St. Paul – With a win against the University of St. Thomas on Saturday afternoon at the South Athletic Field, the Gustavus Adolphus men’s soccer team would secure its place in the driver’s seat at the top of the MIAC standings. In a battle that saw its share of ebbs and flows through nearly all of regulation, it was Gustavus’s Konnor Tranoris (So., Des Moines, Iowa) who secured that first place standing with a goal in the 85th minute.
“We started to get on top in the second half,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton. “The fresh legs of Eli Bjerk brought the ball down on the left hand side of the box, then whipped a lovely pass across the face of the goal. Konnor Tranoris made a darting run across the face of the defender and punched a side foot volley into the back of the net. It was a superb finish and a goal to remember by Konnor who really showed his class on the play.”
With the win, Gustavus picked up three points and improved to 9-2-1 overall and 6-0-0 in the MIAC. The Gusties now have 15 points and are five points ahead of second place St. Olaf. S. Thomas, who is now 8-2-3 overall and 3-1-2 in the MIAC, drops to third place in the standings with 11 points.
“It was a hard-fought match and a well-deserved win for the lads,” Middleton said. “This was a tense affair with tough battles going on all over the pitch. To turn them over at home and come away with three points is terrific – I’m proud of all of them.”
In solid defensive effort, the Black and Gold allowed just three shots for the entirety of the afternoon. Gustavus goalkeeper Brett Ylonen (Jr., Lake Elmo, Minn.) was called upon to make two saves in the match, both of which came in the first half. Ylonen picked up his fourth complete-game shutout of the season and improved to 9-2-1 with the win.
“The one good chance they had during the match was off a ricocheted defensive clearance. Apart from that, the lads kept it very tight,” said Middleton about his club’s showing on defense. “Zach Schmith was dominant, and Elliot Emerson was coolness personified alongside him.”
Gustavus managed a total of eight shots in the match, three of which were on goal. The Gusties earned four corner kick opportunities while only allowing St. Thomas two.
Of Konnor Tranoris’s two goals this season, both have turned out to be game-winners. Four of Gustavus’s six conference wins so far have come by way of one-goal outcomes.
“Three of our last four games are at home, which we will look to take advantage of,” Middleton stated. “While the lads have put themselves in a great position in the conference standings, they are too experienced to count their chickens. We have Macaleter next Saturday and they are proving to be a stubborn nut to crack. It’s back to the hard work this week after the euphoria of today.”
The Gustavus men’s soccer team will host the Scots on Oct. 19 at 1:00 p.m. on the Gustie Soccer Field. Macalester will be in action on Wednesday against Carleton before taking on the Gusties on Saturday.