142-76-14 (.642) record since 2001
DECORAH—Central College midfielder Daniel Peacock (junior, Ankeny) knocked in the game-winning penalty kick on the final shot, pushing the Central College men’s soccer team to the semifinals of the Iowa Conference tournament after the Dutch battled to a 0-0 double-overtime draw with Luther College Saturday night.
Central won the best out-of-five kicks shootout 4-3. Forward Ralph Palmeri (senior, St. Charles, Ill., Marmion Academy), midfielder Brandon Bautista (senior, St. Charles, Ill., North HS), midfielder Matt Woodcock (senior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) and Peacock all converted on kicks for the Dutch while goalkeeper Travis Yets (junior, Bettendorf) turned away two penalty kicks.
“Once the overtime period is over, it’s in the hands of the individuals and a team sport becomes an individual sport,” coach Garry Laidlaw said. “But I’ll say this, I felt really good about our penalty kickers throughout the week and about Travis Yets’ ability in goal. I’m just so proud of the players.”
The Dutch improved to 7-9-3 and move on to a league semifinal match against second-seeded University of Dubuque while Luther closed its season at 10-5-3. Sixth-seeded Central will play the Spartans (11-5-1) Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Dubuque.
Luther opened the shootout and missed the second and fifth kicks. The match was held scoreless through two double overtime periods. The Norse had a 20-10 shot advantage, including a 9-7 edge in shots on goal. Both goalkeepers made six saves.
“For a 0-0 match, it was a thrill a minute,” Laidlaw said. “Both teams had some really good chances. I thought their goalkeeper made tremendous saves on three point-blank shots and Travis had his share as well.”
The Dutch also recorded a clean sheet against Luther when Central was a 1-0 winner at Pella back in September.
“To hold that team to no goals for two games is outstanding,” Laidlaw said. “It speaks well for the togetherness of our team and our ability to defend and do what we had to do.”
It’s the third shutout of the year for Yets.
“We came into this season completely inexperienced in goal and Travis has just gotten better and better as the season has gone on,” Laidlaw said. “He was absolutely fantastic tonight and really has been for the last third of the season.”
Laidlaw also noted Central’s defense.
“Our starting back four also deserves a lot of credit,” he said. “And Brian Fyfe (defender, sophomore, Clear Lake) came off the bench and gave us some quality minutes.”
Dubuque is ranked seventh in the North Region of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. The Spartans had a first-round bye in tournament action and edged the Dutch 2-0 in September. The winner of Wednesday’s match will move on to the finals next Saturday, meeting the winner of fifth-seeded Simpson College and No.-1 seeded Loras College.
“It never gets any easier when you advance,” Laidlaw said. “Dubuque had a great season and we’ll obviously have to be better than we were against them before.
“But right now, I’m not going to worry about that. We’ll go to work on Monday but we’re going to let the players enjoy this. It was a great night for them.”