2017 Men’s Soccer Season Preview

Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s soccer team opens its 2017 campaign this weekend as they head up north to take on the University of Wisconsin-Superior tomorrow and the College of St. Scholastica on Sunday. This year’s Gustie squad returns a large portion of experience from last season and features a competitive non-conference schedule. 

Gustavus will take the pitch at UW-Superior at 2 p.m. on Friday for the season opener. The Gusties and Yellowjackets have met just once previously, a 1-0 win for the Gusties in 2013.

Friday at UW-Superior live: LIVE STATS

On Sunday, the Gusties head to Duluth to face St. Scholastica at 2 p.m. The matchup will mark the 20th all-time meeting between the two squads, with Gustavus holding a 13-4-2 record against the Saints. Last season, St. Scholastica defeated the Gusties 4-1 in St. Peter.

Sunday at St. Scholastica live: LIVE STATS | WATCH

“Once again, we have set up a very tough non-conference schedule, said Head Coach Mike Middleton, set to begin his eighth season leading Gustavus. “It is difficult to have expectations when you don’t know much about your own team, let alone the others. St. Scholastica went to the NCAA Tournament last year and the next best team in their conference is UW-Superior. They will both be tough and physical.”

Returning core

Losing just two seniors from 2016, the Gusties return 73 percent of their goal-scoring from last season. Leaders returning from last season include MIAC All-Conference members in Matt Murakami (Sr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Arthur Parens (Jr., Wayzata, Minn.), as well as three All-Conference honorable mention honorees in Matt Bateman (Jr., Savage, Minn.), Jack Conroy (Jr., Maple Grove, Minn.), and Matt Ouren (Jr., North Mankato, Minn.). Murakami led the 2016 attack with seven goals, while Parens and Luke Laurich (So., Batavia, Ill.) each added three. Bateman made 10 starts in goal, compiling 64 saves and four shutouts.

“We’re lucky that we have an older group this year, said Middleton. “We have some creativity at midfield, and we have two or three good forwards which is nice. I feel comfortable with the fact that we have a little fire power. We also have some relatively experienced players and some size at the back, as well as two goalkeepers who have good experience as well.”

Gusties picked to finish fourth in MIAC

Gustavus was voted to finish fourth in the 2017 MIAC standings, as voted on by MIAC coaches.

Defending regular season champion University of St. Thomas is the preseason pick of conference coaches to finish atop the standings in 2017. The Tommies edged out Macalester College, the 2016 MIAC Playoff Champions. Augsburg University finished third ahead of the Gusties.

Last season, Gustavus owned a 7-9-1 overall record and finished third in the MIAC with a record of 6-3-1. The Gusties played well near the end of the season, winning six of their seven final regular season games prior to falling 2-1 against Augsburg in a MIAC Playoff Quarterfinal matchup.

“We got some momentum going at the end of last season after playing a very tough non-conference schedule at the start,” Middleton commented. “Success can be measured by win-loss record or by comparing yourself to other people. The easy way to have success is to have an easy schedule, the hard way is to play the best teams, and we certainly played the best teams. We put ourselves on the line and win-loss record doesn’t really concern me that much. We finished third in the conference last year and I thought that was very good with the team we had, we were very young.”

50 seasons celebration

The 2017 Gustavus men’s soccer campaign marks a monumental milestone for the program as it celebrates 50 seasons at the College. The 50th season celebration takes place on Saturday, Oct. 14 as the Gusties host MIAC foe Saint John’s at 1 p.m. After the match, Head Coach Mike Middleton and the Gusties invite Gustavus men’s soccer alumni, family, and friends to celebrate the program’s history at the Linneaus Arboretum Interpretive Center, which will include a pot-luck style meal. Gustavus has a storied history in the MIAC with a conference-leading 14 championships and six playoff championships to go along with 11 National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament appearances. 



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