St. Peter, Minn. – With a blanket of fog covering the city of St. Peter, the Gustavus Adolphus women’s soccer team took the Gustie Soccer Field for one last time on Wednesday afternoon when they squared off with Bethel University. After the Gusties extended their lead to 2-0 late in the second half, the Royals made a comeback bid with a goal at the 87:24 mark. However, it would not be enough to overcome a passionate Gustavus team on its Senior Day as the Gusties held on for the 2-1 win.
With the win, Gustavus improves to 8-8-0 overall and 3-7-0 in the MIAC, while Bethel drops to 6-10-1 overall and 2-7-1 in the MIAC.
“It’s great to get a win in our final home game,” said Head Coach Laura Burnett-Kurie following the victory. “We haven’t played at home for the last four games, so it was nice that our girls came out and were focused on the game even though they wanted to make it special for the seniors on Senior Day. They still came out with the right mentality: that it was going to be a battle and we weren’t necessarily going to win just because it was Senior Day.
Indeed, nothing would be handed to the Gusties on Wednesday. Despite holding a shot advantage of 8-1 in the first half, Gustavus was only able to score just once and took a 1-0 lead to halftime.
Playing in her final game on the Gustie Soccer Field, senior Amanda Cartony (Stillwater, Minn.) put the Gusties on the scoreboard board in the 32nd minute. Cartony got behind the defense where she received a pass from Anna Basil (So., Maple Grove, Minn.) and beat Bethel goalkeeper Micale Jensen one-on-one for the first goal of the match.
“It was definitely fitting for Cartony to score on Senior Day,” explained Burnett-Kurie. “She has just been so consistent all year and it is great to have some players around her that can set her up and make plays. We have players that can contribute, which you saw today.”
The Gusties added another goal in the 84th minute when Maddison Ackiss (Fy., Fairbanks, Alaska) pushed forward to the left wing. Ackiss ripped a shot left-footed to the opposite post where ball rattled its way home to put Gustavus on top 2-0. The goal would prove to be the game-winning score as the Royals came back to score less than four minutes later on a free kick. But it was too little, too late for Bethel in the 2-1 loss.
Gustavus was outshot 6-3 in the second half to cut its advantage to 11-7 for the match. Gustie goalkeeper Roisen Granlund (Fy., St. Paul, Minn.) was awarded with the win after logging all 90 minutes in net and making five saves. Bethel keeper Micale Jensen registered six saves in the losing effort.
“It felt great,” described senior Liz Underwood (Fergus Falls, Minn.) of winning the final home match of her career. “We got to leave it all on the field for our last home game and we got a win, so we are all happy about that.”
“It is sad and happy at the same time because it’s our last game, but we won, so that makes it better,” added fellow senior Ana Gleason (North Easton, Mass.).
“We never completely settled down and found our touch,” finished Coach Burnett-Kurie. “A lot of that is due to it being Senior Day and our last home game, but the fact that we could still create dangerous opportunities and grind out a win makes us optimistic going into the last game of the season.”
Gustavus will head to St. Paul on Saturday for its season finale against Hamline. Kick off for that match is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.
As is tradition at Gustavus, the final home game of the regular season is designated as Senior Day and a special tribute is made to the individuals who have dedicated themselves to the Gustavus women’s soccer program over their college career. This year, the Athletic Department recognizes six seniors for their dedication and commitment to Gustie women’s soccer. Those seniors are Ana Gleason, Estee Berg (Stillwater, Minn.), Amanda Cartony, Leah Brossoit (Rochester, Minn.), Emily Papagapitos (Maplewood, Minn.), and Liz Underwood.
“The last four years have meant a lot,” stated Emily Papagapitos. “We have made a lot of friends and we are all roommates, so we are going to be friends for a long time.”
“It’s been great to have the support of the team throughout our four years,” commented Estee Berg. “We definitely had a lot of fun.”
Head Coach Laura Burnett-Kurie had this to say about her senior class, “We are trying to rebuild the program and a lot of it comes down to the leadership on this team. These seniors have really helped continue to build the culture that we are trying to establish. They have bought in to what we are doing and when they buy into it, everyone else jumps on board. They have really done a great job of moving the program forward.”