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Tommies topple the Yellowjackets

Prior to their NCAA Division III playoff game, the University of Wisconsin-Superior soccer team helped pack boxes of food for the “Feed My Starving Children” organization. (Submitted photo)

The University of Wisconsin-Superior men’s soccer team came up a bit short in its first-ever NCAA Division III tournament game with a 4-3 loss to the St. Thomas Tommies Saturday afternoon in St. Paul.

Adrian Leal scored two goals and assisted on another for the Yellowjackets, who finish with an overall record of 14-7-2.

The Tommies (21-1) ran their season win streak to 18 with a 1-0 victory over Loras in Sunday’s second-round game.

STU has  now won 17 in a row at home, including seven postseason wins in 2016 and 2017, and are 31-3 in their last 32 games. The Tommies will now play in round three this weekend.

“Yesterday was an incredible end to an incredible season,” UWS coach Joe Mooney said. “We went toe-to-toe with the fourth-ranked team in the country in a game that really came down to a couple bounces.

“We scored three goals against a team that only allowed nine goals the entire season.”

The Yellowjackets stunned the Tommies by taking a 1-0 lead 14:29 into the game on Leal’s first goal.

St. Thomas tied the game 30 seconds later and added two more goals to head into halftime leading 3-1. Tyler Oliver scored the first two goals and Will Kidd scored the third.

A red card in the 41st minute from St. Thomas’ goalie provide an advantage for UWS in the second half, as the Tommies played with 10 men for the rest of the game.

Superior made it a 3-1 game two minutes into the second half when Mualigbe Keita scored with help from Leal.

Justin Oliver scored for St. Thomas in the 56th minute and Leal completed the scoring with an unassisted goal with five minutes remaining.

UWS would get one more chance on a corner kick opportunity sent in by Gunnar O’Neill-Sengbush, but they couldn’t find the net, falling 4-3.

The Yellowjackets attempted 11 shots, including nine in the second half. Dalton VonKaenel made four saves for UWS and Troy Louwagie and Aidean Hogan stopped three shots for STU.

“I am so thankful for my student-athletes,” Mooney said. “For anyone who tuned in Saturday, you saw what I saw all season — a family who played for each other from start to finish. Despite being down 3-1 at halftime, we scored two goals and gave ourselves a chance to win.

“We lost a few times this season, but never by more than a goal, and we were shutout only once, in our very first game of the season. I believe that stat shows how much character these young men possess. Win or lose, these guys always gave themselves a chance to win.”

’JACKET JOTTINGS: UWS’s roster includes five seniors Brandon Johnson, Jon Bucklew, Jonah Garcia, Nick Piazza and O’Neill-Sengbush. … St. Thomas senior Shae Bottom broke a 30-year-old school record for season assists, as he recorded his 14th of the season.


UW-Superior................... 1       2     —      3

St. Thomas..................... 3       1     —      4

First Half — 1. UWS, Adrian Leal (Fernando Bicalho), 14:29. 2. STU, Tyler Oliver (Justin Oliver), 14:59. 3. STU, T. Oliver (Will Kidd), 19:52. 4. STU, Kidd (Shae Bottom), 27:06.

Second Half — 5. UWS, Mualigbe Keita (Leal), 46:28. 6. STU, J. Oliver, 55:34. 7. UWS, Leal, 84:06.

Saves — Dalton VonKaenel, UWS, 4. Troy Louwagie, STU, 2. Aidan Hogan, STU, 1.