DUBUQUE — Coming off a 2013 Iowa Conference championship, the Duhawks began this year’s conference play with three straight games at home.
The conference season started with a game against the Central College Dutch last Saturday. The Duhawks got on the board first with a goal from sophomore Calvin Miller in the eighth minute off a free kick by fellow sophomore Alex Bradley. The Duhawks controlled the ball for most of the first half and were able to hold the lead going into half.
The scoring resumed early in the second half when senior Mike Pizzello drew a foul that resulted in a penalty kick. Senior Tom Fluegel took the PK and put it away to make it 2-0 in the 47th minute, earning his first goal of the season. Less than a minute later, Fluegel found sophomore Chris Paulino in transition for an insurance goal to make it 3-0 Duhawks.
Slowly but surely, the Dutch began to chip away at the deficit. In the 78th minute, Central’s Dennis Forrest was taken down by junior Sam Koenig and awarded a penalty kick. Mark Hentschel took the PK and buried it past sophomore Adam Roloff to cut the Duhawk lead to two. A late Central goal made it 3-2 with only two minutes remaining, but the Duhawks held on for the victory.
Loras was riding high going into their game against the crosstown rival University of Dubuque Spartans on Wednesday night in the Rock Bowl. Ten minutes in, Tom Fluegel sent a corner kick into the Spartans’ box. The low, line shot hit goalkeeper Riley Jenson in the hands and ended up in his own net to make it 1-0 Duhawks.
The early lead allowed for the Duhawks to set the pace for the game and they controlled the ball for most of the first half.
At the half, the shots were eleven to one in favor of the home team. In the second half, frustration got the best of one Spartan, as Dubuque’s Leo Lenth was ejected. With the Spartans already trailing, losing a man would seemingly discourage them, but the red card ignited the UD attack.
In the 60th minute, Dubuque’s Gonzalo Hernandez ripped a screamer off the crossbar, shaking the whole net in the process. The ball luckily bounced away and the Spartans were not able to even the score, and Loras held on for the victory. The Duhawks out-shot their opponent 22 to 4 and improved to 9-1-1 and 2-0 in conference.
“We were hoping to put more away against UD” said Duhawks head coach Dan Rothert. “But we will take the W. We’re still learning to play with injuries and still finding our chemistry.” This call for offense would be answered loud and clear by the Duhawks.
The home stand finished with a Saturday afternoon tilt against the Buena Vista Beavers. Even though the forecast called for chilly temperatures, the Duhawk offense came out red hot. Less than three minutes in, Mike Pizzello found the back of the net from just outside the penalty area. Just a few minutes later, Pizzello had another scoring opportunity, but this one was turned aside by Buena Vista goalkeeper Jordan Balster. He was unable to control it however, and first-year Spencer Moore corralled the rebound and sent home the second goal.
In the fifteenth, Tom Fluegel was taken down in the box and awarded a penalty kick. Junior Jorge Simon stepped up and put away the goal to make it 3-0. The offensive onslaught continued when Mike Pizzello chipped in his eighth goal of the season to make it 4-0 Duhawks at half.
With the game in hand, Coach Rothert chose to play some younger members of the varsity team to get some experience. In the 64th minute, sophomore Kyler Olsen sent a low cross in and junior Mike Gordon connected with his left foot to increase the lead to five. The final nail in the coffin came in the 85th minute off a boot by junior Sam Koenig. Sophomore Jonah Jacke controlled the ball and sent it home for the sixth and final goal of the game. The Duhawks dominated from the first whistle, out-shooting the Beavers 32 to 1. The win pushed Loras to 10-1-1 with a 3-0 conference record.
The Duhawks will now have some time off before they continue their conference schedule. They are slated to play Saturday in Indianola against the Simpson College Storm.