It’s a narrative often discussed in collegiate sports, the idea that Homecoming week games are tougher for student-athletes to stay focused for.
Wartburg’s 15th-ranked men’s soccer team may have added some evidence Saturday night, struggling to a 1-1, double-overtime tie with Dubuque.
“I hate playing on Homecoming,” Wartburg (10-2-3, 4-0-1) head coach Kirk Artist said. “There’s so many distractions. There’s alumni back, there’s people back, there’s parties going on. I hate playing on Homecoming and I attribute (the tie) to that a little bit.”
Artist felt the team did not come ready to play in the first half. The Knights did find the back of the net, though, when Jonah Waldron headed a corner kick in front of goal to Dan Nadeau, who finished with his head in the 10th minute.
A foul whistled on Kevin Krueger led to Dubuque’s (5-6-3, 3-1-1) goal in the 21st minute. Goalkeeper Austin Boyke couldn’t see the ball behind the wall, and Brandon Wiley’s shot slipped by him to even the match.
Nadeau was tripped by Danny Daniels in the box and drew Wartburg’s first penalty of the season in the 40th minute, but Krueger’s penalty kick was well wide of the net.
“He takes our penalty kicks for us and will continue to do so. He just, obviously, had a mishap there,” Artist said.
Shots were nearly even in the opening 45 minutes, with the Knights holding a 9-7 advantage, before turning it up in the second half and overtime with a 21-6 favor.
“I thought we finished the game pretty well, but definitely, the first half was not good,” Artist said. “We knocked the ball around and just thought it was ours for the taking.”
Spartan goalkeeper Riley Jensen came up big with 11 saves. Three of those saves came in the final 7:11 of regulation and three more were in the second overtime period.
“I think we came into it thinking we had this one in the bag and anytime you do that, you’re gonna end up with a bad result,” Artist said. “It’s a lesson to be learned. It’s one that we continue to learn, but hopefully we can finish out the season well here.”
Boyke made seven saves for the Knights.
Five yellow cards were handed out. Each coach was booked, as were Krueger and Garret Grimsman of Wartburg and Dubuque’s Kahlin Gonzalez.
The Iowa Conference title is still up for grabs. No. 8 Loras’ 2-1 win over No. 17 Luther means the Knights will likely need a win over the Duhawks in Dubuque next Saturday to take the crown.
Buena Vista (0-5-0)
Saturday’s IIAC Scores
Central 2, Buena Vista 0
No. 8 Loras 2, No. 17 Luther 1
Simpson 7, Coe 0
No. 15 Wartburg 1, Dubuque 1 (2OT)