Men’s Soccer Gets Back On Track With 5-0 Win Over Saint Mary’s

Posted on October 1st, 2014 by

Senior striker Zach Brown scored twice as the Gustavus men's soccer team earned a 5-0 win over Saint Mary's on Wednesday afternoon. Photo courtesy of C.J. Siewert - Sport PiX.

St. Peter, Minn. – With a 1-0 lead at the beginning of the second half, the attackers of the Gustavus Adolphus men’s soccer team went to work. The Gusties scored four second half goals and blistered the opposition’s net with a total of 29 shots en route to a 5-0 win over Saint Mary’s University on Wednesday at the Gustie Soccer Field. Zach Brown (Sr., Eau Claire, Wis.) turned in a five point afternoon with two goals and an assist.  The Gusties improve to 9-3-1 overall and 3-1-0 in the MIAC, while Saint Mary’s drops its second straight and is now 3-5-1 overall and 0-4-0 in the MIAC.

“The lads played well tonight, dominating possession and scoring some really nice goals,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton. “It was an enjoyable game with Saint Mary’s trying to play some good stuff rather than just lamping it behind the defense and hoping for us to make a mistake. You can see that once the coach gets his player personnel to the level he wants, it will be a very successful program. However, it looked today as though our lads were just older and more experienced.”

After Saint Mary’s generated two corner kick opportunities and missed a shot wide all within the opening two minutes of the match, Gustavus dug its boots in and began to control possession. In the eighth minute, Zach Brown found the ball on his foot all alone with only the goalkeeper to beat from point-blank range. Brown buried the eventual game-winning shot to put the Black and Gold on top 1-0. Eric Schneider (Sr., St. Anthony, Minn.) and Charlie Adams (Jr., Stillwater, Minn.) provided the assists on Brown’s goal.

Despite dictating tempo, controlling possession, and having several good looks cleared off the goal line, Gustavus was unable to find a way to score for the remainder of the half. The Gusties recorded 12 shots (four on goal) compared to Saint Mary’s thee (zero on goal) in the opening half.

Following nearly 40 minutes of scoreless soccer, Ryan Tollefsrud (Sr., Spearfish, S.D.) was able to break the ice with a goal in the 47th minute. Tollefsrud put away a David Lilly (Sr., Maple Grove, Minn.) assist at 46:47 to put Gustavus on top 2-0 and give him his seventh goal of the year.

Henry Brose challenges Saint Mary's defender Mike Taber in the air on Wednesday afternoon. Photo courtesy of C.J. Siewert - Sport PiX.

Henry Brose challenges Saint Mary’s defender Mike Taber in the air on Wednesday afternoon. Photo courtesy of C.J. Siewert – Sport PiX.

At the 65:51 mark, Zach Brown netted his second goal of the game and team-best ninth of the season thanks to dimes from Jason Schwab (Jr., Stillwater, Minn.) and Lilly.

“We dominated for swathes of the game – creating a number of good opportunities,” Middleton said. “A couple of the goals were as good as you’ll see anywhere. Zach’s second goal came from a long driven pass from Charlie Adams, into the path of a superb run from right full-back Jason Schwab. Jason shaped a first time driven ball across the box that was a peach, which was then controlled first time onto the path of Zach Brown by Ryan Tollefsrud with a Bergkamp-esque touch. Zach buried it into the corner of the net. It really was a lovely goal – best goal of the season.”

The Gusties brought the score to a final with a pair of goals in the final ten minutes. Aden Letcher (Jr., Brandon, S.D.) knocked in an assist from Zach Brown at 81:00 for his first career collegiate goal, and Konnor Tranoris (Jr., Des Moines, Iowa) added the finishing touch with an unassisted, 25-yard boomer :21 seconds later at 81:21.

“It was great to see Aden Letcher notch his first career goal, and Konnor Tranoris smashed one from 25 yards that hit the inside of the post and ran across the back of the net,” commented Middleton about his club’s late goals.  “No goalkeeper would have saved that. It was a great finish and Konnor rightly looked very pleased with himself. His work-rate today deserved that success.”

Gustavus’s back line handled all of Saint Mary’s offensive pressure and didn’t allow a single shot to make it on goal. As a result, Braden Schmid (Sr., West Fargo, N.D.) earned the complete-match shutout – his second of the season.

Coach Middleton commended Saint Mary’s effort and said that the foundation is set for an up-and-coming program. “Nothing was easy,” he added. “After halftime, the second goal really sealed it.  To the infinite credit of the referee; after an obvious foul on the edge of the box he allowed advantage to be played and the goal came directly from that play. The second goal really killed them off and having had so much possession you could see heads drop.  From then on it was tired legs and tired minds from their group.”

The Gustavus men’s soccer team will now gear up for a showdown with MIAC-leader St. Olaf College on Saturday in Northfield. At 7-2-0 overall and 4-0-0 in the MIAC, the Oles lead the league with 12 points. The two clubs will square off in a battle to determine conference supremacy at 1:00 p.m.

Middleton was pleased with his team’s performance and thought it was an excellent all-around effort. “It speaks volumes for the lad’s mental strength to come back from a disappointing result on Saturday.  You do not have a seventeen-game win-streak in the conference without mental toughness, drive and desire.  Added to the fact that the field played nice and quick due the rain, it allowed our passing and possession game to get into gear.  At times it looked like a juggernaut out there. Hats off to the lads – you cannot keep them down.”

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