133-67-13 (.654) record since 2001
DUBUQUE— Central College tied the score heading into halftime, but No. 4-ranked Loras College pulled ahead in the second half, edging the Dutch 2-1 in the Iowa Conference men’s soccer tournament championship Saturday.
The nationally-ranked Duhawks (19-1-1) received the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament while the Dutch closed their season at 8-10-3. It was Central’s first appearance in the tourney final.
The Dutch evened the score at 1-1 when defender Aleksandar Glavas (sophomore, Loves Park, Ill., Guilford HS) fired in a low, hard shot through traffic on a free kick in the 42nd minute.
Loras struck first in the 11th minute and netted the game-winning goal in the 64th minute. The Duhawks outshot Central 16-12 but the Dutch held an 8-7 shots on goal advantage.
“Not many teams could come up here and play as tough as this group did,” coach Garry Laidlaw said. “Proud does not begin to describe how I feel about how they played tonight.
“I give credit to Loras for playing very well. I think the Iowa Conference has a legitimate shot at winning a national championship, and I wish them the best of luck.”
Glavas had a team-high four shots, including three on goal. Goalkeeper Travis Yets (junior, Bettendorf) played the full match and made five saves.
“Everyone played well,” Laidlaw said. “To single out one player isn’t possible because they all did a great job.”
It was Central’s 12th straight tournament appearance. The Dutch, seeded sixth in the tourney, were the lowest seed in league history to reach the final.
Central graduates six seniors: defender Gary Sorich (Downers Grove, Ill., Lemont HS), midfielder Matt Woodcock (West Des Moines, Valley HS), midfielder Brandon Bautista (St. Charles, Ill., North HS), forward Ralph Palmeri (St. Charles, Ill., Marmion Academy HS), defender Zach Jensen (Johnston) and forward Jordan Appenzeller (Boone).
“I do have to take my hat off to the seniors because the leadership they showed throughout the season helped us get to where we were tonight.”
Laidlaw cited a strong Dutch fan base Saturday night.
“They were vocal and energetic,” he said. “We appreciate them coming all the way out to cheer us on.”