Program record broken in GPAC opening win

By Jake Knabel on Sep. 24, 2017 in Men's Soccer

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – As part of an extended stay in South Dakota, the Concordia University men’s soccer team continued to take care of business. In a game that had been scheduled to be played a day earlier, the Bulldogs blew out Dakota Wesleyan, 5-0, on Sunday. Due to inclement weather, the contest had been postponed and then moved to O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The long wait didn’t affect the play of 10th-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad. Concordia remained unbeaten at 7-0-1 and broke the program record for longest unbeaten streak to begin a season.

“We didn’t bring it up but I think guys are aware,” Weides said of the record. “We talked the other day about some goal setting and the guys had thrown out that they wanted the opportunity to breaks some records. That’s not our focus but if we do all of the little things right, we think we’ll have some opportunity to break some records along the way. Our focus is on doing the details right. It’s nice to know that we’re able to achieve more than what some good teams have done in the past.”

The 2017 team has made a habit of avenging defeats from last season. The Bulldogs did it again on Sunday, atoning for a 2-1 loss at Dakota Wesleyan in the final game of the 2016 regular season. Since that downer, Concordia’s only defeat came against last season’s national champion. Lewis Rathbone and company cut through the Tigers (3-6, 0-1 GPAC) by outshooting them, 19-3.

Marcelo Hernandez opened up the scoring with a goal in the 14th minute. Florian Caraballo then assisted on two of the next three first half goals, including one by Micah Lehenbauer and one by Rathbone. Caraballo set up one of Rathbone’s two goals with a fine hustle play in which he scurried to save the ball from going out of bounds. Rathbone knows what to do with the ball in dangerous spots. He now has seven goals over the past three games.

Rathbone deservedly gets plenty of credit and accolades for his work on the attack, but Weides says there is credit to go around.

“We had a lot of guys play today and everyone who stepped on the field did a really good job of keeping the level of play really high,” Weides said. “We were able to play everyone who came with us this weekend, which was really nice.”

Jack Bennett started in goal before eventually giving way to freshman Jacob Elam. Neither goalkeeper faced a shot on goal during a dominant defensive outing. Concordia has recorded four shutouts on the season.

Previously, the 1973 and 1974 teams shared the program record for longest unbeaten streaks to begin a campaign. Both of those squads remained undefeated through the first seven games of their seasons.

The Bulldogs will now return home for this week’s action. Mount Marty (3-2, 0-0 GPAC) will pay a visit to Bulldog Stadium on Tuesday (Sept. 26) for an 8 p.m. CT kickoff.