Three-Goal First Half Propels Men’s Soccer To 3-1 Win Over Carleton

Posted on September 17th, 2014 by

Junior defender Patrick Leach scored his first collegiate goal and added an assist in Gustavus's 3-1 victory over Carleton on Wednesday afternoon.

St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s soccer team came out firing in its MIAC-opener, scoring three first half goals en route to a 3-1 victory over Carleton College on Wednesday afternoon at the Gustie Soccer Field. The Gusties’ red-hot start included first half goals by Patrick Leach (Jr., Sioux Falls, S.D.) in the 11th, Ryan Tollefsrud (Sr., Spearfish, S.D.) in the 32nd, and Zach Brown (Sr., Eau Claire, Wis.) in the 37th minutes. Gustavus earns its fourth straight victory to improve to 7-2-0 overall and 1-0-0 in the MIAC. Carleton drops its second straight and is now 2-4-0 overall and 0-1-0 in the MIAC.

“Great result today and what a performance in the first half. Three excellent goals in a rampant display that blew the game wide open,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton after the match. “This result sets us up for the next few games.  We’ve come through a difficult fixture list on paper, playing extremely well at times and dominating large portions of games.  Such a tough schedule in such close time proximity was a gamble – a gamble the lads wanted to take.  I blame them and they blame me, of course!  But, we’ve done so well that it has been great.”

It took the Gusties just 10:16 to knock in the go-ahead goal. With a free kick from in front of the Carleton bench, David Lilly (Sr., Maple Grove, Minn.) sent a high, looping ball to the far side post where defender Patrick Leach was stationed. In the midst of traffic, Leach elevated over the Carleton defenders and was able to snap a header into the back of the net. The goal was Leach’s first of his career, while the assist was Lilly’s team-best fourth of the season.

“The first goal from Patrick Leach was a glorious header at the back post,” Middleton said about Leach’s goal. “I’ve never seen a player in my thirty plus years as a coach rise that high above the rest of the defense to put a header into the net – it was unbelievable.  What a goal, and absolute stunner.”

Ryan Tollefsrud battles Carleton's Trent Elmore.  Tollefsrud extended his point-streak to five matches with a goal today.

Ryan Tollefsrud battles Carleton’s Trent Elmore. Tollefsrud extended his point-streak to five matches with a goal today.

The two squads went back-and-forth before Gustavus was able to catch Carleton on a break in the 31st minute. Charlie Adams (Jr., Stillwater, Minn.) countered with a run up the left side of the pitch before sending a cross-field pass to Ryan Tollefsrud who was charging up the right side of the goalkeeper box. Tollefsrud settled the pass to the grass and ripped a shot past the all-alone goalkeeper.

“Ryan Tollefsrud’s goal was just sublime.  What a wonderful ball across from Charlie Adams, and then a volley of such skill that you’d have paid the entrance fee for the game just to see it,” commented Middleton about the play.

Five minutes after Gustavus’s second goal, Zach Brown brought the club’s scoring to an end with a breakaway goal of his own at 36:11. Patrick Leach connected with Brown on a downfield ball, and Brown did the rest.

“And then, a rampant Zach Brown latching onto a through ball waltzed past their ‘keeper, finding time to tease the defender then tuck the ball into the back of the net,” described Middleton. “Before that, we had two great chances – one of them being Eric Schneider one-on-one with the ‘keeper, and, despite great skill bringing the ball down, managed to just hit it an inch over the bar. It could have been a cricket score. I thought that the two forwards, Zach Brown and Ryan Tollefsrud, at times were unplayable.  Their movement was top class and their finishing was great.”

Of Carleton’s nine shots in the second half, four made it to goalkeeper Braden Schmid (Sr., West Fargo, N.D.). Schmid made a total of six saves on the way to his first complete-match win of the season. He is now 6-2-0 with a 0.75 goals against average and an .800 save percentage.

“However, I’m not sure the two best players on the field in the first half weren’t David Lilly and Charlie Adams in the center of midfield,” added Middleton.  “They put on an absolute clinic, completely running the show.  It was like having two orchestra conductors working in tandem — like watching Xavi and Iniesta in their prime.  Sublime performances that oozed class.”

Carleton’s lone goal came by way of Stephen Johnson at the 88:59 mark.  The Knights finished with a 16-to-14 edge in shots and a 4-to-3 corner kick advantage. Starting goalkeeper Keenan Smith suffered the loss after making two saves in 45 minutes.

“We handled everything they threw at us before making a silly mistake with less then a minute to go,” Middleton concluded.  “We’ll learn from that and it’s a good teaching moment. Nobody’s perfect, but we got close in the first-half.  What a performance!”

The Gustavus men’s soccer team will be back in action on Saturday, Sept. 20 when it travels to Moorhead, Minnesota for an MIAC matchup against the Cobbers set for 3:00 p.m.

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