Collegeville, Minn. – In a hostile environment on Homecoming Saturday in Collegeville, the Gustavus Adolphus men’s soccer team scored four second half goals on its way to a 4-0 victory over Saint John’s University at Haws Field. After a scoreless first half, the Gusties wasted no time in the second. A goal by Sean Sendelbach (Sr., Sioux Falls, S.D.) within the first two minutes of the half ignited the four-goal scoring spree that propelled the Gusties to their third MIAC victory of the season.
With the win, Gustavus moves to 6-2-1 overall and 3-0-0 in the MIAC. Saint John’s drops to 3-5-1 overall and 1-2-0 in the MIAC with the loss.
“Excellent game from the lads today,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton. “We came out to play and they couldn’t get near us. We knew they’d be physical, but we stood up to the challenge. When we were able to get the ball down and play we were very good. I was pretty pleased with the performance overall and to get three points away from home is a great feeling.”
Midfielder Sean Sendelbach, who had scored just two career goals prior to this season, has proven to be an added threat in Coach Middleton’s offensive strategy. Sendelbach struck the eventual game-winning goal unassisted at the 46:13 mark to kick off the scoring before adding his third goal of the season off a Patrick Roth assist at the 72:45 mark to bring the game to final at 4-0.
Just over two minutes after Sendelbach broke the ice, Ryan Tollefsrud (Jr., Spearfish, S.D.) added a goal at the 48:27 mark off a corner kick taken by Jason Schwab (So., Stillwater, Minn.). The goal was Tollefsrud’s first since Sept. 11 against Martin Luther, and the assist was Schwab’s first point of the season.
Zach Brown (Jr., Eau Claire, Wis.) got in on the action in the 55th minute when he buried a corner kick from the leg of David Lilly (Jr., Maple Grove, Minn.). Brown has now scored a goal in all three of his career matches against Saint John’s.
“Sean Sendelbach was a goal-scoring machine with two real poachers,” commented Middleton on his senior captain. “Ryan Tollesfrud scored off a lovely cross, and Zach Brown, who was simply too good for their defense today, scored a bullet header.”
Middleton was also quick to acknowledge the play of his junior midfielder, David Lilly. “Head and shoulders the best player on the pitch was David Lilly. He controlled the game like a conductor controls an orchestra. He was simply majestic,” Middleton said.
While the offense was doing its job putting the ball in the goal, the defense was not to be outdone. The back line and goalkeeper Brett Ylonen (Jr., Lake Elmo, Minn.) posted its fifth shutout of the season after allowing 14 shots and four corners. Ylonen made a season-best 10 saves on the way to his third complete-match shutout, improving his record to 6-2-1 overall.
“It was great to have Zach Schmith back, and Elliott Emerson was class apart at the back. He had their striker in his pocket all game,” Middleton said.
Gustavus finished with a total of 19 shots, 10 of which were on goal, and seven corners. Saint John’s goalkeeper Kevin Lebahn allowed all four goals and made six saves in the loss.
“All in all, an excellent day rounded of by the reserves winning 5-1,” concluded Middleton. “The lads did very well and will enjoy their rest until Monday!”
The Gustavus men’s soccer team will be back on the pitch Wednesday when it travels to Winona, Minn. for a match against Saint Mary’s University under the lights at 7:00 p.m.