142-76-14 (.642) record since 2001
PELLA —The Central College men’s soccer program enters the 2014 season with one of the strongest and deepest rosters the Dutch have had in years.
Following a 9-9-1 season in 2013, the Dutch are eyeing a 13th consecutive trip to the Iowa Conference tournament and a climb up the league ladder this season.
“With the players that we have returning and with the incoming class, we feel like depth is not going to be a problem for us this year as opposed to in recent years,” said head coach Garry Laidlaw, who begins his 17th season with the Dutch. “With the way the college game is set up with its substitution rules, it pays to have depth. With us playing games in back-to-back days, we’re going to need that depth.
“When you throw in that freshman class with returning players, we feel like we have one of our stronger lineups in years.”
With a large incoming class and with the return of two all-Iowa Conference honorable mention selections (Aleksander Glavas, Mark Hentschel), Laidlaw is hopeful his team can contend for a conference championship in 2014.
“The outlook for this year is a positive and exciting one,” Laidlaw said. “The Iowa Conference is going to be as hotly contested as ever. It seems that the conference is becoming more challenging with every year, but we see us being in the mix and challenging the other schools for the league title.”
One of the better position battles this fall will take place between the pipes as Central replaces starter, seven-game winner and 2013 all-conference honorable mention honoree Tim Maggard.
There’s competition for the starting role between sophomores Josh Carpenter and Austin Little and junior Connor Ginder.
“I think all three have different strengths,” Laidlaw said. “They all competed well during our spring season. We expect this will continue on into the fall.”
Carpenter saw the most time in goal last fall among the three returners, making seven appearances and three starts. Carpenter went 2-1 in his three starts, making 21 saves and allowing 1.49 goals per game. Little made two appearances, making eight saves and allowing four goals in 52 minutes of action. Ginder played in one game and did not face a shot on goal.
Senior Nick Lutsch and junior Jeremy Dolder return to lead a backfield that allowed just 28 goals last season.
A three-year letterwinner and two-time academic all-conference (2012, 2013) member, Lutsch started all 19 games a year ago, registering an assist, while Dolder, a two-year letterwinner, also got the starting nod in 19 games, recording an assist.
“It’s great to have Nick returning,” Laidlaw said. “He has had an outstanding three-year career so far and is a real anchor in the back, so we expect that he’ll be leading the line.
“Jeremy is a consistent player who has continued to improve and will help lead the way for some of our returners and incoming players.”
Joining Lutsch and Dolder are sophomores EJ Schroeder, Nick Kuntz and Owen Shawgo. Schroeder appeared in 19 games last fall, recording an assist, while Kuntz and Shawgo made 18 appearances apiece, with Kuntz tallying one goal.
“I think both EJ and Nick will be looking to stake their claim this year,” Laidlaw said. “Owen is a good athlete who is still developing and someone who we feel has come a long ways towards being a regular in the squad.
“I think one of the reasons why we’re so comfortable and confident with our defense is because of the depth that we have. We also have a player like Adelmo Marchiori who we pushed up to midfield last year but is capable of dropping back if needed. John and Chad Jamison will join Kyle Langstraat and Lucas Lazenby as returners also looking to impress. We are also excited at the additions of Calvin Bill, Zach Butters, Bryce Baxter and Connor Bolton as freshmen.”
Central lost nine goals scored from last year’s team with the graduations of midfielders Dillon Thornbury, Daniel Peacock and Kyle Maynard, but welcomes back seniors Mark Hentschel and Dennis Forrest.
Hentschel, who received 2013 all-conference honorable mention distinction, started in 17 of the 18 games he played, accumulating nine points on three goals and three assists. Hentschel also ranked third on the team in shots (24) and shots on goal (10).
“Mark is a very technical player who has good size, good strength and a real good sense for the game,” Laidlaw said. “Mark has the capability of controlling the pace of the game and he is an excellent passer.”
After missing all of the 2013 season with an injury, 2012 all-conference honoree Forrest returns for his final season.
“We’re excited to have Dennis back. We think Dennis will be ready after missing all of last season with an injury,” Laidlaw said. “Dennis came into the beginning of last year in great shape and form, so that was a big loss for us last year. We think Dennis will be back stronger and more motivated than ever.”
Sophomore Adelmo Marchiori IV made an immediate impact in the midfield during his freshman campaign. Marchiori started 18 games during his freshman campaign, registering seven points on two goals and three assists.
“Adelmo had an excellent freshman season and I think he can be a big part of what we’re trying to accomplish this year,” Laidlaw said.
Senior Nathaniel Holte rounds out the list of Central’s returning midfielders. Holte logged time in eight games last fall, recording an assist.
Other midfield players in contention will include freshmen Salador, Villanueva, Jared Stoops, Josh Prokupek, Andrew McMillan, Will Rasmussan, Scottie Yang, Seth Signs and Reis O’Neil.
Seniors Aleksander Glavas and Spencer Boeyink return to head up an offense that averaged two goals per game last fall.
A 2013 all-conference honorable mention choice, Glavas ranked at or near the top of nearly every offensive statistical category in the league a year ago. Glavas ranked first in shots per game (3.89) and second in shots (74), points (25) and points per game (1.32). The senior also ranked third in goals (10), goals per game (0.53) and game-winning goals (4).
“We converted Alex into a forward his sophomore year and he’s gone on and done great things,” Laidlaw said. “Alex is such a powerful player and has one of the hardest shots that we’ve seen anywhere.”
A former member of the Central football team, Boeyink didn’t miss a stride in his return to the pitch last fall. Boeyink started 10 of the 17 games he appeared in, totaling 10 points on four goals and two assists.
“I think from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, we saw a transformation of Spencer from a player who looked like he had missed a few years of soccer to the player that we knew he was a few years ago,” Laidlaw said. “I really think that Spencer can do some great things at forward this year with Alex.”
Seniors Nick Hauenstein and Chris Poesch also return for their final seasons. Hauenstein was sidelined with an injury after six games in 2013.
“Nick has had a bit of a rough go, but we’re hoping that he’s had enough time this summer to heal up and get back to being 100 percent, because he can be a difference-maker for us,” Laidlaw said. “Ben Robertson also had a promising spring and we are also looking forward to having freshman Isaiah Mundell and Bryce Leonard to add some attacking punch up front.”
An 18-game slate that includes 10 home matches awaits the Dutch this fall.
After opening the season at home on Aug. 29 against 2013 NCAA qualifier Wis.-Oshkosh, Central takes to the road for four of its next five matches.
“We play a number of regionally and nationally ranked teams, including some of the top members of our conference,” Laidlaw said. “We have a challenging, exciting schedule, which I think has been a theme of ours for the last number of years. We know that if we want to be the best that we have to continually match up with teams that are in the upper echelon of our division. We think that our non-conference schedule will again prepare us well for one of the strongest conferences in the nation for Division III men’s soccer.”
Mike Kobylinski and Will Foskett complete Laidlaw’s coaching staff. Kobylinski is in his fourth season as head women’s soccer coach and third as assistant men’s coach. “The work that Coach Kobylinski has put in, particularly in the last nine months, is really going to serve us well over the coming years,” Laidlaw said. “He did a fantastic job running our camp this year which will certainly pay dividends for us in the long run.”
Foskett enters his first season as assistant coach after serving the previous two season as a volunteer assistant.
“Coach Foskett has a lot of knowledge of the game after coming from England and I think he’s excited about moving up the ranks of the coaching staff,” Laidlaw said. “Will will be assuming not only the many responsibilities of the JV program but also in training our goalkeepers.”