St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s soccer team’s 2013 season came to an end in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 loss to Westminster College on Sunday afternoon at the Gustie Soccer Field. Westminster’s Mitch Stewart scored what was the eventual game-winning goal in the 26th minute, and the Blue Jay defense kept the Gusties out of the net for the remainder of the match. Gustavus’s attackers hit Westminster’s back line with everything they had – especially in the second half – yet couldn’t find a way to put one past goalkeeper Raul Romero who posted his second consecutive shutout of the NCAA Tournament.
Gustavus ends its 2013 campaign with an overall record of 14-4-1, while Westminster heads to the “Sweet Sixteen” with an overall mark of 13-8-1.
Faced with playing against the wind in the opening half, Gustavus struggled to generate offense, and as a result, Westminster dictated play for much of the opening 45 minutes.
After nearly converting on a throw-in earlier in the match, Westminster took advantage of another one inside the 26th minute. Sam Lopez launched a low lining ball into left half of the box where it was fought for at the goal line by members of both squads. Gustavus was not able to clear and the ball eventually ended up on the feet of Mitch Stewart near the penalty arc. Stewart quickly turned and ripped a laser into the top corner of the net, giving Gustavus goalkeeper Brett Ylonen (Jr., Lake Elmo, MInn) little time to react as the ball sailed into the net.
The goal was Stewart’s third of the season and second game-winner.
Westminster used the wind to outshoot Gustavus 6-4 in the opening half. With the wind in the second half, Gustavus was re-energized and looked like a completely different team. The Gusties controlled possession, dictated play, generated eight shots, and had two corner kick opportunities. Despite the improved movement and offensive chances, Gustavus still couldn’t find a way to beat the Blue Jay defense or freshman goalkeeper Paul Romero. The rookie netminder was challenged six times in the half – three of which came in the final 10 minutes of regulation.
Brett Ylonen suffered the loss and finishes his junior year with a record of 14-3-1. He made a total of two saves in the match, both of which came in the opening half.
Westminster was just the third team this season to shut out Gustavus. The only other shutout loss for the Gusties came on Sept. 4 in a 1-0 defeat at the hands of St. Scholastica in Duluth.
In ten NCAA Tournament appearances, the Gustavus men’s soccer team is now 9-7-6 overall. The Gusties have registered double-figure wins the past four seasons and 14 or more wins the past three seasons under Head Coach Mike Middleton.