New Ulm, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s soccer team earned a 7-0 victory over Martin Luther College on Wednesday night at Knight Soccer Field. The Gusties benefited from six goals by six different players before an own goal by Martin Luther in the 71st minute brought the match score to its final tally. Gustavus picks up its second road victory of the season and is now 3-1-1 overall, while Martin Luther drops 1-3-0 overall with the loss.
“Excellent performance from the lads today – they certainly came out to play,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton after the match. “We had some excellent individual performances, not least Eli Bjerk, who looked like a little magician out there. But it’s tough to single anyone out as the team played really well as a whole.”
The Gusties kicked off the scoring with a goal inside the first five minutes of the match. Kannor Tranoris (So., West Des Moines, Iowa) scored his first goal of the season off a Nick Kieser (Jr., Plymouth, Minn.) assist at the 4:27 mark to put Gustavus up 1-0.
A little over six minutes later, Ryan Tollefsrud (Jr., Spearfish, S.D.) extended Gustavus’s lead to two goals when he put in an assist off the foot of Eric Schneider (Jr., St. Anthony, Minn.) at the 10:38 mark.
Just 1:99 after Tollefsrud’s goal, Eli Bjerk (So., Stillwater, Minn.) netted his first goal of the season unassisted to put Gustavus on top 3-0.
The Gustavus lead was extended when Schneider and Tranoris both recorded their third point of the evening on the same play. Tranoris connected with Scheider for a goal in the 19th minute to push the Gustie advantage to 4-0.
David Lilly (Jr., Maple Grove, Minn.) brought the first half scoring to a close when he hit the back of the net on his own at the 44:46 point to put the Black and Gold up 5-0 heading into the break.
Gustavus tallied 17 shots in the opening half, while Martin Luther had two
Coach Middleton was pleased with the creativity throughout the game. “Especially from Eric Schneider, who weaves patterns like a spider, and Eli Bjerk, our movement tonight was excellent,” he said. “Sean Sendelbach and David Lilly keep the ball moving like two traffic policeman on a busy intersection, and both full-backs, Nick Keiser and the excellent Sam Leske, made powerful runs out of the back to create a number of good chances.
Nate Kurtzweg (Jr., Champlin, Minn.) began the scoring in the second half with a goal all alone at the 63:47 mark. Kurtzweg’s goal – his first of the year – put Gustavus on top 6-0 before the own goal by the Knights was scored in the 71st minute.
The final shot count finished at 31-2 in favor of Gustavus. The Gusties had six corner kick opportunities, while Martin Luther made a total of six saves.
“In the second half, Ryan Ragan and Charlie Adams in the center of midfield were spraying passes around with great aplomb,” applauded Middleton. “Charlie is great to watch and creates so much time for himself, making the game look easy. Patrick Roth up front made a number of clever runs and certainly looked the part. Nate Kurtzweg showed his potential with pace to burn, and Jason Schwab and Antony Slack looked assured at the back. So, all in all, it was a very good performance from everyone.”
Gustavus goalkeeper Brett Ylonen (Jr., Lake Elmo, Minn.) earned his third victory of the year in 51:44 minutes of work. Alvaro Pinto (Jr., Edina, Minn.) closed the remaining 38:16 minutes of the match in goal for the Gusties. Ylonen or Pinto were neither challenged with a shot all night.
The Gustavus men’s soccer team will now have some time to recover from its early-season non-conference schedule before opening up MIAC play next week. The Gusties will be back on the pitch Wednesday, Sept. 18 with a match against Carleton College at 4:00 p.m. in Northfield, Minn. Wednesday’s contest will be a rematch of last season’s MIAC Playoff Championship between the two teams who shared the 2012 MIAC regular season title. Carleton will seek redemption on the same field where Gustavus earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament by way of 0-0 tie and a 7-6 shootout win.
“The lads have a free weekend and then it’s on to the MIAC games,” finished Middleton. “We are certainly of to a nice start!”