142-76-14 (.642) record since 2001
PELLA— Senior forward Ralph Palmeri (St. Charles, Ill., Marmion Academy) scored his first career goal as the Central College men’s soccer team blanked Millikin University (Ill.) 2-0 Friday.
Palmeri gave the Dutch some breathing room, netting the second goal of the game nearly nine minutes into the second half. Defender Nick Lutsch (sophomore, South Elgin, Ill., St. Charles North HS) had the assist.
“Ralph’s goal has been a long time coming,” coach Garry Laidlaw said. “Not many players work harder than Ralph and I was delighted that he was able to put it away, and put it away clinically. He passed it into the net and didn’t try to kill it; it was an instinctive striker’s goal.”
Defender Mark Hentschel (sophomore, West Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) put Central on the board 15 minutes into the first half, scoring off a corner kick. It’s his first goal of the season.
“I thought maybe we could have had one or two more before halftime,” Laidlaw said. “I felt like we sort of kept Millikin (2-2) in the game and gave them hope, but the second goal certainly seemed to ice it.”
Goalkeepers Travis Yets (junior, Bettendorf) and Connor Ginder (freshman, Medford, Ore., North Medford HS) teamed to pitch the shutout for the Dutch. Yets made two saves. Central outshot the Big Blue 20-8.
“I’m pleased we kept a clean sheet,” Laidlaw said. “We’ve been leaking goals a little more than we’d like. Travis played the majority and wasn’t tested a whole lot, but he took care of what he needed to and gave us some confidence.”
The Dutch (2-1-1) have a quick turnaround, hosting Illinois Wesleyan (2-0) Saturday at approximately 4:15 p.m. at the A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex soccer field.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” Laidlaw said. “I think Illinois Wesleyan is an upper-class, senior-led team and they have a lot of the same players back with high goals and aspirations of the year. They’re coming in fresh and we’ll need to play well because they’re a top-level team.”