Mens’ Soccer’s NCAA Tournament Run Ends With 2-0 Loss To Loras

Posted on November 16th, 2014 by

The clock struck midnight for the Gustavus men's soccer team as it fell in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Loras College on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Jim Naprstek, Loras Director of Athletic Communications

Dubuque, Iowa – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s soccer team saw its postseason run come to an end in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 2-0 loss to No. 9 Loras College on Sunday night at the Rock Bowl.  The Duhawks hit the back of the net with less than two minutes remaining in the opening half and then carried the momentum into the second half where they struck again in the 57th minute.

The Gusties see their six-match winning-streak come to an end with the loss and conclude their season with an overall record of 16-5-1.  This season’s 16 wins are the most posted by a Gustavus team since the 2007 team went 16-4-1. Loras improves to 17-2-2 and will now move on to face Trinity University (Texas) in the round of 16 next weekend.

“A tough way to end the season,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton.  “Loras is a team that is very difficult to play against with their direct style and constant personnel changes.  They hit balls that are played forward very quickly with little thought of possession. They constantly pressured us, tried to force errors, and at times flew in with some high aggressive tackles.  It’s their style and they did it very well.”

It was as the first half wound to a close that Loras drew first blood.  At the 43:19 mark, Mike Pizzello headed home a JD Perez assist for his 14th goal of the season and what proved to be the game-winner.

“I was not particularly worried about the first goal,” Middleton commented.  “It came from another free kick pumped into the box and was a nice ball played in – a good goal. At that time though we were on top, dominating the possession and causing them problems. So, it was slightly against the run of play.”

Known as a second half team throughout the season, the Duhawks came out on fire and with a new-found energy in the second half.  Within the opening ten minutes alone, Loras blistered the Gustavus defense with seven shots – four of which were on target and justified a save from Gustavus goalkeeper Brett Ylonen (Sr., Lake Elmo, Minn.).  Loras’s eighth shot of the half at the 56:31 mark resulted in the backbreaker for Gustavus.  Richard Lenke netted a Dillon Olson assist for his first goal of the season, bringing the score to a final at 2-0.

The killer was the second goal,” Middleton stated.  “It’s tough to come back from that and it came from us trying to keep possession in the wrong area of the field.  They had clearly decided to push up tight on us at halftime.  We needed to recognize that and counter them by playing in the right areas.  It simply caught us and was a bit of a sucker punch. From then on we dominated, but the game was effectively over – 2-0 is difficult to come back from.”

Loras goalkeeper Adam Roloff turned away all four shots he faced, while Ylonen suffered his first loss since Sept. 27 after a season-best nine-save effort.  Ylonen finishes his senior campaign with an overall record 7-2-0.

“I thought we played very well at times, moving the ball around nicely on a surface that quickly froze over at that time of night,” Middleton said about his team’s performance.  “Even though the conditions made it tough, the lads continued to play and dominated large swathes of the game.  You could tell that we had caused them problems, but with the physicality and the constant barrage of long balls it’s tough not to make any mistakes.”

Box Score


One Comment

  1. Pat Higgins says:


    The Gustys battled hard throught the game, I think your team is better than they showed. The game could of changed quickly if you would of have had one goal scored!