The Gustavus men’s soccer team opened the 2011 season on the right foot with a 2-0 win over Wartburg College on Thursday in St. Peter, Minn. It was an afternoon of firsts on the Gustavus Soccer Field. The Gusties picked up their first win of the season, junior Gabe Steinborn scored his first goal of his collegiate career, and goalkeeper Ben Kolis notched his first win in nearly two seasons.
The 90-degree heat did not slow down the Gusties early as they were on the scoreboard early in the match, scoring two goals in the first 20 minutes. At the 9:45 mark of the match, the Sioux Falls, S.D. connected for Gustavus’ opening goal of the season when Bryan Bjork and Jackson Zoellner connected with Steinborn on a cross from the corner. The goal proved to be the game-winner as the Gusties would shut out the Knights in the remaining 80 minutes.
“Gabe Steinborn scored two very nice goals today, and has looked terrific in the preseason,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton. “He’s a big lot, technically very good, athletic and has lots of energy to burn. He’s worked hard at his game this last year and thoroughly deserves any success he may have.”
Less than ten minutes later it was Steinborn striking the back of the net for the second time in the match, this time on an assists form Justin Eglseder and Zoellner at 16:48. Steinborn found the ball on his foot in a scramble off a corner kick in front of the net, putting the ball past goalkeeper Cade Shatzer from inside the box.
“Mind you, Justin Eglseder may try to claim one of the goals,” joked Middleton about Steinborn’s second goal. “He’s [Eglseder] an All-American candidate, provided the team does well this term. What a player he is-truly outstanding at this level.”
Gustavus senior goalkeeper Ben Kolis made his first start in nets since he recorded a complete game win in a 2-1 double overtime victory against Macalester on Oct. 14, 2009. Kolis recorded 79:30 minutes in the victory against the Knights, making two saves on the way to the shutout.
The Gusties held the advantage in time of possession throughout the match, thanks in large part to the strong play of their midfielders.
“Kyle Sadler had an excellent game in midfield, and dominated a lot of the possession,” commented Middleton. “We also had top debuts from three of our top freshmen, David Lilly, Zach Brown, and Brett Ylonen. A very pleasing result.”
Gustavus outshot the Knights 11-to-2, while holding the corner kick advantage 6-to-3.
The Gustavus men’s soccer team will be back on the pitch on Sunday, Sept. 4 in a match against Clarke College at 4:00 p.m. in St. Peter, Minn.