151-102-14 (.592) record since 2001
CEDAR RAPIDS-The Central College men's soccer team was voted fourth in the Iowa Conference preseason poll, as voted by the league coaches. The Dutch finished the 2012 regular season with an 8-10-3 overall record, but made a surprising run as the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament and advanced to the championship game. Loras, ranked fourth in the nation, escaped with a 2-1 win and the conference title.
Preview by Josh Schroeder, Iowa Conference director of information:
Loras College, which has won five of the last six Iowa Conference titles and advanced to the national semifinals of the 2012 NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championship, is the coaches’ pick to win the 2013 Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) men’s soccer title. The Duhawks received the maximum seven possible first-place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own team) totaling 56 points in the IIAC Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Poll.
Luther College picked up the remaining first-place vote along with four second-place votes and ranks second with 47 points. The University of Dubuque received three second-place votes and sits third with 39 points, just ahead of Central College (36 points). Wartburg College (35) and Simpson College (32) rank fifth and sixth, respectively. The complete 2013 IIAC Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Poll follows:
Iowa Conference Schedule: The season opens Friday, August 30 with seven schools in action. Dubuque, Loras, Simpson and Wartburg all open the year in the Land of 10,000 Lakes with Wartburg at St. Thomas, Simpson at Bethel, Loras at St. Scholastica and Dubuque at Augsburg. Central is at Washington University in St. Louis, Luther travels to San Antonio to face Southwestern (Texas) and Buena Vista hosts Martin Luther as part of the BVU Classic. The final IIAC school, Coe, opens up the next day by hosting Grinnell.
The Iowa Conference schedule opens Saturday, September 28 with a complete schedule of four games – Simpson at Central, Wartburg at Coe, Loras at Dubuque and Buena Vista at Luther.
Rank School (1st place votes) Points 2012 Record
1 Loras (7) 56 23-2-1, 7-0-0 IIAC (21 pts.)
2 Luther (1) 47 10-5-3, 4-3-0 IIAC (12 pts.)
3 Dubuque 39 11-6-1, 5-2-0 IIAC (15 pts.)
4 Central 36 8-10-3, 3-4-0 IIAC (9 pts.)
5 Wartburg 35 7-9-2, 3-3-1 IIAC (10 pts.)
6 Simpson 32 13-8-1, 3-3-1 IIAC (10 pts.)
T7 Buena Vista 17 5-11-1, 0-7-0 IIAC (0 pts.)
T7 Coe 17 5-12-1, 2-5-0 IIAC (6 pts.)
Preseason Polls: After ending the season with an overtime loss in the national semifinals to eventual national champion Messiah, Loras opens the 2013 season ranked second in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Poll. The D3soccer.com Preseason Poll will be released later this month.
Conference Tournament: The top-six teams following the regular season round-robin schedule qualify for the 2013 Iowa Conference Tournament with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line. Two first-round matches will be Saturday, November 2. The semifinals will be held Wednesday, November 6, followed by the final on Saturday, November 9. All matches will be hosted by the higher seed.
Team-By-Team Preview: A brief preview for each Iowa Conference team follows.
Buena Vista Beavers
2012 record: 5-11-1 overall, 0-7-0 IIAC (0 points, eighth)
Starters returning/lost: 7/4
Letterwinners returning/lost: 14/4
Buena Vista returns seven starters and 14 letter winners from last season's 5-11-1 team that finished eighth in the Conference with zero points and a 0-7-0 record. The Beavers return their four of their top five scorers from a year ago but will need to find a replacement in net for Michael Rydberg.
Leading the charge will be senior forward Tyler Lafferty and junior forward Joey Stivers. Lafferty led the team in scoring a year ago with 18 points on seven goals and four assists, picking up a game-winning goal. He also tied for 10th in the league in points, ranked sixth in points per game (1.06) and was tied for eighth in goals per game (0.41). Stivers, who received honorable mention from the coaches last year, was second on the team in scoring with 12 points on five goals and two assists. He accounted for three of Buena Vista's four goals in league play. Junior Steve Gutschenritter, a center mid, scored four points on one goal and two assists. Gutschenritter's goal was a game-winner.
Senior defender Alex Chavez played in all 17 games a year ago and was a key defender for a Buena Vista squad that posted shutouts over Presentation (7-0) and Faith Baptist Bible (3-0).
Buena Vista head coach Marc Baumbach says, "We expect to be more competitive this year than we were the previous year. Loras should be considered the favorite for the title."
2012 record: 8-10-3 overall, 3-4-0 IIAC (9 points, sixth)
Starters returning/lost: 6/5
Letterwinners returning/lost: 15/7
Central returns six starters and 14 letter winners from last season's 8-10-3 team that finished sixth in the Conference with nine points and a 3-4-0 record. Defense should be a strength for the Dutch as five of six returning starters are defenders. On the offensive end of the field, Central lost the top four point scorers on the team and five of the top six. Defender Aleksandar Glavas is the top returning point scorer with nine points on four goals and one assist. The Dutch do return three-time second team all-IIAC midfielder Daniel Peacock. Peacock, a senior, scored four points on four assists.
Joining Peacock in the midfield will be fellow seniors Dillon Thornbury and Kyle Maynard. Thornbury played in 18 games last season, netting one goal – a game-winner against Monmouth (Ill.) on October 2. Maynard also netted one goal last year, against William Penn on October 16.
Central head coach Garry Laidlaw says, "We have great senior leadership, a solid group of returning players and some new players who we think can impact the squad. Once again, the league looks as competitive as ever. We want to build on the form we finished in towards the end of 2012."
2012 record: 5-12-1 overall, 2-5-0 IIAC (6 points, seventh)
Starters returning/lost: 7/5
Letterwinners returning/lost: 9/6
Coe returns seven starters and nine letter winners from last season's 5-12-1 team that placed seventh in the league with six points and a 2-5-0 record. The Kohawks return four of their eight scorers from last year, led by senior midfielder Chris Fitch. Fitch scored 15 points on six goals – including a game-winner – and three assists. He also ranked second among players in shots (61) and shots per game (3.59) and was 10th in goals per game (0.35).
Joining Fitch up front will be junior midfielder Matt Peak and senior forward Colton Benhart. Peak ranked fifth on the team with three points on a goal and an assist. Benhart was credited with an assist.
Senior defender Matt Kielty will hold down the back line for the Kohawks. He played in all 18 games a year ago, registering an assist.
Coe head coach Homer Screws says, "Coe's young talent is maturing and we expect to fight for a playoff berth. I'm excited to see how this hard working group of players will compete in an ever-so-challenging Iowa Conference."
2012 record: 11-6-1 overall, 5-2-0 IIAC (15 points, second)
Starters returning/lost: 8/3
Letterwinners returning/lost: 15/9
Dubuque returns eight starters and 15 letter winners from last season's 11-6-1 team that finished second in the Iowa Conference with 15 points and a 5-2-0 record. Gone from last year is 21-goal scorer and 2012 IIAC scoring champion Nick McDonald, but the Spartans return two-time all-conference selection Cory Winkler up front. Winkler, a senior midfielder, ranked second on the team in scoring last season with 21 points on nine goals – including three game-winners – and three assists. Among league players, he ranked third in shots per game (3.29), points per game (1.24) and goals per game (0.53), fourth in shots (56), goals and game-winning goals and fifth in points. Winkler posted a league-high with seven points (three goals, one assist) against Bethel (Minn.). He will be supported by sophomore midfielder Brayden Prothero. Prothero registered three points on a goal and an assist.
Junior defender Peter Hager, a two-time all-IIAC second-teamer, will hold down the back line for the Spartans, who limited opponents to 23 goals last season, including nine in league play.
The Spartans will also benefit from the return of starting goalkeeper Jake O'Rourke, who occupied the net for all but 19 minutes, 48 seconds last season, accumulating an 11-6-1 record with a 1.20 goals-against average, 64 saves, a .744 save percentage and four shutouts. He ranked third among league netminders in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts and was fourth in saves.
Dubuque head coach Brad Johnson says, "There are high expectations for the University of Dubuque men's soccer program entering the 2013 season. The Spartans will look to an experienced class of returners and an eager class of newcomers to continue our successful ways. The Iowa Conference will once again be very competitive and we are excited to get started."
2012 record: 23-2-1 overall, 7-0-0 IIAC (21 points, IIAC champion)
Starters returning/lost: 7/4
Letterwinners returning/lost: 18/9
Loras returns seven starters and 18 letter winners from last year's 23-2-1 team that swept through the Iowa Conference with 21 points and a 7-0-0 record, won the Iowa Conference tournament and fell to eventual national champion Messiah, 1-0, in overtime in the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship national semifinals. The Duhawks return four of their top six scorers from a squad that outscored opponents, 68-11, in 26 games and posted 17 shutouts. Loras had the stingiest defense in the league last season, tying a league record by completing the league slate without surrendering a goal. The Duhawks outscored their IIAC opponents, 27-0, in league play.
Leading the Duhawks offense will be senior midfielder Kevin Cavers. Cavers, a two-time all-IIAC first team pick, led the team with 24 points on eight goals and eight assists en route to Iowa Conference MVP honors. Three of his goals were game-winners. He ranked third among IIAC players in points and assists, fourth in game-winning goals and was fifth in goals. JuniorsJohnny Rummelhart and Tom Fluegel will provide support in the middle. Rummelhart ranked fourth on the team with 16 points on six goals – three game-winners – and four assists. Fluegel recorded 11 points on three goals and five assists. Two of Fluegel's goals were game-winners.
Heading the Duhawk defense will be senior defender Dan Figura, a two-time all-IIAC selection who scored three points on a goal and an assist. He will be assisted by two-way player Erik Berkowitz. Berkowitz, a senior, ranked third on the team in scoring with 17 points. He tied for the team lead with eight goals, including three game-winners. Senior goalkeeper Dylan Milkent will be the last line of defense for the Duhawks. Milkent, a first team all-conference pick last season, went 22-2-1 with 61 saves, an 0.46 goals-against average, an .847 save percentage and 15.0 shutouts. He led all IIAC players in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.
Loras head coach Dan Rothert says, "Expectations are at an all-time high. We have a great group of returners and new players that will have a target on their back all year long, especially in the IIAC."
2012 record: 10-5-3 overall, 4-3-0 IIAC (12 points, third)
Starters returning/lost: 9/2
Letterwinners returning/lost: 16/8
Luther returns nine starters and 16 letter winners from last year's 10-5-3 squad that took third in the Conference with a 4-3-0 mark. The Norse had the number two defense among IIAC teams last season, allowing 16 goals and posting nine clean sheets in 18 games.
Offensively, Luther returns four of its top five scorers from 2012. Sophomore forward Jon Gednalske, a 2012 all-IIAC honorable mention, ranked second on the team with 13 points on five goals and three assists. He also recorded two game-winning goals. Senior forward Brock Arend, a two-time all-conference, was third on the team with 11 points on five goals and an assist while adding a pair of game-winning goals. He ranked third among league players in shots (58) and fourth in shots per game (3.22). Senior midfielder James Garcia-Prats, a 2011 second-team NSCAA All-American and a two-time all-region selection, ranked fourth on the team with nine points on three goals and three assists. He also netted a game-winning goal. Garcia-Parts ranked sixth among IIAC players in shots per game (2.72) and shots (49).
The cupboard is not bare on defense, either, as senior Austin Walther returns in defense. Walther, a two-time all-IIAC pick and an all-region selection last year, played in 15 of 18 games a year ago with a goal on 12 shots a year ago.
Luther head coach Chris Garcia-Prats says, "We are excited about the blend of youth and experience in the 2013 squad. We have designed a non-conference schedule that will ready us for conference play. The conference continues to improve as shown by the quality of success at the national level and there a number of teams that can win the conference championship including Luther College."
2012 record: 13-8-1 overall, 3-3-1 IIAC (10 points, tie-fourth)
Starters returning/lost: 9/2
Letterwinners returning/lost: 17/9
Simpson returns nine starters and 17 letter winners from last season's 13-8-1 team that tied for fourth in the Conference with a 3-3-1 league mark. Among those nine returning starters are three of the team's top four scorers from a year ago. Up front, sophomore forward Tyler Neumann led the team in scoring (33) and goals (12) and tied for the team lead in assists (9) while also adding three game-winning goals. A second-team all-league pick last year, Neumann led all IIAC players in assists and ranked second in points and goals. He will be joined by fellow forwards Mitchell White and Marcus Varnum. White, a junior, ranked second on the team in goals (10) and third in points (20) while posting a team-leading four game-winning goals. Varnum, a sophomore who received all-IIAC honorable mention last year, ranked fourth on the team with 18 points on seven goals and four assists with three game-winning goals. White ranked third among IIAC players in goals and game-winning goals, fifth in shots (54) and sixth in points, while Varnum ranked fourth in game-winning goals, sixth in shots (51) and 10th in points.
Senior goalkeeper Luke Aronow, an all-IIAC honorable mention in 2011 and 2012, returns after posting a 12-8-1 record with 30 goals allowed, a 1.85 goals-against average and 85 saves. He also posted five shutouts – two in league play – as well as a shared shutout with Zach McEntee. He ranked second among IIAC players in saves and shutouts, fourth in save percentage (.739) and fifth in goals-against average (1.85).
Simpson head coach Rick Isaacson says, "The Iowa Conference will again be a grind in 2013. From top to bottom, this league will be highly competitive. Our players had a tremendous offseason and our squad is eager to get back to work this fall."
2012 record: 7-9-2 overall, 3-3-1 IIAC (10 points, tie-fourth)
Starters returning/lost: 7/4
Letterwinners returning/lost: N/A
Wartburg returns seven starters from last season's 7-9-2 squad that tied for fourth in the Iowa Conference with a 3-3-1 mark. The Knights return three-time first-team all-IIAC selection Bob Brown in the midfield. Brown, a senior, recorded four assists.
Sophomore forward Zubeen Azari, who received honorable mention from the coaches a year ago, led the Knights in scoring with 19 points on a team-high eight goals and three assists. He also posted a pair of game-winning goals, both in league play. Azari recorded team-highs with four goals, three assists and 11 points in seven IIAC games. He ranked fifth among IIAC players in goals and eighth in points.
Kevin Krueger will anchor the Wartburg defense. He played in 17 of 18 games a year ago, scoring a goal.
Wartburg head coach Kirk Artist says, "We are looking forward to a competitive conference season."