Regional soccer poll keeps Central at No. 2

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PELLA — On the verge of its first-ever conference title, the Central College men’s soccer team remains in the No. 2 spot of the United Soccer Coaches North Region rankings for another week.

Central (13-2-2) is 3-1-1 against other programs in the regional rankings. It has a 2-1 win at No. 1 Luther College, a 3-2 win against No. 3 Loras College and a 3-2 win at No. 5 Gustavus Adolphus College (3-2). The Dutch tied 2-2 against No. 8 Knox College (Ill.) and lost 2-1 on the road against No. 9 Carleton College (Minn.).

The only other team to have beaten Central, the University of Dubuque, is receiving votes to be included in the rankings.

Loras was No. 9 nationally at the time of the match and Luther was No. 8 nationally when the two teams squared off.

The Dutch were 2-0 last week, defeating Simpson College 2-1 and Coe College 1-0.

In the team’s 17 games, Central is outscoring opponents 35-18, led by freshmen Charlie Pritchard (forward, Ankeny) and Matthew West (midfielder, Pleasant Hill, Southeast Polk HS), who have eight goals apiece. Pritchard, senior defender Taylor Petkovich (Littleton, Colo., Heritage) and freshman midfielder Nick Ashton (Ankeny, Centennial HS) have five assists apiece.

Central closes out the regular season Tuesday at home against Buena Vista University. That match will start at noon from Pella’s A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex. With a victory, Central would claim the regular season American Rivers Conference title for the first time in program history.