PELLA — Ceding three goals in the first half created too much of a deficit for the Central College men’s soccer team against Luther College during a 3-0 loss Saturday.
Central wraps up its spring season with a 3-4-1 record (3-4-1 American Rivers Conference). Luther ends its season at 5-2-1 (5-2-1 conference).
The Norse were held off the scoreboard for the first 30 minutes but then found the back of the net three teams in the last 15 minutes of the first half.
“Our game plan worked great at the start but a few individual defensive errors cost us,” coach Garry Laidlaw said. “I was delighted with our play in the second half. We tried to take the game to them and earned a lot of corner kicks. We engaged a lot more in the second half and pressured them better.”
Central outshot the Norse 7-3 in the second half and had a 9-3 advantage on corners.
Midfielder Gabe Wilson (freshman, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) fired off a pair of shots late, both landing on frame and requiring saves. Matthew West (sophomore, forward, Pleasant Hill, Southeast Polk HS), Tristin Gilles (junior, forward, Hudson) and Nathan Casas (junior, forward Cottage Grove, Minn., East Ridge HS) also had shots on goal in the second half.
Andrew Benhart (senior, forward, Geneseo, Ill.) and Joel Collett (senior, Walford, Cedar Rapids, Prairie HS) were honored in a pregame Senior Day ceremony.
“We’ve had a lot of good players come through this program and there hasn’t been any better than them,” Laidlaw said. ‘They’re up with a lot of those who have come before them. Andrew has never stopped leading and his attitude has never dipped. Joel has always been a quiet leader and he’s going out the way he came in, with class.”
Goalkeeper John Foster (freshman, Lee’s Summit, Mo., North HS) recorded four saves in 90 minutes of action.
With the hopes for a more normal 2021 fall season on the horizon, Laidlaw is optimistic about what the future holds for the program.
“After everything we’ve gone through and the challenges we faced this spring, I think the second half today showed us what we can be,” Laidlaw said. “We believe we’ll kick on from today and be even better in the fall.”