If the players on the Gustavus men’s soccer team had to pick out a pair of songs to add to their iPods for the flight back to Minnesota, “California Love” by Tupac Shakur and “California Dreamin” by The Mamas & the Papas would probably best fit the circumstance. The Gusties closed their California trip with an impressive 2-1 overtime victory over California Lutheran University (0-3) on Sunday in Santa Cruz. Freshman David Lilly had a breakout match, scoring the opening goal of the contest, then later burying the game-winner five minutes into overtime. Gustavus improves to 5-0 on the season, the program’s best start since the 2003.
“We were absolutely exhausted from the match the day before, and to be able to come away with a win like this is unbelievable,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton.
David Lilly opened the scoring with an unassisted goal off a corner kick just 4:28 into the match. The goal was Lilly’s first of his collegiate career.
Gustavus would hold on to the 1-0 lead for over 60 minutes before Cal Lutheran’s Danny Kuntz found a way to beat goalkeeper Brett Ylonen – a feat in which three teams had failed previously – on a screened shot that found its way into the back of the net at 66:23.
Neither team could find the game-winner in regulation and the match headed to overtime. 5:04 into the extra session, Lilly gave the Gusties their first overtime win of the season with an unassisted goal, extending the Gustavus winning-steak to five matches.
“They worked their socks off and refused to lie down. That is a huge credit to the character of this team,” commented Middleton on his team’s effort in the overtime session.
The Gusties outshot Cal Lutheran 23-to-12 in the match, challenging goalkeeper Rey Rivera-Ramos with seven shots on goal. Brett Ylonen made three saves on the way to his fourth win of the season. Ylonen is now 4-0 and has given up just one goal.
The team will board a plane and return to Minnesota in the early Monday morning hours. Gustvus will return to the pitch on Wednesday, Sept. 14 when the Gusties open their MIAC season with a match against St. Olaf at 4:00 p.m. in St. Peter, Minn.
“Even though we are getting on the red-eye, all of the lads will be in class tomorrow – they’re looking forward to it,” joked Middleton.