Women’s Soccer Defeats St. Thomas 1-0 To Earn MIAC Playoff Title & National Tournament Bid

Posted on November 8th, 2015 by

The Gustavus Adolphus College women's soccer claimed the MIAC Playoff Championship with a 1-0 victory over St. Thomas at South Field. (Photo courtesy of Matt Higgins, MIAC Assistant Executive Director)

Gustavus 1, St. Thomas 0 (Box)

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus College women’s soccer team is going dancing. Thanks to a goal from Chaselyn Miller (Fy., Brooklyn Park, Minn.) directly off a corner kick midway through the second half, the Gusties earned a 1-0 victory over the University of St. Thomas in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Playoff Championship game on Saturday afternoon at South Field. The win clinches the first MIAC Playoff Championship for Gustavus in program history, and the Gusties also earn the MIAC’s automatic bid into the 2015 NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament.

“I’m almost speechless … this is fantastic,” said Coach Laura Burnett-Kurie following the game. “The girls came out as if they had no nerves and played our style of soccer from the start. We focused on finding our feet, being creative, and doing the little things, and those little things certainly paid off in the end.”

The Gusties threatened in their offensive zone from the start, as two corner kicks from Maddison Ackiss (Jr., Fairbanks, Alaska) in the first 10 minutes of the game led to dangerous shot-on-goal opportunities for the Black and Gold. However, Tommie goalkeeper Tarynn Theilig made saves on each to keep the score knotted at 0-0 early. Senior forward Brittany Chase (Victoria, Minn.) also had a great look on goal at the 35 minute mark, rocketing a shot from the top of the box, but Theilig made another nice save to preserve the tie. Overall, the Gusties tallied seven first half shots to the Tommies four.

“When you get to the MIAC Championship, you know that both teams and their players are going to be quality and St. Thomas was no exception,” said Burnett-Kurie. “We missed out on some opportunities early, but were able to keep pushing and keep shooting, knowing the dam would eventually break and that’s what happened.”

The dam broke indeed, as Miller blasted a corner kick just over the outstretched hands of Theilig and into the upper righthand corner of the net 12:23 into the second half to give the Gusties the 1-0 advantage. The goal was Miller’s fifth of the season and proved to be the game-winner, as Gustie goalie Ashley Becker (Fy., Farmington, Minn.) was able to keep out the Tommie’s three shot attempts following the goal to clinch the victory.

Becker earned the win between the posts for Gustavus, playing the entire 90 minutes and making three saves in her 11th shutout of the season. The rookie keeper is now 13-6-1 on the year.

The playoff championship marks a significant turnaround for a Gustie team that finished its 2014 season 2-13-3. “This team has a high level of camaraderie and decided they wanted to turn it up a notch this season,” concluded Burnett-Kurie. “Last year, we knew we could play and do these things, but it’s tough when you don’t get the results. This year, the team came in and said losing was too easy and that they wanted to win. That was the turning point … they just needed to get over the mental hump, which is a difficult thing to do, so I’m really proud of them.”

With a spot in the NCAA Tournament now in hand, Gustavus will await the release of the national tournament bracket, which will be announced during the Division III Women’s Soccer Selection Show on Monday, November 9 at noon (CST).

 

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