NORTHFIELD, Minn.—In a physically aggressive and up-tempo NCAA Championships first-round match, UW-Platteville and No. 22 Gustavus Adolphus College ultimately played to a scoreless draw, with the Pioneers advancing after a drama-filled penalty shootout, 3-2.
The Gusties (15-2-3) and Pioneers (14-3-2) combined for 29 shots, 44 fouls and five bookings, four of which were on the Pioneers’ ledger of the yellow variety. UW-Platteville had 15 shots, three on goal, while the Gusties had 14 shots, placing eight on frame.
Both teams created ample, dangerous chances. UW-Platteville’s Mark Ciszewski hit the post less than two minutes into the second half. Teammate Mbodje Sarr nearly ended the game in the 118th minute, hitting a rocket off the near post.
The Gusties’ best chance came in the 54th minute. Eric Schneider loosed a long-range ball, which UWP keeper Christensen deflected off the cross bar. Christensen hit the turf, and the Gusties’ Konnor Tranoris rushed in, trying to finish off the rebound, but Christensen popped off the ground and turned the chance away to keep the sheet clean. Zach Brown popped free in the 68th minute, running around a defender and getting free inside the 18, but his shot was right at Christensen. Brown also got behind the Platteville defense in the second overtime in what appeared would be a one-on-one situations with Christensen, but Brown was unable to control the ball at the top of the 18.
The shootout was filled with a little bit of everything. UWP opened with a conversion by Brandon Chmiel. The Gusties’ first attempt hit off the left post, but Platteville’s next chance hit the crossbar. The Gusties’ Jason Schwab buried his shot into the upper right, and UWP countered with a Kyle Hoerter make. Pioneer keeper Ian Christensen came up huge on the next attempt, making a diving save to his left, and Hunter McMahon snuck the Pioneers’ fourth attempt inside the left post. Bryan Bjork kept the Gusties’ hopes alive, as his shot deflected off Christensen’s hand and into the net, making it 3-2 in favor of the Pioneers heading into the fifth and final round.
Both keepers stepped up under the most intense of pressure. Gustie back-up keeper Thomas Schleusener, who came on for starter Brett Ylonen for the shootout, kept his side alive by making a diving save to his left, but the Pioneers were pushed through to the second round when Christensen made his second save of the shootout, a diving stop to his right, denying Tranoris for the second time on the day.
The Pioneers advance to tomorrow’s second-round match to face Carroll University (Wis.), which upset No. 12 and tournament host Carleton College in the day’s first match, 1-0. The game is a rematch between UW-Platteville and Carroll, who met back on Sept. 23, a 2-1 victory for Platteville in overtime.