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Dogs Brace The Cold In Illinois, Gear Up For UMLC Tournament

By Noah Myers, 04/20/18, 2:30PM CDT

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UMD will get a rematch against Grand Valley at 5 p.m. on Friday. Coach Ben Blaeser said “I know our players were unhappy with their performance against GVSU last weekend, and I am confident in their ability to bounce back.”

UMD ended up with a loss and an overtime win to wrap up the regular season this past weekend in South Barrington, Illinois, playing the two teams added to the UMLC this season. After bracing the frozen wind and rain in both games, the Dogs hope for better weather this upcoming weekend, where they will get a rematch against conference opponents in the UMLC Tournament. 
    On Saturday afternoon the Bulldogs met the #5 ranked Grand Valley State Lakers, a team that formerly ran the CCLA DII conference, but this year has become a worthy UMLC rival. The game started slow, and remained very defensive throughout four quarters. Defensive midfielders, Marcus Mondo, Kraig Urquhart and Colin Joyce kept GVSU contained on their topside dodges, but a few quick crease cuts and transition goals led to an offensive advantage for the Lakers. The UMD offense struggled to have quality possessions, often falling to unforced turnovers and lost ground balls. After a final score of 6-4 in Grand Valley’s favor, the Dogs had to quickly switch their focus to Dayton, who they played the following morning at 9. 
    The Bulldogs arrived at the field around 8 Sunday morning, greeted by high winds and freezing rain. The #6 ranked Dayton Flyers had played St. Thomas the following day, losing 8-4, so they too had a quick turnaround. The game was back and forth, with Dayton grabbing a few easy goals off turnovers early, and UMD bouncing back with some solid shots from the outside. The score was 7-6 in UMD’s favor at halftime. Blake Barta and Nick Timmons gave UMD a huge advantage at the faceoff X, allowing the offense spend more time with the ball. After two Dayton goals late in the 4th quarter, the score was tied and overtime would be necessary to decide the winner. After the ball went up and down the field a few times, UMD secured possession and Scott McNamara came up from X to sting the overtime winner. Coach Alex McNamara said “We haven't been ourselves the last few games, but after this performance I’m confident we are back on the right track, and ready to compete for a conference championship” about the 10-9 OT final.  
    Looking forward to this weekend, the seeds have been set for the UMLC Tournament. With the addition of Grand Valley and Dayton to the conference, this will be the the highest-caliber conference tournament in MCLA DII. The six teams playing in Mahtomedi, currently hold the top six spots in the national rankings. As the three seed from the UMLC West, UMD will get a rematch against Grand Valley at 5 p.m. on Friday. Coach Ben Blaeser said “I know our players were unhappy with their performance against GVSU last weekend, and I am confident in their ability to bounce back.” 
    If the Bulldogs are successful in the first round, they will play NDSU in the semi-finals on Saturday at Noon, back in Mahtomedi. 

-Noah Myers #8