133-67-13 (.654) record since 2001
WAVERLY—One goal short.
It’s been the story of the season for the Central College men’s soccer team and it was again in what proved to be the season finale Tuesday as Wartburg College scored with just 2:58 remaining to escape the Dutch 1-0 in the opening round of the Iowa Conference tournament. The Knights’ Nate Hedrington got the gamewinner, his 11th goal of the season.
Central, which closes the year with a 9-10 record, lost nine matches by one goal. Wartburg (13-4-1) had pulled out a regular-season win over the Dutch at Pella Oct. 10, 4-3 in overtime. The third-seeded Knights advance to the tourney semifinals at Loras College in Dubuque, playing the second-seeded Univ. of Dubuque Friday.
“Today’s game was somewhat a microcosm of our season,” coach Garry Laidlaw said. “We were in right to the end and lost on a late goal.”
The Dutch dealt with adversity throughout the campaign and did so again Tuesday, playing the final 50:10 a man down after a first-half red card. Central outshot Wartburg 7-6 in the first half, but was forced to play defensively in the second half and was outshot 10-2, giving Wartburg a 16-9 overall advantage.
Yet the Dutch fought admirably, Laidlaw said.
“I thought we came out and played the best 20 minutes we played all season at the start of the game,” he said. “Unfortunately that obviously changed with the red card. But our guys did everything they possibly could under the circumstances. They held out as long as they could but Wartburg was finally able to break us down at the end of the game.”
Goalkeeper Jonathan Glassman (sophomore, Lakeville, Minn., North HS) returned to the lineup for the first time since being injured in the first meeting with Wartburg more than three weeks ago and showed little rust, making five saves.
“He did very well,” Laidlaw said “He made a crucial one-on-one block early in the game that kept us in it. He struggled a little with his kicks but the rest of his game was there.
“We had some immense performances out there, too many to name. Certainly anyone we put in the game left his heart and soul on the pitch today.”
Central graduates just one senior, defender Erik Lundgren (Long Grove, Ill., Adlai Stevenson HS), a four-year starter and team co-captain. The Dutch posted a 48-26-6 mark during Lundgren’s four seasons.
“Apart from it being a loss, this was one of the strongest games of his career,” Laidlaw said.
This season’s experience, while sometimes painful, should prove beneficial in 2010.
“We need to mature as a team,” Laidlaw said. “There are still times when we need to show more discipline. If we take that lesson from today, we’ll be stronger next year. Erik (Lundgren) is a big loss but we’ve got a lot of good players returning.
“We committed too many needless fouls today. Those add up. But those are signs of a team that’s still coming of age.”