FREMONT, Neb. – Four of five October games have now come down to a margin of a single goal for the Concordia University men’s soccer team. It just keeps finding ways to win. Despite surrendering an equalizing goal with two ticks left in regulation, the Bulldogs celebrated a walk-off, double overtime winner, 2-1, at Midland on Wednesday evening (Oct. 18).
The win means 10th-year head coach Jason Weides’ program has checked off another accomplishment. At 13-1-1 overall, the 2017 squad has broken a school record for most wins in a single season. Now 6-1 in conference play, Concordia also remains in the hunt for a GPAC regular-season title.
“The hope is that they can keep on pushing and add to that (win total),” Weides said. “I don’t think we’re satisfied with stopping there. There have been some good teams that they surpassed to take that record. It’s great for them. We’ve been waiting a while to break that record. There have been other teams in the last 10 years that were capable of breaking that record. This team has done a really good job. It’s not our ultimate goal though.”
The euphoria the Warriors (8-6, 4-2 GPAC) experienced after Connor McFadden’s goal just before the gun eventually turned into agony. The first overtime faded away, setting the stage for Micah Lehenbauer’s heroics. Lewis Rathbone assisted Lehenbauer on the golden goal in the 104th minute. The celebration was on.
Heedum Field in Fremont has been the site of other great moments for the program. It’s the same place where Concordia has left with GPAC semifinal wins each of the last two years. Another team effort got it done on Wednesday.
“We were awfully close to seeing the game out in regulation,” Weides said. “I’m most proud of the response. It was a challenging moment to concede an equalizing goal with two seconds left. I think a lot of lesser teams fold and make excuses. Our guys did a good job of looking forward.”
Senior Marcelo Hernandez knocked in the game’s first goal in the 78th minute. It was one of three shots Hernandez put on frame. On the defensive end, the Bulldogs got another solid effort from the back line and keeper Jack Bennett, who came up with several critical saves. He was credited with six saves on the night.
Midland outnumbered Concordia in the shot count, 18-12 (9-7 Bulldog advantage in shots on goal). The Warriors began 2017 ranked 13th in the NAIA preseason coaches’ poll after qualifying for the national tournament last season. The seven saves from Jack Hughes helped the Warriors nearly salvage a draw.
The Bulldogs will be on the road for their second-to-last outing of the regular season. They are slated to take on Dordt (8-8, 2-5 GPAC) at 3:15 p.m. CT in Sioux Center, Iowa, on Saturday. The Defenders picked up a 7-1 win at Mount Marty on Wednesday. In last season’s meeting, Concordia topped Dordt, 3-0, in Sioux Center.
As it stands, only No. 8 Hastings (12-3, 6-0 GPAC) holds an edge over the Bulldogs in the conference standings (both teams have 18 points). Northwestern (6-1 GPAC) is tied for second with Concordia. The Broncos and Bulldogs will meet in Seward next Wednesday (Oct. 25).