147-89-14 (.616) record since 2001
PELLA—The goals that were so elusive for the Central College men’s soccer team all season rained down in a sudden burst Wednesday as the Dutch erupted for a 5-0 win over Saint John’s (Minn.).
Central (5-4) scored just three goals in its last six games but the Dutch put away four in the first 34 minutes Wednesday. Midfielder Nick DeLucia (junior, Urbana, Ill.) scored his second goal of the season just 2:09 into the game with an assist from midfielder Jonathan Schroeder (sophomore, St. Charles, Ill., North HS) and forward Brett McKenzie (junior, Lindenhurst, Ill., Antioch HS) followed with his third in the ninth minute, assisted by Schroeder and defender Erick Lundgren (senior, Long Grove, Ill., Adlai Stevenson HS).
Schroeder added his second goal with a McKenzie assist at 31:55 and two minutes later midfielder Brandon Bautista (freshman, St. Charles, Ill., North HS) recorded his first collegiate goal, getting a pass from forward Eric Shelton (sophomore, Appleton, Wis., Kimberly HS).
The Dutch finished the scoring shortly after intermission as midfielder Cody Jandik (junior, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Valley Christian HS) scored his second goal with an assist from Lundgren.
Scoring early was the key, coach Garry Laidlaw said.
“We were able to get in our rhythm, and maybe play a little more relaxed,” he said. “We’ve been pressing a bit because we haven’t been scoring goals.”
Saint John’s (Minn.) (4-4) was missing a few players who stayed behind to focus on academic work but is nonetheless a contender in the rugged Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“The scoreline flattered us a little bit,” Laidlaw said. “I don’t know that we got their best today. But our concern is our team and we finally played up to the potential we saw in our team all year.”
Jonathan Glassman (sophomore, Lakeville, Minn., North HS) combined with Quincy Garner (junior, Pella) to pitch the shutout, although only Garner had to make a save as the Dutch defense controlled the field. Central outshot the Johnnies 18-11.
“Jonathan played well, as he has all season long,” Laidlaw said. “He’s a solid goalkeeper.”
The Dutch defense had to be rebuilt following last season, then suffered an extra blow when freshman defender Killian LeDuke (sophomore, Sherman Oaks, Calif., St. Genevieve HS) was lost to injury early in the campaign. Yet any lack of experience hasn’t been evident.
“All of our backs have done really well,” Laidlaw said. “I’m very pleased with how they’ve played, particularly with how Garrett Fooshee (sophomore, Derby, Kan.) and K.J. McQuerrey (sophomore, West Des Moines, Valley HS) have played together and with how well Erik Lundgren is playing.”
Laidlaw said DeLucia’s efforts were key to Central’s quick start.
“Nick had the best half of soccer he’s played all season,” he said. “And Eric Shelton is growing in confidence very game. He hasn’t scored yet but it’s all the little things he’s doing that help us be successful.
“I also thought Brandon Bautista provided a good spark.”
The Dutch will need a similar effort when Iowa Conference play opens Saturday against No. 5-ranked Loras College in a women’s/men’s doubleheader at Dubuque. The women’s game starts at 1 p.m. with the men’s game at 3:30 p.m. Loras, the defending league champ, has reached the NCAA Division III national semifinals the past two seasons and returns nearly its entire squad. The Duhawks are 7-1-1 overall and 1-0 in the league.
“They’re solid from back to front,” Laidlaw said. “They pass and move the ball really well. They’re a consistent finishing team and they’re tough to break down defensively.”
Loras leads the all-time series with Central 15-5-2 but was surprised by the Dutch last year at Pella, 3-2 (2 OT). Heading into such a challenging league opener, Laidlaw said Central’s offensive breakout will provide a mental boost.
“The timing of our goal scoring couldn’t have been any better,” he said. “It reinforces some confidence in the players. We always felt we had the players to finish, that’s never been the issue. It was just a matter of time.”