The Gustie men’s soccer team trounced both of the opponents they faced this past weekend with a tandem of strong defensive play and an outburst of offense.
On Saturday, the season’s home opener, Gustavus shut out Crown College by a score of 7-0.
Each goal came from a different Gustie player, with First-year Raphael Cattelin notching the first one just over five minutes into the contest, with assists going to Juniors Matt Gibbons and Nolan Garvin.
Gustavus scored two more goals in the first half, with Senior Cody Billins and Sophomore Nicholas Leach both scoring their first goals of the season.
In the second half the rout began in earnest, with Gibbons picking up two more assists in quick succession near the 52-minute mark.
The first was a goal by Sophomore Cole Schwartz, and the second was a cross from a corner kick to Junior Scott Heinen, who was on the back post and headed the ball right past the goalie and into the net.
The scoring was rounded out late in the contest with goals from Junior Trace Dobson and Sophomore David Jansen.
The Gustie defense was smothering throughout the contest, as Crown attempted just one shot the whole game and had no corner kicks.
“We started the game really well and looked super dangerous from set plays all day. We also did a nice job of pinning them and removing outlets. It’s nice to feel like we put a few different layers together. Overall we feel like we are improving each day, but we also know we have some massive tests here coming up soon, tomorrow being the biggest against a strong Simpson side. It’s going to be a battle but one we are looking forward to,” Head Coach Tudor Flintham said.
The next day dawned cool and overcast, but Gustavus once again lit it up with their offense.
Simpson College was no match for the Gusties, who prevailed 6-1.
A quick start was the key to this game, as Gustavus put two goals into the net in the first eight minutes.
Shwartz broke the ice for his seventh goal of the year, with assists going to Leach and Cattelin.
Gibbons then had a nice give-and-go goal with Dobson, and capped off the first half scoring with a goal at the 16-minute mark, assisted by Schwartz and Leach.
In the second half, Gustavus went up 4-0 after Leach scored off assists from Senior Will Richards and Gibbons.
First-year Ethan Glissendorf scored his first collegiate goal at the 54-minute mark, which was followed by the lone Simpson goal at 61 minutes.
Senior defender Joe Brandel then provided the final blow with a sliding shot off of a rebounded shot from Leach.
First-year Wesley Sanders anchored the defense with five saves and got his fourth victory of the year.
“This weekend was a lot of fun with the two wins, but there were some bigger things going on for us. We finally came out fast against a Simpson team that is very skilled and dangerous. Our key to success over the first four games has been executing what coach put in the game plan,” Gibbons said.
Head Coach Tudor Flintham also applauded his team’s effort on Sunday.
“Simpson is a really strong team in a highly competitive conference. We knew that we could play with anyone in terms of our technical ability, but the question was could we match physical intensity in a game we knew would be high tempo for 90 minutes,” Flintham said.
After a berth into the NCAA tournament last year and the retention of a strong core of skillful players, a strong 2019 season appears imminent for the Gusties.
“I think we know as a team that there is a high ceiling, it’s all about staying healthy and focusing our attention on one game at a time,” Gibbons said.
The Gusties will look to continue their strong start to the season on Friday when they host Wartburg at 4:30.
The first conference game against rival St. Thomas then looms ahead on the 18th of September.