133-67-13 (.654) record since 2001
PELLA—Freshman Brandon Fritz (defender, Mahomet, Ill., Mahomet-Seymour HS) fired the game-winning goal in the 87th minute to lift the Central College men’s soccer team over Elmhurst College (Ill.) 2-1 Thursday in Pella.
In the season opener for both squads, Fritz found the back of the net off an assist from midfielder Brandon Bautista (junior, St. Charles, Ill., North HS).
“I couldn’t be happier with Brandon (Fritz),” coach Garry Laidlaw said. “He’s a great kid and works hard. He has a lot to learn but he gained a lot of confidence today. What a great finish.”
The Dutch had just six minutes to seal a victory in regulation play after Elmhurst knotted the score 1-1 in the 84th minute, converting a penalty kick from a Central foul in the box.
“Credit to Elmhurst in the second half,” Laidlaw said. “They were much more organized and started throwing more bodies forward to put us under pressure. But I’m delighted with the way we responded.”
Central, in familiar fashion, took an early lead when senior co-captain Jonathan Schroeder (midfielder, St. Charles, Ill., North HS) notched a tally in the 15th minute, his 11th career goal. Last season the Dutch scored almost twice as many goals in the first half.
“Jon took his goal brilliantly,” Laidlaw said.
Central outshot the Blue Jays 14-8 and also held an 8-1 corner-kick advantage.
“We defended very well the entire game,” Laidlaw said. “It was fairly physical, but we dealt with it well. For the first game I’m quite pleased.”
Goalkeepers David Ziemann (senior, Van Meter) and Tim Maggard (sophomore, Torrance, Calif., South HS) split time in the net. Maggard posted four saves in the second half and was credited with the win.
The Dutch (1-0) return to the pitch Saturday, tackling Washington-St. Louis (Mo.) at 7 p.m. in St. Louis.
“It doesn’t get any easier after today,” Laidlaw said. “Washington is a nationally recognized team.”
The Bears (1-0) have advanced to the NCAA Division III championship 19 times, producing a 25-18-4 record.
“We gained some confidence from the game today,” Laidlaw said. “We’ll go Saturday and play our game. We have nothing to lose.”