The Gustavus men’s soccer team has been selected to the field for the 2005 NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championships for the third consecutive season. The Gusties, one of 17 at-large selections, will travel to Whitewater, Wisconsin to face Hope College (Mich.) in a first round match-up this weekend. Hope (17-3-0) gained entrance into the tournament as the automatic qualifier from the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
Host UW-Whitewater will face Wheaton (Ill.) at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 11, with the Hope-Gustavus match to follow at 1:30 p.m. The winners will play on Saturday, November 12 at 1 p.m.
Gustavus’ fate was placed squarely in the hands of the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Selection Committee after the Gusties were knocked out of the MIAC Playoffs in the semifinals by Saint John’s. The Gusties found themselves sweating even harder following upset wins by the Johnnies over Macalester in the MIAC Championship and Loras over Wartburg in the Iowa Conference Championship. A plus for Gustavus was their strength-of-schedule. The Gusties faced five teams that qualified for the 2005 field, picking up a season-opening tie against UW-Whitewater and a win over then-#4 ranked UC-Santa Cruz in mid-October. Gustavus also benefited from an expanded tournament structure. The field grew from 44 teams to 57 this season.
Gustavus is in the tournament for the sixth time in school history, previously making appearances in 1993, 1994, 2000, 2003 and 2004. The Gusties are 3-3-4 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Hope and Gustavus have never met on the pitch.