34-19-5 (.650) mark over past three seasons
PELLA — Overtime seemed certain until the final 5 seconds when defender Liz Daniels (sophomore, Oconomowoc, Wis.) headed in a perfectly delivered corner kick by midfielder Emily Saville (sophomore, Cedar Rapids, Linn-Mar HS) that lifted the Central College women’s soccer team to a dramatic 2-1Iowa Conference tournament win over Simpson College Saturday.
The last-second theatrics sent the No. 4-seeded Dutch (12-5-2) into a semifinal contest at top-seeded Loras College (15-4), with a 5 p.m. game Wednesday at Dubuque. The league champion Duhawks were 2-0 winners over Central at Dubuque Oct. 6.
Saturday’s win was Central’s first league tournament victory since 2007. The squad tied the school record for most season wins, just two years after finishing 2-13-1. The Dutch also won 12 games in 1999, when they were 12-8.
With the clock winding down Saturday, Central was awarded a corner kick.
“We threw every player up except for one,” coach Mike Kobylinski said. “Emily (Saville) ran up and played a beautiful ball. Even though she rushed it, I think it was probably her best ball of the day. She put it right in the mixer and Liz Daniels headed it in. It was wonderful.”
That decided an otherwise even match, according to Kobylinski. Central held a 14-7 shots advantage, including a 9-5 edge in shots on goal. Dutch goalkeeper Steph Hasken (senior, Davenport, West HS) had four saves.
But Kobylinski also praised Simpson goalkeeper Megan Petersen, who made seven stops.
“I thought their keeper made some outstanding saves that kept them in the game,” he said.
Central went on top early, with forward Alayna Bailey (junior, Des Moines, Hoover HS) getting her 15th goal of the year in the sixth minute with an assist from defender Annie Weaver (freshman, Boone) on a counterattack. Bailey’s season scoring total is the fourth-highest in school history.
“Annie played a great through ball to Alayna and Alayna did what she does best, score goals,” Kobylinski said.
Even before her gamewinner, Daniels impressed the second-year Dutch coach.
“Liz had a phenomenal game,” Kobylinski said. “And Gabbi Muse (sophomore, Waukee) marked their best player again. She doesn’t get a lot of the glory but she did a great job.”
Winning at the Loras Rock Bowl Wednesday is a tall order.
“It’s a difficult place to win,” Kobylinski said. “But we’ve played Loras tough. We’ll gear up for it. We know that we’ve got to play teams like Loras and Wartburg to get where we want to go.”
But for now Kobylinski is still savoring Saturday’s thrilling triumph, already carved deeply into the team’s collective memory bank.
“I’ve never been a part of something like that, as a player or a coach,” he said. “It was truly special.”
Not the only Dutch buzzer-beater—Saturday’s last-minute victory conjured up memories of an even later score. Trailing 3-2 at Bethel College (Minn.) Sept. 15, 2000, freshman defender Beth Peterson rifled home a 25-yard shot that crossed the goal line as the buzzer was sounding. The Dutch then needed just 27 seconds of overtime to score a stunning 4-3 victory.