The St. Olaf men’s soccer team took on Gustavus Adolphus College on Oct. 4 in a homecoming game that had a little bit of everything, including missed chances and missed calls. The game ultimately finished 1-1 in front of a 438-strong Ole crowd.
The Oles got off to a dream start in the 9th minute, when Phumelela Sukati ’15 scored a magnificent goal from just outside the box. After a long free-kick into the penalty area, Sukati controlled a failed clearance with his first touch, then hit a delightful shot into the upper left corner of the goal to give St. Olaf the early lead.
With St. Olaf maintaining its 1-0 advantage into the 88th minute, it seemed as though Sukati’s early goal would be enough for victory. However, a contentious decision in the dying stages of the game gave the Gusties a final chance. On a play in which St. Olaf’s Kevin Skrip ’16 appeared to be brutally fouled, officials instead ruled a Gustavus corner. Following the corner, the Gusties were able to draw level when Eric Schneider ’15 slotted home from close range. The score remained locked at 1-1 as the game headed into overtime.
Both teams had major chances in the first period of overtime, the most obvious being a handball missed by the officials, which would have resulted in a penalty to St. Olaf. However, the referees called play-on, much to the dismay of the majority of fans in attendance. Gustavus went on to control the second period of overtime. Gustie player Ryan Tollefsrud ’15 had the best chance to win the game, but he was unable to put his header on target after being left unmarked five yards out from St. Olaf’s goal. It proved to be the last good chance of the match, and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
The post-game also proved to be entertaining, with Gustavus coach Mike Middleton describing Rolf Mellby Field as “the kind of pitch only good for planting potatoes” in a post-game report. He lavished praise on his Gustavus team.
“I can’t imagine many teams have played that type of football on that pitch in the last few years,” Middleton said.
St. Olaf will return to MIAC action on Oct. 11 in a clash with Macalester College. The Oles currently sit alone at the top of the conference, three points ahead of the Gusties.
Photo Credit: BECCA REMPEL/MANITOU MESSENGER