SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University men’s soccer team continues to meet every challenge placed in front of it. The unbeaten streak has grown to 10 games (9-0-1) with seven contests remaining in the 2017 regular season. Last week the Bulldogs claimed wins over Mount Marty and Bellevue University and remain one of six NAIA men’s soccer teams yet to suffer a defeat. Now they hope to keep the streak alive on the road.
This week’s schedule
Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Briar Cliff, 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 7 at Northwestern, 7:15 p.m.
Head coach Jason Weides’ squad moved up another notch to No. 2 in the official GPAC rankings released on Monday (Oct. 2). The bump in the conference poll could result in Concordia appearing among others receiving votes in the national poll for the first time since the close of the 2015 campaign. The Bulldogs have ramped up their level of dominance of late, posting four-straight shutouts while winning those games by a combined score of 17-0.
Concordia attackers feasted last week. Ranked eighth nationally with 11 goals, senior Lewis Rathbone has scored at least one goal in six games in a row. In the 6-0 victory over Mount Marty, senior Micah Lehenbauer recorded the first hat trick of his career. He added another goal in the 3-0 triumph over Bellevue, a team that began the receiving votes in NAIA coaches’ poll. From a defensive standpoint, Concordia ranks sixth nationally in terms of fewest goals allowed per game (0.6) behind junior goalkeeper Jack Bennett.
Typically airtight Bulldog defense will be put to the test by the nation’s leading goal scorer in Prichard Sibanda, who has found the back of the net 20 times. Spurred by Sibanda, Briar Cliff (8-2, 1-1 GPAC) ranks as the NAIA’s sixth most prolific scoring team (4.4 goals/game). The only two Chargers losses this season have been on the road – at Park University (Mo.) and at No. 9 Hastings. Briar Cliff is 5-0 at home.
Northwestern (6-4-2, 2-1 GPAC) has seen its season end in the GPAC quarterfinals while up against Concordia in both 2015 and 2016. This season, the Red Raiders have had their share of close calls against quality opponents, including a 1-1 tie with Benedictine College (Kan.), a 2-1 double overtime loss to No. 12 Baker University (Kan.) and a 2-1 loss to Midland. Northwestern’s Tyler Limmer has been a reliable goal scorer, netting 31 goals since the start of the 2015 season.
Bulldog Stadium will welcome Concordia back next week for home dates with Doane (Oct. 11) and Morningside (Oct. 14).