Lead by the class of 2012, the Tommies capped off their regular season with a 12-5 victory over #10 ranked North Dakota State, and securing the #2 seed for the UMLC playoffs April 27-29. With the win the Tommies have received a first round bye, and will wait to play the winner of NDSU/St. Olaf in the semi final game.
The regular season match-up was played at St. Thomas on a beautiful Sunday morning in front of many parents, fans and alumni from both squads. Before the game began, the seniors from both teams were honored for their years of dedication to their respective programs. All six Tommie seniors started the game against the Bison. Early on the Bison received a 3-minute, non-releasable penalty for an illegal stick, giving the potent Tommie offense the opportunity to play with an extra man. But the Tommies were not able to capitalize on the man-up opportunity, and the Bison controlled the tempo of the first quarter, which ended 1-1.
St. Thomas rose to the occasion in the second quarter, though, scoring six goals and taking a commanding 7-2 lead at half time. Only having 1 senior on the offensive side of the ball, Michael Fitzgerald, allowed the Tommies to show off their young talent. Netting three goals each were sophamore Giuseppe Palermo and freshman Nick Altmann while Altmann's classmate Peter Schubloom also scored twice. The other five seniors all play on the defensive side of the ball and their experience shined through during this tough match-up against a Bison squad that is youthful on the offensive side. The strong Tommie D came out on top this game holding the talented Bison offense to just 5 goals with a final score of 12-5.
The team will now quickly shift their focus to the post season, where every team begins with a clean slate. No one knows this better than Coach Moosbrugger. The Tommie coaching staff will use this week to prepare not only for NDSU, but a potential rematch with their archrival St. Johns on Sunday for the automatic bid to Greenville.
Check out the website this week for a complete preview of the UMLC playoffs and a look ahead to Greenville and the MCLA National Tournament!
The 2015 lacrosse season kicks off this weekend as the University of St. Thomas men’s lacrosse team will take on the fifteenth-ranked Missouri Valley Vikings on Saturday at 6:00 pm at the Concordia University Dome. Missouri Valley will prove to be a tough opponent as many believe they are a much better team than their early season ranking would indicate. The Tommies enter the season ranked fourth once again appearing in the pre-season top five for the fourth consecutive season. The St. Thomas lacrosse team has been on an incredible run as they have won four National Championships in the past six years. In 2014 UST was stopped short of their ultimate championship goal, suffering a loss in the national semi-final game to Grand Valley State University (GVSU).
The team has a very tough schedule in 2015 as seven out of their ten regular season games will be against nationally ranked opponents. This year’s team will know exactly what they are made of early on when they travel to Chicago the last weekend in March to face current number two ranked and defending National Champion GVSU. The Tommies will also face talented programs in fifth ranked Grove City and thirteenth ranked Indiana Tech, two teams that qualified for the 2014 National Tournament.
As always, one of the best games of the year in the MCLA is when UST squares off against their arch rival St. John’s University. Both programs are among the elite teams in Division II of the MCLA. No matter what sport, Tommie-Johnnie games are always exciting and heated battles.
UST will finish their regular season making the trip west and north to take on NDSU. The number three ranked Bison are on a roll as they are looking to make a deep run in the national tournament this season.
The Tommies have a young, yet very talented team lead by five returning seniors:
· Captain Matt Kleven (Midfield)
· Captain John Michael Coon (Midfield)
· Peter Schubloom (Midfield)
· Carl Norberg (Midfield)
· Zach Whiteis (Attack)
The senior class has provided great leadership with their work ethic and dedication to the team. The MCLA named four-year starters Kleven, Coon and Schubloom All American in the 2014 season. This midfield has speed to burn while Matt Kleven has proven he has one of the best shots in the MCLA.
The offense has good depth and talent all around with several returning starters at the attack position and mid-field. The Tommies will depend on major contributions from returning attackmen Danny Burke, Chris Moulton and Sean Hickey. UST aims to dominate time of possession this year with strong play from the midfield and the addition of two outstanding face-off players in Eric Thysse and Ben Campbell. Second-year players Ryan McNeil and Andrew Sotis are players to keep an eye on as they look to have break-out seasons as sophomores.
On the defensive end, the Tommies have added depth at nearly every position. “We have a young, athletic defense this season,” stated new head Coach Brian Gross. “Our defense works extremely hard, and I think we have the talent and the defensive schemes in place to be very good,” Gross said.
This year’s team is extremely motivated to make a seventh straight appearance in the semi-finals and would like nothing more than to add a fifth national championship trophy to the collection. “We worked very hard this fall and have put the time in the off-season conditioning and lifting weights to get prepared for another championship run,” stated Matt Kleven.
This year’s team has great chemistry, great leadership and a new head coach who wants to keep the tradition of winning going strong. Come out and support this year’s team at each of their five home games this season.
After a 12-year run as coach of the St. Thomas men’s lacrosse team, Peter Moosbrugger decided over the summer to officially step down, ushering in a new era for the Tommies.
Moosbrugger ultimately decided it was time to move on after deliberating about his future for several months.
“I started to realize it was time,” he said. “My daughters are older and getting into youth athletics. They’re wondering why dad always had to be at lacrosse, and I didn’t want to miss out on family stuff. I also have a full-time, rigorous job. I’ve been doing it for 12 years and knew it was time to move on.”
Despite having a new coach for the first time in over a decade, Moosbrugger believes the team will transition smoothly into an unfamiliar situation under longtime assistant Brian Gross.
“I’ve always seen Brian as working side by side with me, putting decisions that need to be made to assistants and leaders on the team,” Moosbrugger stated. “Brian has been a part of all those decisions’ processes. He went to (St. Thomas), so he has the same dedication to the program as myself.”
After the team lost to Grand Valley State University (Michigan) in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association national semifinals, Moosbrugger worked with the players in an unofficial capacity during fall ball before finally stepping away.
Players said they will miss the passion and energy Moosbrugger brought to the lacrosse field, but team captain and midfielder John Michael Coon agreed that playing for Gross makes for a smooth transition going forward.
“Coach Gross has been there pretty much every step of the way with Moose,” Coon said. “I think Gross is intense but more quiet (than Moosbrugger). You know he’s just as calculated and just as into it; it just comes out differently.”
Coon added there will be less of an adjustment to certain facets of the game.
“The schemes and the game plans aren’t necessarily different. It’s more just the temperament of the coaching staff that will be different,” Coon said.
Midfielder Andrew Sotis stressed senior leadership is another key that will enable the team to smoothly transition into Gross’ reign as coach.
“Moose always stressed the senior leadership, and this year we have the best senior leadership you could ever have,” Sotis said. “Our two captains, John Michael Coon and Matt Kleven, are really extremely good role models, and all the guys on the team look up to them and respect their work ethic and lifestyle … this will help our transition.”
Moosbrugger’s involvement with the Tommie lacrosse program dates back to 1996 during his time as a student-athlete at St. Thomas. He had a stint coaching lacrosse at the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield before taking over as coach of the Tommies in 2003.
While it was hard to walk away from his passion of coaching St. Thomas lacrosse, Moosbrugger said it was rewarding to watch the program grow during his tenure as coach.
“Every year I felt like the team got better and better,” Moosbrugger said. “I’ve said in the past, we’ve gone from a loosely-run club to a serious organization. We treat it like a college sport and the club is highly organized. I will never forget the four national championships, and I’ve made memories that will never be taken away.”
The team begins its first campaign under Gross March 14 against Missouri Valley College (Missouri). The game will be held at Concordia University in St. Paul.
William Faust can be reached at email@example.com.