Mike Butterworth (Sr., Katy, Tex.) scored with less than three minutes remaining to propel the #2 seed Gustavus men’s soccer team past St. Thomas 2-1 in a MIAC Post-Season Semifinal Wednesday afternoon in St. Peter. The win marks the fourth time Gustavus will play in the MIAC Post-Season Final where the Golden Gusties will take on #4 seed St. Olaf Saturday at 1:00 pm in St. Peter. St. Olaf knocked off #1 seed Carleton 1-0 earlier in the afternoon.
Gustavus maintained ball control in a match where blustery winds helped dictate play. The Gusties held a 4-1 edge in corner kicks during the first half, yet neither squad was able to generate quality scoring opportunities as the period ended in a 0-0 tie.
The tie did not last long when play resumed as Bret Vander Streek (So., Pella, Iowa) got Gustavus on the scoreboard at 47:09. Fraser Horton (So., Missoula, Mont.) received a pass along the left sideline from Ryan Beduhn (Sr., St. Cloud, Minn.), who was looking upfield. As Horton served the ball across the penalty box, Vander Streek crashed the net to put the header past St. Thomas goalkeeper Dan Hutton for his sixth goal of the season.
St. Thomas had a great scoring chance midway through second half when Reid Moser-Bleil sent a free kick into the penalty box after a Gustavus foul. After a scramble in front of the net, Gustie goalkeeper Trevor Brown (Sr., Madison, Wisc.) came up with the play of the game saving a direct shot by Sean Kennedy. The Tommies would later score on a Gustavus mistake as a pass sent across the penalty box was deflected by Matt Strom (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.). The ball and an anticipating Brown went opposite directions, as the ball landed at the foot of Tommie forward Thomas Gjervold for the easy tap-in goal with 4:23 remaining in the match. Gjervold’s goal was the first St. Thomas goal scored against Gustavus since 2002.
St. Thomas appeared to regain momentum until Strom got possession of a ball at midfield two minutes later. Strom crossed the ball from right to left as Mike Butterworth got past a St. Thomas defender on the left side. Hutton came out of the net to cut off the shot angle, but Butterworth found space to put the ball in the right side of the net for his 13th goal of the season at 87:40 to clinch the win.
Gustie goalkeeper Brown made two saves, while allowing his first goal against a MIAC opponent this season. Dan Hutton made six saves to keep St. Thomas in the contest as the Tommies fell to 11-5-3 overall. Gustavus improved to 15-3-1 overall and will face St. Olaf Saturday at 1:00 pm in St. Peter in the MIAC Post-Season Final. The winner will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.