’s cross-country team closed the 2019 season at the NCAA Division III Central Regional on Saturday at Wartburg College.

The Knights finished the event 25th place and took fourth out of the seven UMAC schools in attendance with 784 total points in the final standings. Wartburg took first with 52 total points, followed in the top three by Carleton (56) and St. Olaf (108).

Ethan Carter was the top runner for MLC with a time of 28:27.5, good for 131st place.

Ryan Maertz (29:05.7), Josiah Loersch (29:51.0), Caleb Lash (29:52.6) and Jacob Melso (30:54.7) rounded out the top five for the Knights.

Women’s cross-country

WAVERLY, Iowa — The MLC women’s cross-country team closed the 2019 season at the NCAA Division III Central Regional on Saturday at Wartburg College.

MLC finished the event in 27th place overall and took fifth out of the seven UMAC teams at the race with 772 points. Carleton finished first with 57 points, followed by Wartburg (59) and Loras (125) in the top three.

Abigail Buege finished a stellar first season with an 89th place finish following a time of 25:05.8.

Aimee Olsen (27:52.3), Elsa Ponath (27:52.8), Hannah Kratz (28:01.7) and Emmalie Olsen (28:09.0) were the other four MLC runners to score at the event.

Information courtesy of MLC Athletics


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