PELLA – In its first game of the season, the Central College men’s soccer team debuted with five new freshmen in their starting lineup and faced St. Olaf College (Minn.) Through ended in a 2-1 loss Wednesday night.
After allowing two goals in the first 25 minutes, Central (0-1-0) suppressed defensively and held the Oles (1-0-0) off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
âSt. Olaf is a team that can certainly compete at the top of the league this year,â said coach Garry Laidlaw. âThey were well organized and well trained.
Central began to rally in the 50th minute when Jordan Groshek (freshman, forward, Onalaska, Wisconsin) took a penalty for a foul in the box and Brant Mueller (senior, forward, Bettendorf) buried the attempt to penalty.
âJordan had a great race,â said Laidlaw. “He took off his run in the box and I think the defender just got on the wrong side of him.”
Central had four shots in the last 10 minutes, including a header from Nathan Kuhlman (sophomore, midfielder, Lee’s Summit, Mo., North HS) who was saved in the 81st minute. Three other Dutch attempts were missed.
âI am absolutely delighted with our performance in the second half. We really took the game from them and had some good chances in the final seconds. “
In addition to Groshek, Central pitched newcomers Jack Cannon (defenseman, Geneva, Ill.), Cole Manuel (midfielder, Erie, Colo.), Tim Shicky (defenseman, Peoria, Arizona, Shattuck-St Mary’s) and Lucas Bartachek (defender, Waukee).
âWe’re not focused on the ages of our guys,â Laidlaw said. “If they’re good enough to be in the game, they’re in the game.”
John Foster (sophomore, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, North HS) suffered the loss in front of goal while making four saves.
Dutch host Grinnell College Saturday at 2 p.m.