142-76-14 (.642) record since 2001
PELLA — Wis.-Oshkosh knocked in a second-half goal and held off a youthful Central College men’s soccer team 2-1 in Saturday’s season opener at the A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex field.
After conceding the first goal in the 36th minute, Central tied it 1-1 on Serge Sievertson’s (sophomore, Wilmette, Ill., New Trier Township HS) unassisted tally with 4:30 left in the first half. But Wis.-Oshkosh (1-0-1), which had played Iowa Conference rival Wartburg College to a 3-3 draw at Waverly Friday night, got the decisive score in the 57th minute.
It was coach Garry Laidlaw’s first look at the 2012 Dutch in game conditions and he liked what he saw from a lineup that included four sophomores and a freshman.
“I learned we’ve got a great young squad,” he said. “I’m disappointed in the way we conceded the second goal, but to be fair, Oshkosh possessed the ball better on us in the second half. That’s a team that’s two years removed from playing in a final four and you can see the quality is still there.
“At the same time, I thought we had them a little bit weary at the end of the first half. We had them on their back foot. But it was a well-played, hard-fought game and credit to Oshkosh.”
Central was outshot by just 15-14 and goalkeeper Travis Yets (junior, Bettendorf) made five saves in his first collegiate start.
“I think we’ve got the leadership we need to take us far and we’ve got some good youth,” Laidlaw said. “It’s a good mix.”
Central gets its first road test at Grinnell College Sunday in a 1 p.m. game. The Dutch were 2-0 winners over Grinnell at Pella last year and leads the teams’ all-time series, 9-5. Grinnell opened the season with a convincing 5-1 home win over Iowa Conference rival Coe College.
“Grinnell is coming off a fantastic win over Coe,” Laidlaw said. “We’ll have to get rested up pretty quickly and use more of our bench. It’s going to be difficult to turn it around but I feel good about this team and think we’ll recover.”
Laidlaw is comfortable using a lot of players.
“I feel really good about our bench and we’re going to use it, especially in the first week to 10 days, because we have a fairly busy schedule,” he said.