Men’s Soccer Claims MIAC Playoff Title, Defeats St. Thomas 3-1

Posted on November 9th, 2019 by

(photo courtesy of David Faulkner, SPX Sports)

BOX SCORE

MANKATO, Minn. – For the seventh time in program history, the Gustavus men’s soccer team is the MIAC playoff champion. The Gusties broke a 1-1 halftime tie with two second half goals to defeat St. Thomas 3-1 on Bethany Lutheran College’s new artificial turf pitch, securing an automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament. Gustavus, now a perfect 7-0 in MIAC playoff title games, improves to 17-3 overall while the Tommies fall to 13-4-3.

“Wow, that was a MIAC championship game with two super evenly matched teams,” Head Coach Tudor Flintham said. “Either team could have won it and it was a roller coaster of a game. St. Thomas is an incredible team and some would argue the best defensive team in the region by some distance, and I was say the same. I’m really proud of our guys, especially early on taking a couple gut punches. We go down a goal and then lose one of our best players in Raphael Cattelin (Fy., Edina). Our guys could of hung their heads but chose not to. They stayed the course, dug deep, stuck to the game plan, and I thought our staff did a really nice job in terms of preparation and execution today. Super proud of the all-around effort.”

St. Thomas started the scoring in the 14th minute as Jacob Makela snuck one past Gustie keeper Wesley Sanders (Fy., Urbandale, Iowa) for the early lead. But with less than four minutes remaining in the half, Scott Heinen (Jr., Aurora, Ill.) played a pass into the box, which Otis Anderson (Fy., Minneapolis) turned into the bottom left corner of the net for his first career goal and the teams went into halftime tied 1-1.

Gustavus was able to put together a number of dangerous scoring opportunities early in the second half but couldn’t connect for a goal. That changed in the 72nd minute as Cole Schwartz (So., Jakarta, Indonesia) broke away from the Tommie defense, fired a shot off the right post, gathered the rebound and then buried a sharp-angled shot from the right side into the back-left corner of the net. The goal was Schwartz’ team-leading 23rd of the season.

As tensions rose late in the game and the Tommies applying an ample amount of pressure, Matt Gibbons (Jr., Minneapolis) took advantage of a breakaway and scored his ninth goal of the season with 1:17 left in the game to seal the victory.

Sanders finished with three saves in goal and picked up his 17th win. The Gusties outshot the Tommies 16-11.

“We had a teammate lose a family member last night and he couldn’t be with us today, so to Nick Katzman (Fy., Minneapolis), in large part, this is for you, buddy,” Flintham said.

Gustavus is one of 42 automatic qualifiers for the 64-team national tournament and will find out its first-round regional opponent and location during the selection show at 12:30 p.m. Monday.

 

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