The Gustavus men’s soccer team continued its quest for one of the four MIAC Playoff spots with an important 2-0 win over St. Thomas in St. Peter on Tuesday afternoon. Junior midfielder Doug Frey tallied two second half goals to allow the Gusties to move into fifth place in the MIAC standings with a league mark of 3-1-3 (12 points). Gustavus, which is unbeaten in its last five MIAC contests (3-0-2), will wrap up regular season play with league games against Bethel (at home on Saturday), at Hamline (next Tuesday) and at Augsburg (next Friday).
The Gusties and Tommies battled to a 0-0 tie after 45 minutes of play. Possession on the field was fairly equal, however the Gusties had the better of the scoring chances including one outstanding opportunity in the 21st minute when Brian Simons drove a shot that slipped through the legs of St. Thomas goalkeeper Alex Benson and across the goal mouth to Gustie Sean Sendelbach who tried to redirect the rebound into an open net but it was deflected by a Tommie defender and saved by Benson. St. Thomas held a slight 8-7 shot advantage in the first half.
The Gusties started to control play early in the second half and came up empty on two quality scoring chances by Max Malmquist and Mark Adams in the 53rd minute. Four minutes later, however, Gustavus took the lead when Max Malmquist found Doug Frey open in the middle of the field about 18 yards out and Frey made a nifty move to the left to beat a defender and slip a left-footed chip shot over Benson into the net giving Gustavus a 1-0 advantage.
Gustavus continued to apply pressure on the Tommies and Frey extended the lead to 2-0 when he took a cross from Grant Steine and one timed a shot past Benson into the left side of the net in the 71st minute.
St. Thomas desperately applied pressure to the Gusties in the final five minutes of the match and had a couple of good scoring chances, but Gustavus goalkeeper Luke Strom came up with a couple outstanding saves to preserve the Gustie victory.
Gustavus finished the match with a 20-17 advantage in shots and a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks. Strom, who is now 5-1-2 on the season, registered five saves and picked up his fifth shutout of the season. Alex Benson collected eight saves in goal for the Tommies.