The Gustavus men’s soccer team defeated Hamline University 2-0 to claim its third MIAC Playoff Championship in the past four years. The Gusties got goals from Flynn Stewart-Franzen and Dan Suchy in the second half to help the squad claim the important win. Tyler Garry picked up his 13th shutout of the season in the nets for Gustavus. The Gusties, who earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with the victory, improved to 17-2-1 on the season, while the Pipers fall to 12-5-2.
The first half of the championship match was played very evenly and neither team was able to score a goal. Gustavus had two strong chances to score including a shot from 15 yards out by Mike Butterworth that sailed over the net and another shot by Ryan Beduhn that was turned away by a fine save by Hamline goalkeeper Andrew Clement. The Pipers had a good opportunity late in the half when forward Jacob Helling drove a ball that sailed over the cross bar from 12 yards away. The score was tied 0-0 at the intermission.
In the second half, the Gusties created several good scoring opportunities right away. Clement was able to turn Gustavus away each time. The Gusties finally got on the board in the 54th minute when Flynn Stewart-Franzen one-timed a ball into the low right corner that Clement was unable to stop. The play started off a throw-in from Mike Butterworth that was re-directed to Stewart-Franzen by Matt Broin.
Six minutes later, Gustavus extended its lead to 2-0 when senior midfielder Dan Suchy scored at the 60:03 mark. Suchy bent a corner kick over and around the Piper defense and into the net.
Hamline pressed to create scoring opportunities in the later stages of the match but the Pipers were unable get the ball past Gustavus goalkeeper Tyler Garry. Garry, who made four saves, recorded his 13th shutout of the season which ties the school record previously set by Andrew Moulton in 2004.
Gustavus has now won five consecutive matches and 12 of its last 13 with the only loss during that stretch coming to #4 UC-Santa Cruz 2-0 on October 22.
Coach Larry Zelenz and his squad will find out details about where and when they will play in the NCAA Tournament on Monday morning around 8:00 am. The Gusties, who advanced to the NCAA Championship match a year ago before falling to Messiah 1-0, will be making their fourth consecutive appearance in the national tournament. The tournament will begin with single first round games on Wednesday, Oct. 8 at sites to be determined. Most of the matches will take place next Friday and Saturday at four-team regionals which will take place throughout the country.