Bjerk’s Late Goal Gives Men’s Soccer 2-1 Win Over Bethel

Posted on October 17th, 2015 by

Arthur Parens (left) scored one of two Gustie goals on the day.

Gustavus 2, Bethel 1 (Box)

ST. PETER, Minn. – A late goal by senior forward Eli Bjerk (Stillwater, Minn.) helped the Gustavus Adolphus men’s soccer team earn a 2-1 victory over Bethel University on Saturday afternoon at the Gustie Soccer Field. The win was the first of the year for the Gusties in MIAC play and improves their record to 6-4-3 overall and 1-4-3 in the conference. The loss drops Bethel to 4-8-2 overall and 1-5-1 in the MIAC.

“We had another great game today and played very well overall,” said Coach Mike Middleton. “Both our upperclassmen and younger guys controlled possession today for a majority of the game and our group of first-years came in and were able to score which was great to see. Our problem this year has been being able to turn the amount of time we’ve had possession into goals. We made it harder on ourselves than we needed to today, but we had some great looks on goal and got the conversions we needed.”

Just over minute after Gustavus substituted seven players at once, the Gusties got on the board when first-year forward Arthur Parens (Wayzata, Minn.) scored in the 37th minute to give the home squad a 1-0 lead.

“Our larger rotations were a result of us trying to get our first-years in all together today,” said Middleton. “We wanted them to be able to play a shape they were more familiar with…they played a different shape than our upperclassmen and it was a shape that was better suited for their playing styles.”

The Gusties maintained their lead for the remainder of the first half and well into the second, but the Royals got the tying score they needed with just 10:30 to play off a goal from the Royals’ Brendan Reich who was able to chip the ball over Gustie goalkeeper Anders Severson (Fy., Lino Lakes, Minn.) who was charging forward in an attempt to make the save.

However, a foul on Bethel gave Gustavus a free kick from just outside the box with 6:47 to play. Bjerk took the kick for the Gusties and managed to curl it over a wall of six Royals and past Bethel goalie Jakob Bartels into the far righthand corner of the net to seal the game.

“We know that we can lose the ball at any point of the game and that it can end up in the back of our net, that’s just life,” said Middleton. “We knew we had to keep playing after they scored and that if a goal is good enough in the first minute, it’s good enough in the last. We kept pushing forward and ended up getting the goal we needed there at the end. I’m really happy with it…we created a lot of chances with a number of them being on goal and our guys played really nicely.”

Gustavus outshot Bethel 17-13, including a 13-7 advantage in the first half and also held a 5-4 upper hand in corner kicks. Matt Bateman (Fy., Savage, Minn.) earned his first collegiate win between the posts after playing 69:18 and making six saves to move his record to 1-1-2 on the season. Bartels suffered the loss for the Royals after playing the full 90 minutes, allowing two goals, and making seven saves.

Gustavus will have a quick turnaround as it returns to the Gustie Soccer Field on Monday for a non-conference tilt with Bethany Lutheran College. That game will begin at 3:30 p.m.


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