The Gustavus men’s soccer team defeated Bethel University 1-0 on Tuesday afternoon in St. Peter, Minn. The Gusties improve to 16-1-2 overall and advance to the MIAC tournament final on Saturday, November 6 at 1:00pm in St. Peter, Minn. Bethel’s season ends with an overall record of 11-7-1, which is its best overall record since 1981.
The Gusties controlled the majority of possession in the first half of play, creating several chances to score. Substitute Alex Groth gave Gustavus a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute of play. Bobby Kroog took a left-footed shot just outside the penalty box that deflected into the air and at the goal. Groth went into the air to win the ball against a defender and the goalkeeper. The ball bounced of Groth’s chest and rolled into the empty net to give the Gusties the lead. Gustavus held a 6-2 shot advantage and a 3-2 corner kick advantage at the intermission.
Gustavus started the second half well, moving the ball easily around the Bethel defense. The Royals absorbed the Gustie attack and countered hard up the field. The Royals put the Gusties under a considerable amount of pressure but were unable to score. Bethel outshot Gustavus 6-5 in the second half and held a 5-1 corner kick advantage. With just over a minute to play, Bethel was awarded a free-kick just past the center circle on its offensive half. Royal goalkeeper Eric Berg hammered a shot directly on net and Gustie goalkeeper Andy Moulton was forced to deflect the shot away. The Gusties cleared the ball out and held onto the lead to advance to their second consecutive MIAC tournament final.
In the other semifinal game, Macalester defeated St. Olaf 2-0 on Tuesday afternoon in Northfield, Minn. to advance to the conference tournament final for the second consecutive year. Gustavus will host Macalester on Saturday, November 6 at 1:00pm. Gustavus defeated Macalester 1-0 in double overtime earlier this season in St. Paul, Minn. The Gusties and Scots also met last year in the conference final with the Gusties winning 2-1. The winner of Saturday’s match will be crowned the 2004 MIAC Tournament Champion and will advance to the NCAA tournament, which is scheduled to begin November 10.