The Gustavus Men’s Soccer team finished up regular season conference play last week with a pair of wins.
Going into Saturday, they were tied with St. Thomas in points, and needed a win to secure the regular season conference Championship.
Thanks to late game heroics from standout First-year Raphael Cattelin, they were able to do just that.
On Tuesday, the first-place Gusties traveled north to St. Paul to take on the last-place Pipers from Hamline.
Despite the seemingly uneven matchup, the first half of play was back and forth and neither team was able to score a goal.
The Gusties outshot the Pipers 8-5 and put four shots on goal to Hamline’s one, but the score remained 0-0 going into halftime.
As the second half began, the Black and Gold were the first to strike. Just 13 minutes into the second half, Cattelin found Junior Matthew Gibbons 10 yards in front of the goal and Gibbons slotted the ball past the Hamline goalkeeper to put the Gusties up 1-0.
Just 10 minutes later, Senior Luke Laurich added another goal for the Gusties off of a deflection from a corner kick. First-year Max McLaughlin was credited with the assist.
The Pipers were able to cut the lead to one goal four minutes later, when they were fouled inside the box and converted the ensuing penalty kick.
In the 79th minute, Cattelin scored what would be the game winner off of McLaughlin’s second assist of the match.
Hamline was able to narrow the lead once more with another goal in the 82nd minute, but the Gusties held on for a 3-2 victory, securing an important three points for the conference standings.
First-year Goaltender Wesley Sanders had two saves in the road win.
“Hamline is always super hard working and organized with some dangerous attacking pieces and we knew they could cause us problems. We weren’t as composed or clinical as we would have liked but it’s hopefully a wake-up call,” Head Coach Tudor Flintham said.
Coming into Saturday, the Gusties were tied with St. Thomas atop the MIAC standings with 24 points apiece and hoped to take home at least a share of the MIAC Title.
Macalester came ready to play in the first half, and once again the Gusties played to a 0-0 draw at halftime.
Cattelin got the Gusties going early in the second half.
In the 50th minute, he received a pass from McLaughlin and beat the Scots’ goalkeeper to put the Gusties up 1-0.
Macalester bounced back to even the game in the 60th minute and the score remained 1-1 with time winding down in regulation.
With St. Thomas en route to a win, it looked as though a tie was inevitable, which would have resulted in a second place finish in the conference.
However, with under two minutes to go in the game, the Gusties received a throw in and found Junior Cole Schwartz on the right side of the field in an attacking position.
Schwartz sent in a cross and Cattelin netted his 14th goal of the season to give the Gusties the win and the MIAC Title.
Sanders started in goal for the Gusties and recorded six saves in the win.
“We didn’t make it easy on ourselves but the guys deserved the win. I think they played really well in the second half after making some adjustments at halt time. At the end of the day it was about the guys digging in and being gritty and finding a way to put the ball in the back of the net,” Flintham said.
With their win, the Gusties moved to 15-3 on the season and secured the top seed in the MIAC Playoffs.
Cattelin was named MIAC Men’s Soccer Player of the Week for his efforts.
“I’m just incredibly thankful, proud of our guys, the alumni, the administration, and everyone that’s worked to make this happen,” Flintham said.
Flintham has proved to be an integral part of the Gusties success, leading the team to back-to-back MIAC Regular Season Championships.
Gustavus is the most decorated program in the MIAC. This championship marks its 22nd title in program history.