St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s soccer team is set to take on Carleton College in the MIAC Playoff Championship on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. in Northfield, Minn. The seeds played out in the opening round of the MIAC Playoffs on Tuesday afternoon with Carleton defeating Saint John’s 2-0 and Gustavus topping St. Thomas 1-0.
Because both Gustavus and Carleton finished the regular season with 25 points and identical MIAC records of 8-1-1, the two clubs shared a piece of the regular season title. The Knights avenged their only conference loss of the season with the victory over Saint John’s on Tuesday – something Gustavus will look to do as the Gusties only conference loss came at the hands of Carleton by the score of 3-0 on Sept. 29 in St. Peter.
In Gustavus’ semifinal on Tuesday, Gabe Steinborn headed in the game-winning goal in the 69th minute to propel the Gusties past St. Thomas. Goalkeeper Brett Ylonen made several key saves on the way to a shutout performance in a season-best eight save effort.
After a scoreless opening half, Carleton used a pair of second half goals to cruise to a two goal victory over the Johnnies in its semifinal game. Will Corcoran scored the eventual game-winner in the 62nd minute, and Alex Voorhes added an insurance goal in the 81st. Carleton outshot Saint John’s 22-6, as goalkeeper James Neher made three saves on his way to the shutout.
Gustavus and Carleton have advanced to the MIAC Playoffs a combined 14 times with the Gusties currently in their eighth showing and the Knights in their sixth. Despite the post-season success of both programs, last year’s semifinal meeting between Gustavus and Carleton was the first in the history of the MIAC post-season tournament, which began in 2003. After taking a 1-0 lead on a Tim Wills goal in the 15th minute of last year’s playoff contest, the Knights shut the door on the Gusties for the remainder of the match.
With an MIAC post-season record of 9-3 after Tuesday’s win over St. Thomas, Gustavus makes it’s fifth appearance in the MIAC Championship game. In their previous four trips, coming in 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007, the Three Crowns has taken the title. Carleton is looking for it’s first playoff championship since 2008 when it defeated Augsburg in a shootout. The Knights are making their second consecutive and fourth ever appearance in the title match this Saturday. Last season, Carleton fell to St. Olaf 3-2 in double overtime.
The winner of Saturday’s game won’t just receive the MIAC Playoff title and bragging rights, it will also earn the MIAC’s automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Tournament. The MIAC has a page dedicated to the 2012 MIAC Men’s Soccer Playoffs, including the complete schedule, results, recaps, box scores, photos and links to live broadcasts. Also, fans can follow the action on the MIAC Men’s Soccer Scoreboard site.