St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus women’s soccer team fell at the hands of No. 21 Saint Benedict by the final score of 2-0 on Saturday afternoon at the Gustie Soccer Field. The Gusties battled the Blazers all the way, but could not connect on any of their four shots on net to allow Saint Benedict the two-goal victory. Gustavus drops to 4-4-0 (0-3-0 MIAC), while Saint Ben’s improves to 7-0-1 (3-0-0 MIAC).
“We played really well today,” said Head Coach Laura Burnett-Kurie. “The biggest difference in the game was that their shots were on net and ours weren’t. I am really happy with how we played. I think today was our best game so far this season. We moved the ball well, we switched it up, everyone did their role, and we saw things that we had been working on all week in practice implemented into the game.”
Gustavus was strong out of the gate, both creating opportunities offensively and locking down Saint Ben’s defensively. The Gusties outshot the Blazers 3-0 in the opening 15 minutes and did not allow a Blazer shot until the 22nd minute.
“We came out and set the tone early defensively,” mentioned Burnett-Kurie. “In the first 10 minutes of the game, they didn’t have the ball in our half very much. We kept possession in their half really well to start the game, which gave us some confidence going forward.”
After dodging five corner kicks that led to dangerous scoring opportunities for Saint Benedict, the Gusties could not avoid the sixth dangerous corner as Grace Vaughan finished off the corner kick with a header goal at the 32:24 mark. Vaughan’s fifth goal of the season put the Blazers on top 1-0 heading into halftime.
Gustavus came out strong once again in the second half. The Gusties outshot Saint Ben’s 2-1 in the first 15 minutes of the final frame, but the Blazers made good on their second scoring opportunity of the half when Colleen Bouchard planted one in the back of the net to extend the Blazer lead to 2-0.
The Gusties got a shot on net late in the contest, but could do no damage as the final seconds disappeared into a Saint Benedict two-goal win. Caroline Olson (Jr., York, Pa.) suffered the loss and drops to 4-4-0 on the season, while Heather Kaluzniak completed her fourth shutout of the season and improves to 6-0-1.
“It was a battle all afternoon,” continued Burnett-Kurie. “They are a very strong team, but we played really well and hung right in there with them. I’m proud of how our girls played today.”
The Gusties will be back in action on Wednesday, Oct. 2nd when they host Saint Mary’s for a 4:00 p.m. match in St. Peter.
Saturday’s match also served as a fundraiser for YUWA, a nationally-based non-profit organization reaching out to girls in rural India, specifically Jharkland. Through team sports, YUWA provides a platform for young women to gain confidence and make a change in their world. Fans were invited to give donations throughout the game, enter a raffle for a signed women’s soccer practice jersey, and later participate in a silent auction held at Lone Star BBQ and Grill.
“Our YUWA fundraiser turned out great,” said Burnett-Kurie. “We raised a lot of money with our raffle during the game. We had a lot of support down at Lone Star, who did a great job for us. We were close to double the amount of people bidding on silent auction items. Credit to our players, they did a great job of going out and soliciting items from local businesses. The support was awesome.”