The Gustavus men’s soccer team is tied with Whitworth 1-1 in a NCAA national semifinal in Greensboro, N.C. The winner will play the winner of the Messiah (Pa.) on Saturday at 4:00 pm (CST) for the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championship. This weekend’s matches will be broadcast through the Gustavus Athletics website. Alex Groth put the Gusties on the board in the 13th minute, but a Whitworth goal knotted the score at 1-1.
This weekend’s matches will be broadcast through the Gustavus Athletics website. Friday’s broadcast will begin at 6:15 pm. Gustavus sports information director Tim Kennedy will call the play-by-play for the match. If the Gusties win on Friday, Saturday’s match will also be broadcast beginning at 3:45 pm. Click here to link to the broadcast page. Saturday’s championship match will be video streamed live through NCAASports.com beginning at 4 pm. Click here to link to the NCAASports.com broadcast page.
The Gusties, who finished the regular season as co-champions of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a mark of 7-1-2, will be making their first appearance in the Championship Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Gusties advanced to the Elite Eight last year before losing to UC-Santa Cruz 1-0 in San Antonio, Texas.
Gustavus is the first MIAC men’s soccer team to reach the Championship Round of the NCAA Tournament. Women’s teams from St. Thomas (1987), Saint Benedict (1990) and Macalester (1998-1st, 1999-2nd) have previously made it to the national semifinals.
The Gusties are led by a talented group of eight seniors including midfielder Tore Johnston, midfielder Chris Pinahs, midfielder Bobby Kroog, forward Jeff Aasness, forward Caleb Bousu, defender Jordan Iblings, midfielder Jon Astry, and defender Grant Morlock. This group has compiled a mark of 62-9-14 during the past four seasons. 2004 All-American Bobby Kroog is the team’s leading scorer with 14 goals and 3 assists for 31 points. Kroog was recently named the 2005 Player of the Year by the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference soccer coaches. Kroog has also scored a goal in three straight games for Gustavus. Forward Caleb Bousu is the team’s second leading scorer with nine goals and seven assists for 25 points. Jon Astry and Jordan Iblings joined Kroog on the all-conference team. Junior Tyler Garry is the team’s primary goalkeeper. Garry has posted a mark of 13-1-3 with ten shutouts and a goals against average of 0.35.
The Gusties have not faced any of the other participants in this year’s Championship Round. Messiah (22-0-0) is the defending national champion and finished the regular season in the top spot in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas Division III National Poll. Whitworth (19-1-1) was fifth in the same poll, while Plattsburgh State (21-1-0) was 12th. Gustavus was not ranked and did not receive any votes in the national poll.
Gustavus has played a very demanding regular season schedule that included five teams that were selected to play in the NCAA Tournament. The Gusties posted a mark of 1-2-3 against those opponents including a win against UC-Santa Cruz (3-1), losses to Macalester (1-0), and Wartburg (1-2, OT), and ties with Saint John’s (2-2, 0-0), and UW-Whitewater (1-1). In the NCAA Sectional Round, Gustavus defeated Loras College (3-0) and Fredonia State (2-0) to move into the final four. The Gusties opened the tournament with a 1-0 win over Hope College and a 1-1, 2OT tie with Wheaton (Ill.). Gustavus advanced 3-1 on penalty kicks over the Thunder.
After compiling a 3-0-1 record in the first four rounds of this year’s NCAA Tournament, the Gusties are now 6-3-5 all-time in six NCAA Tournament appearances. Gustavus is also 8-1-1 in its last ten neutral site games over the past four seasons. In addition, the Gusties are 26-2-6 in true road games over that same stretch.