Playing down a goal is not something the Gustavus men’s soccer team has had to do much this season. But when Hamline scored six minutes into the match on a rainy Wednesday afternoon in St. Peter, Minn., it was go-time for the Gusties. After a Kyle Sadler goal tied the match at 1-1 in the 18th minute, Grant Steine knocked home the game-winner in the 38th, handing the Gusties the victory and helping them improve to 5-1-1 in the MIAC and 12-1-1 overall. Hamline falls to 1-4-2 in league play and 3-8-2 overall with the loss.
“An enjoyable game for all today. We played extremely well at times, and moved the ball nicely,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton. “Well done by the opposition. Obviously they’re well coached and it looked as if they took plenty out of the game as well.”
The Pipers put the pressure on the No. 13 Gusties before the match was 10 minutes old. Sam Slagle roofed Gustavus keeper Brett Ylonen on a free kick from just outside the box to give Hamline a 1-0 advantage at the 6:07 mark.
It was Sean Sendelbach connecting with Kyle Sadler for the game-tying goal 12 minutes later. The goal was Sadler’s fourth of the season as he chipped the ball over Spencer VonBehren’s head on a rush up the right side.
“Going down early on is always a test, but we kept playing and created several excellent chances even before Grant Steine’s excellent strike for the second goal – no panic there,” commented Middleton. “Kyle Sadler showed his experience on the first goal, finishing with panache after a good move and a lovely run.”
Grant Steine’s game-winning goal, his first of such this season, off the assist of Brian Simons at the 38:43 mark turned out to be all Gustavus needed for the win. Steine extended his point-streak to three matches with the goal and has now scored six points (1G, 4A) in the last six matches.
The Gusties put up 17 shots, five of which were on goal, in the second half, yet could not get the ball past the Hamline keeper for the third time. VonBehren finished with 12 saves in the match.
“The second half proved a test in trying conditions. We opened them up royally a number of times chasing the elusive third goal, but it was not to be,” said Middleton of the second half. “Zach Brown was a different class up front, and David Lilly’s movement in front of the ball was something to behold. Sean Sendelbach, Ben Ceder and Gabe Steinborn were top class. So, overall it was very good.”
Hamline concluded the match with seven shots to Gustavus’ 30 in the match. Gustavus goalie Brett Ylonen earned the victory after making three saves in a complete game. Ylonen picks up his 10th win of the year and improves to 10-1-1 on the season.
“We are back in the national top-15, playing a style that the lads like, and a style that is also allowing them to develop as players,” remarked Middleton. “Irrelevant of the result, soccer won today – so life’s good for all!”
Gustavus will be back on the pitch Saturday, Oct. 15 with a match against Augsburg at 1:00 p.m. on the Gustie Soccer Field.