The Gustavus men’s soccer team saw its 2008 season come to a close with a 3-0 loss to Augsburg in a MIAC Playoff game in St. Peter on Tuesday afternoon. The Auggies exploded for three goals in the second half to claim their first win over the Gusties since Oct. 22, 1997. Gustavus, which finished second in the MIAC in regular season play, completed its season with a mark of 13-5-1. Augsburg, which picked up its first win in post-season play since the conference adopted the current format in 2003, advances to play Carleton on Saturday in Northfield for the MIAC Playoff Championship.
The first 45 minutes ended in a scoreless tie. Augsburg held a slim 4-3 advantage in shots, while the Gusties held a slim 3-2 advantage in corner kicks. Auggie goalkeeper Pascaul Venter (Jr., Rochester, Minn.) made two saves in the first half, while Gustavus goalkeeper Luke Strom (So., Plymouth, Minn.) did not register a save.
The Gusties looked sharp at the start of the second half and controlled play for the first five to seven minutes, but nine minutes into the final half (54:48),D.J. Wendell beat a couple of Gustavus defenders with the ball and then sent a sharp cross to Ryley Teske who re-directed the ball into the lower right hand corner of the net just passed a diving Luke Strom giving the Auggies the all-important 1-0 lead.
Eight minutes later, after the Gusties had sent a couple of hard shots on the Augsburg goal, the Auggies quickly counter-attacked up the left side of the field and Nick Anderson (Jr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) crossed the ball to Marcus Elmerskog (Fy., Trondheim, Norway), who one timed a crisp shot into the bottom left corner of the net giving the Auggies a commanding 2-0 lead.
Augsburg iced the victory in the 84th minute, when Ryan Sorenson (Jr., Plymouth, Minn.) gathered up a failed Gustie clearing attempt and two-touched a blast into the upper right corner making the final score 3-0.
Augsburg out-shot Gustavus 11-8, while the Gusties held an 8-4 advantage in corner kicks. Luke Strom made two saves and suffered the loss in nets for Gustavus. Pascaul Venter made four saves and registered the shutout win for the Auggies.
The loss was the first ever in the current MIAC Playoff format for Gustavus. The Gusties had compiled a record of 8-0-1 in nine previous playoff contests. Gustavus had won the past two MIAC Playoff titles and four titles in the past five years.
Augsburg, which finished third in the MIAC regular season standings with a record of 7-2-1, is the #3 seed in the tournament draw. The Auggies (11-3-5) will play Carleton, the #1 seed, which defeated St. Thomas 2-0 this afternoon, on Saturday at 1:00 pm in Northfield. Augsburg defeated Carleton 1-0 in Northfield on Oct. 11, which was the only loss for the Knights in league play this season. The winner of Saturday’s match will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Gustavus seniors Flynn Stewart-Franzen (Minneapolis, Minn./Holy Angels), Todd Johnson (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson), Jesus Espina-Velosa (Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins), and Ben Eriksson (Madison, Wis./West) saw their successful collegiate careers come to an end with the loss. Stewart-Franzen, Johnson, Espina-Velosa, and Eriksson helped the Gusties compiled a record of 63-15-8 overall and 33-5-2 in MIAC play during their careers.