St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s soccer team used three goals in the first half and one in the second to cruise to a 4-0 victory over Viterbo University on Friday night at the Gustie Soccer Field. The V-Hawks could not keep a relentless Gustavus attack at bay, as the Black and Gold fired a total of 32 shots (nine on goal) at the opponent’s net throughout the match. Junior forward Ryan Tollefsrud (Jr., Spearfish, S.D.) led the Gustie offense with a pair of goals, while the defense allowed just two shots all game. Gustavus improves to 1-0-0 with the win, and Viterbo drops to 0-2-0.
“I thought the lads played pretty well tonight,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton following the game. “We created a hatful of chances against what was a well organized and physical team.”
Middleton said that he was pleased the his squad’s movement and that the team’s hard work throughout preseason was apparent over the course of tonight’s match. “Given the amount of work in the last two weeks, I thought the lads showed a lot of effort and determination. They were courageous enough to get the ball down and play despite heavy legs at times.”
The Gusties put the opening goal on the scoreboard in the 19th minute of the match. After a pair of narrow misses by Zach Brown (Jr., Eau Claire, Wis.) within the first nine minutes and a shot by Eric Schneider (Jr., St. Anthony, Minn.) that hit the cross bar in the 18th minute, Ryan Tollefsrud knocked in Gustavus’s first goal of the seaso – and his first as a Gustie – off an assist from Brown at the 18:12 mark.
Six minutes later at the 24:12 point, Zach Brown was able to put one away to put the Gusties up 2-0. Sean Sendelbach (Sr., Sioux Falls, S.D.) lobbed a ball over the shoulder of Brown and into the box where the junior striker tracked it down and buried it in the back of the net.
With less than three minutes remaining in the first half, Ryan Ragan (Jr., Shakopee, Minn.) extended the lead to 3-0 with his first goal in a Gustavus jersey. After the ball was played into the box by Jonathan Balthazar (Fr., Evanston, Ill.), it was mishandled in the air by the Vitbero goalkeeper and eventually happened on the foot of Ragan who turned a fired right-footer in for the goal.
“We scored some very nice goals,” commented Middleton. “Zach Brown’s was an absolute cracker – a volley from the edge of the box into the top corner was worth the admission price on its own. Ryan Ragan scored his first collegiate goal and could have well had another after another excellent late run into the box. And Ryan Tollefsrud scored two nice goals as just reward for his work-rate. He created mayhem for their defense all night.”
Tollefsrud’s second goal of the match came at the 49:33 mark on a pass from Sam Leske (So., Hampton, Minn.) that found him in space at the top right corner of the box.
The Gustie defenders bottled up the V-Hawk forwards and allowed for little offensive possession throughout the night. Goalkeeper Brett Ylonen (Jr., Lake Elmo, Minn.) earned his first victory of the season and was challenged just once in his 71 minutes of time in goal. Braden Schmid (Jr., West Fargo, N.D.) finished the game in net and made one save in 18:34 of work.
A total of 22 Gustavus players saw action this evening – a high point of the match for coach Middleton . “I was really pleased to see pretty much everyone get a game. The three freshman, Patrick Roth, Henry Brose and Jonathan Balthazar all played very well indeed. Eli Bjerk was clever enough to create several chances for himself and Ryan Schultz at left-back put some lovely balls into the box.”
The Gustavus men’s soccer team will be back in action on Wednesday, Sept. 4 when it travels to Duluth, Minn. to face the College of St. Scholastica at 4:00 p.m.
“We were on the front-foot from the outset and that’s great to see,” Middleton concluded. “The captains must be singled out for praise there – they really made sure everyone was up for the game. The lads did well and it is a very pleasing result.”