133-67-13 (.654) record since 2001
DUBUQUE—Revealing more of the late-game resiliency that has kept its season alive, the Central College men’s soccer team overcame the University of Dubuque for a 2-1 double-overtime victory at the Iowa Conference tournament semifinal Wednesday night.
Midfielder Matt Woodcock (senior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) punched in the gamewinner in the sudden-death overtime to advance the sixth-seeded Dutch to the tournament final Saturday against Loras College. The tourney winner receives the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Woodcock’s sixth goal of the season ended the lengthy battle in the 102nd minute. Defender Aleksandar Glavas (sophomore, Loves Park., Ill., Guilford HS) had the ball on the right flank and hit in a cross to midfielder Brandon Bautista (senior, St. Charles, Ill., North HS), who flicked it over the goalkeeper’s head. The ball ricocheted off the crossbar and Woodcock pounced on the return, sending it in with a side volley.
“It was a great finish from close range,” coach Garry Laidlaw said.
Forward Jordan Appenzeller (senior, Boone) put the Dutch on top with his fourth goal in the 17th minute on a penalty kick after a Dubuque handball.
“Jordan stepped up and finished it really well,” Laidlaw said. “He missed a penalty kick last match and I think he was determined to make amends. I’m glad he had the courage to step up and bury it.”
Dubuque tied it in the 34th minute with a header off a corner kick. The Spartans held a 19-13 shots advantage but the Dutch led the shots on goal count, 5-2. Goalkeeper Travis Yets (junior, Bettendorf) made one save.
Seven players came off the bench to help fuel the Dutch win.
“We’ve been going deeper and deeper these past few games and that’s help keep fresh legs,” Laidlaw said. “And the players that are coming in are contributing.”
Central also displayed overtime theatrics in the opening round against Luther College. After a 0-0 double-overtime battle the Dutch won a best-of-five kicks shootout, 4-3.
“There’s just something special about this team,” Laidlaw said. “They have the intangibles coaches dream of. They show a lot of heart and courage and it’s a never-give-up attitude.”
Central improved to 8-9-3 while the second-seeded Spartans end the year at 11-6-1. The Dutch tackle top-seeded Loras at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Rock Bowl in Dubuque. The Duhawks, ranked No. 4 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America coaches’ poll, defeated Central 2-0 earlier this year.
“We’re under no allusions,” Laidlaw said. “We know what we’re up against. We’re going to show up and do the things we’ve done the last five or six games and enjoy the occasion.”
Central, which has appeared in 11 consecutive league tournaments, will be playing in its first tourney championship.