The Gustavus Adolphus College men’s soccer team will host St. John’s University in a first round MIAC Playoff game on Wednesday, November 5 at 1:00 pm at the Gustie Soccer Field. The Gusties (6-1-3) and Johnnies (7-2-1) tied for second place in the regular season standings with 15 points, however Gustavus earned the #2 seed in the playoffs by virtue of defeating St. John’s 3-1 in Collegeville during the regular season. The winner of the match will play the winner of the Macalester (#1 seed) vs. St. Thomas (#4 seed) match on Saturday (at the site of the highest remaining seed) for the MIAC Playoff Championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Gustavus enters the MIAC Playoffs in the midst of an 11-match unbeaten string (eight wins and three ties). Gustavus has not lost a match since falling to St. Olaf, 1-0 in two overtimes on September 17. Coach Larry Zelenz’s squad has allowed only five goals in 18 matches this season, which is the lowest total in school history. The previous low was nine in 1967. The three goals allowed in ten MIAC matches was the second fewest allowed in school history. The 1985 squad allowed two goals in nine games. Gustavus has outscored its opponents 29-2 during the 11-match unbeaten string. Sophomore Bobby Kroog (Bloomington, MN/Jefferson) leads the team in scoring with 14 goals for 28 points. The starting defensive unit has been very instrumental in the Gusties success this season. That group includes seniors Elliot Stewart-Franzen (Minneapolis, MN/Holy Angels) and Joe Palmer (Mankato, MN/West) and sophomore Grant Morlock (Moorhead, MN). The goalkeeping has also been very strong for the Gusties. The junior tandem of Nate Hitch (Lakeville, MN) and Andrew Moulton (St. Peter, MN) has shared duties the entire season. Hitch has posted a record of 9-0-0 with a goals against average of 0.35 and six shutouts, while Moulton has compiled a record of 5-1-3 with a goals against average of 0.27 and seven shutouts.
St. John’s enters the MIAC Playoffs in the midst of a six-match unbeaten string (five wins and one tie). The Johnnies have outscored their opponents 8-2 during that stretch which included a 0-0 tie with MIAC Champion Macalester. St. John’s outscored its opponents 16-10 in MIAC play while posting a 7-2-1 league record. The Johnnies are led by senior forward Joe Schmidt (Mendota Heights, MN/Cretin-Derham Hall) and junior forward Andy Witchger (Edina, MN). Schmidt has compiled 10 goals and six assists for 26 points while Witchger has contributed seven goals and 11 assists for 25 points. Junior Eric Prawalsky (Minneapolis, MN/South), who has played virtually every minute in the nets for St. John’s, has posted a record of 10-3-3 with a goals against average of 0.80 and seven shutouts.
Gustavus is currently ranked third in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) West Region poll and 18th in the NSCAA National poll. St. John’s is currently rated ninth in the West Region poll.
This is the first year that the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference has sanctioned a post-season playoff in men’s soccer.
The game will be webcast on the Gustavus athletic website. People can listen to the game by clicking here.