The Gustavus men’s soccer team was knocked out of the MIAC Playoffs by St. John’s on Wednesday afternoon in St. Peter. The two teams battled to a 0-0 tie through 90 minutes of regulation play and then another 20 minutes of overtime. The game was decided by a shootout where the Johnnies outscored the Gusties 4-3 in penalty kicks.
The match was played in very windy conditions with winds gusting up to 40 miles an hour during the match. The Gusties played with the wind in the first half and controlled play but could not manage to score. Gustavus held a 7-1 advantage in shots in the first half. The Gusties had several strong scoring opportunities in the half, two on corner kicks that ended in key saves by Johnnie goaltender Matt Sundberg. In the 20th minute, Gustavus midfielder J.T. Johnson drove a direct free kick that hit the crossbar and ricocheted away.
In the second half, Saint John’s had the wind and outshot the Gusties 3-1. The Johnnies two best opportunities came off of corner kicks by Jerry D’Alessandro. Both were saved by Gustavus goalkeeper Tyler Garry.
In the first overtime, neither team was able to put together a significant scoring opportunity and neither team recorded a shot on goal.
In the second overtime, Gustavus had a strong scoring chance when Caleb Bousu found the ball on his foot two yards from the goal line, however Sundberg was there to smother the ball on Bousu’s foot. Saint John’s had a good opportunity just a few minutes later when Ben Passe directed a shot on net that was saved by Tyler Garry. The Gusties would get one last chance to claim victory when Ben Heupel broke free and had an open shot on net with 1:25 left but the shot sailed over the crossbar.
In the shootout, Gustavus made its first shot as J.T. Johnson scored. Saint John’s missed its first opportunity. Gustavus then missed its next two shots, while Saint John’s scored on its next two opportunities to take a 2-1 lead. The Gusties would go on to get penalty kick goals from Mike Butterworth and Jon Astry which forced Saint John’s to score on their final attempt to win the shootout. Ben Passe drove the ball on the ground into the right corner sending the Johnnies into the MIAC Playoff Championship against Macalester on Saturday.
Gustavus will now have to wait and see if the NCAA selection committee will offer them an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Tournament Field will be announced on Sunday evening.