Brett Ylonen, Gustavus
Lake Elmo, Minn. / Stillwater
Gustavus couldn’t have asked for much more from the goalkeeper position than it received last week, as it used a pair of drama-filled wins to capture the 2012 MIAC Men’s Soccer Playoff championship. Sophomore keeper Brett Ylonen (Lake Elmo, Minn./Stillwater) didn’t allow in regulation in the semifinal or final rounds and made numerous big saves, including a stop on Carleton’s seventh penalty kick to give the Gusties a 7-6 shootout win in the title match. For his performance, Ylonen was named the MIAC Men’s Soccer Athlete-of-the-Week.
Ylonen’s postseason performance started with a season-high eight saves and a shutout as second-seeded Gustavus beat No. 3 St. Thomas 1-0 Tuesday in St. Peter, Minn. Ylonen preserved the shutout with several big second-half saves, including a deflection in the final minute to seal the win. He made two saves and didn’t allow a goal in 110:00 of action in Saturday’s championship game at No. 1 Carleton, and after the game was still scoreless after two overtimes and knotted at 6-6 in the shootout, he came up with the title-winning save that gave Gustavus the championship. Ylonen’s .892 save percentage led the MIAC, as did his seven shutouts and 13 wins. His 0.47 goals against average ranked second in the league, just 0.01 behind the conference leader.
The Gusties added the MIAC postseason title after sharing the conference’s regular season crown with Carleton as well. Gustavus is now 15-2-2 overall, and it was 8-1-1 in conference play this season with 25 points to finish in the tie for first. The MIAC Playoff championship gave the Gusties the MIAC’s automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Tournament. Gustavus will take on UW-Platteville in the first round Saturday in Northfield, Minn., as Carleton will host the four-team regional and will face Carrol in Saturday’s other match. The two winners will meet Sunday in the second round.