34-19-5 (.650) mark over past three seasons
PELLA—The Central College women’s soccer team posted its 10th shutout of the season in a 2-0 win over non-conference foe William Penn Tuesday afternoon.
Conditions were not ideal, as the two teams played in light rain with temperatures in the high 30s and wind blowing out of the north at 10-15 mph.
“William Penn is a contender,” coach Mike Kobylinski said. “Their coach has them much improved and well organized and they took it to us in the first half. (Assistant coach Katelin) Gannon made some great suggestions, we made some adjustments and we were able to take advantage in the second half. Having the wind at our backs made a big difference, as well.”
Goalkeeper Sydney Lunardi (freshman, Bettendorf, Davenport Assumption HS) made nine saves—including a one-on-one diving save—while midfielder Emily Saville (junior, Cedar Rapids, Linn-Mar HS) scored the game-winning goal and forward Alayna Bailey (senior, Des Moines, Hoover HS) netted her league-leading 18th goal of the season.
Saville dribbled the ball down the left side, drew the ball back to the corner of the box and hooked a shot over the goalkeeper’s head to the far post. Her fifth goal of the season was the game-winning goal at 56:55.
“Emily can do that,” said Kobylinski. “She has one of the best shots on the team. We switched her up top and as soon as we did, she got the goal. Emily can play anywhere. I was very happy for her to get that goal. She’s peaking at the right time.
“What’s nice about our team is that each game it seems like someone new steps up. Today it was Emily.”
Bailey put an exclamation point on the victory, scoring with less than three minutes remaining after dribbling through two defenders and beating the keeper with her shot. Her 18 goals in a season are third all time, one behind second place Allison Cupples and three behind all-time leader Heather Allbee (21, 1998). She is second all time in career goals with 46—six behind Tori Rittman. Bailey also sits at 38 points for the season—second all time (51, Allbee)—and 98 for her career—third all time (101, Allbee; 120, Rittman).
“It’s hard to keep figuring out words to describe Alayna’s great play,” Kobylinski said. “It was brilliant how she tucked that goal away. She’s figuring out ways to score and scoring at crucial times.”
The shutout improves on its single season record, which Central (11-4-2 overall, 2-2-1 IIAC) set with its ninth shutout on Saturday. The win also brings the Dutch within one of its school record 12 wins in 1999 and 2012.
It was the definition of a team shutout, as defender Molly Potts (senior, Pleasant Hill, Southeast Polk HS) stepped in front of a William Penn (6-11-0 overall) shot, blocking it from an open net less than one minute into the game. Later in the game, Lunardi made a one-on-one, breakaway save after a through ball skipped off the wet grass and past the Central defense.
“Sydney showed why we recruited her,” said Kobylinski. “Her one-on-one save was phenomenal. She had a couple other crucial plays, including crosses that she punched out. Her consistency needs to come up a bit, but she is tough to score on.
“(Assistant coach Russ) Goodman has done invaluable work with all three of our goalkeepers. It’s awesome to see their performances reflect the effort.”
The Dutch survived the ensuing corner kick—as well as a free kick from the top of the box—to retain the one-goal lead.
In addition to Potts and Lunardi, Kobylinski highlighted the play of midfielder Gabrielle Muse (junior, Waukee) and defender Kelsey Schippers (senior, Pella).
“Molly was one of the best players in today’s match,” Kobylinski said. “Gabrielle marked their best player in the second half and shut her down. What she does for our team is invaluable. She does not always show up in the stat line, but what she does is vital to our success. Kelsey came off the bench and played her rotation very well. She brought a calming influence and worked her tail off.
“It was another team shutout and team victory.”
The Statesmen led in shots (17-8) and shots on goal (10-3), but the Dutch led in corner kicks (8-5). And Central made its opportunities count.
The Dutch close out the road slate Saturday at Luther (8-6-0 overall, 4-1-0 IIAC). Last season Central edged the Norse 1-0 in Pella.