The Gustavus men’s soccer team dropped to 1-1-1 on the season with a 2-0 loss to Pacific Lutheran University in St. Peter on Monday afternoon. The Lutes scored one goal in each half on their way to improving to 2-1-0 overall. The Gusties had several outstanding scoring opportunities in the match including two shots at a wide open net, but the team was unable to finish any of its chances and the opportunistic Lutes claimed the victory.
Pacific Lutheran got off to a quick start in the match and put pressure on the Gustie defense in the first seven minutes of play. The Lutes’ Andy Hyres put a strong shot on goal at the 3:22 mark that was saved by Luke Strom and then PLU had another opportunity turned away by Strom off a corner kick by Hyres at the 4:29 mark.
After weathering the early pressure, it was Gustavus’ turn to challenge the Lutes and in the 15th minute Gustie forward Bret Vander Streek broke free up the middle one touched a pass a ripped a shot that hit the right side of the crossbar and bounced away. A few minutes later, Gustavus defender Max Malmquist took a ball directly in to the left post, drew the goalkeeper and slid the ball to the middle of six-yard line, but Justin Eglesder was unable to handle the control the pass and the PLU defense was able to clear the ball. In the 30th minute, the Gusties had possibly their best opportunity of the day, when Vander Streek took a long pass up the middle evaded Lute goalkeeper Brian Kostol and chased the ball to the goal line but hit the left post as he tried to slip the ball into the net on a dead run. The ball rolled across the front of the goal line and hit the right post before being cleared by PLU.
Just after Vander Streek’s near miss, Pacific Lutheran quickly counterattacked from a takeaway in midfield and pushed the ball up to forward Chad Kerns who drove a shot off the hands of Gustie goalkeeper Luke Strom and into the right corner of the net at the 36:56 mark. The assist was given to Andy Hyres. The Lutes held a 1-0 lead at the intermission.
In the second half, the two teams continued to battle back and forth until Pacific Lutheran put the game on ice on an unassisted goal by Spencer Augustin at the 69:59 mark.
In the final minutes of the game, with Gustavus pressing to score, it appeared the Gusties had broken free and scored to cut the lead to 2-1, however the play was whistled offsides and Pacific Lutheran held on for the 2-0 victory.
Gustavus held an 8-7 advantage in shots and an 11-5 advantage in corner kicks. Winning goalkeeper Brian Kostol of Pacific Lutheran recorded five saves, while the Gusties Luke Strom registered four saves.