2022 GPAC men's soccer quarterfinal preview: Concordia vs. Briar Cliff

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 31, 2022 in Men's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – After playing on the road in the GPAC quarterfinals in each of the past three seasons, the Concordia University Men’s Soccer team has earned the right to host a GPAC postseason match. The second-seeded Bulldogs are gearing up to welcome seventh-seeded Briar Cliff to Seward for Thursday’s quarterfinal clash beginning at 4 p.m. CT. This will mark the fourth GPAC postseason game the Concordia program has hosted during Head Coach Jason Weides’ 15-year tenure. The Bulldogs finished the regular season at 13-2-2 overall (8-1-2 GPAC).

This Week

GPAC Quarterfinals: Thursday, Nov. 3 vs. Briar Cliff (5-7-6, 3-3-5 GPAC), 4 p.m.
--Live Webcast/Stats
--Admission: $10 for adults/senior citizens, $3 for K-12; only those with NAIA passes and GPAC student ID’s are admitted free of charge.

By the numbers

·        Previous home GPAC tournament games for Concordia under Weides occurred in 2016, 2017 and 2018. In each instance, the Bulldogs advanced to the conference semifinals. In quarterfinal home matchups, Concordia defeated Northwestern, 2-1, in 2016, edged Briar Cliff, 1-0, in 2017 and then advanced on penalty kicks past Midland in 2018 (following a 1-1 draw). That ’18 season is the most recent year that the Bulldogs have reached the GPAC semifinals. During the 2015 through 2017 campaigns, Weides took Concordia to three straight GPAC championship games (all at Hastings). The Bulldogs celebrated a 1-0 upset of the 19th-ranked Broncos in the ’15 title game and qualified for the national tournament.

·        By any measure, this has been one of the best seasons in the history of the program. The 13 overall wins rank second in school history behind only the 2017 team that went 16-3-1 overall. Additionally, the current squad is now the program record holder for most conference victories in a season and its second place regular season finish equals a program best during the GPAC era. The previous standard for conference wins in a season had been seven set by the 2017 and 2020 editions. Other accomplishments for the ’22 Bulldogs include an active nine-game unbeaten streak (7-0-2) and an unblemished home record (7-0-1). That one home tie came against Hastings.

·        Carlos Orquiz’s placement of the ball, on set pieces in particular, has been a significant factor in Concordia’s offensive success. Orquiz racked up four assists in the 9-0 win at Presentation on Oct. 22 and added one versus Doane in last week’s 2-1 victory. Those two games doubled his season assist total to 10. That number has tied Marcelo Hernandez (2017) for the most assists in a single season in school history. In addition, Orquiz now owns the program career assist record with 19, surpassing the previous standard of 18 by Carlos Ferrer (2016-19). A fifth-year member of the program, Orquiz (Chihuahua, Mexico) has also totaled 16 goals in 86 career games at Concordia.

·        Dominic Abdel-Ahad has pushed his team high season goal count to 11, representing the most in a season for a Bulldog since Micah Lehenbauer and Lewis Rathbone both scored 12 goals in 2017. The school record for goals in a season is 17 by Ken VanDerripe in 1982. During the GPAC era (2000-present), the most goals scored by a Concordia individual was 15 from Arturo Vega in 2007. The program’s all-time career goals leader remains Nathan Douglas, who put away 43 goals from 2010 through 2013. As a team this season, Concordia has outscored its opponents, 46-16, and has outshot them, 235-126.

·        Ranked No. 32 in the NAIA Men’s Soccer Modified Ratings Percentage Index (MRPI) released on Oct. 19, the Bulldogs may have an argument for an at-large national tournament bid. Of course, Concordia would prefer to make it easy on itself and secure one of the league’s two automatic berths. In order to do so, the Bulldogs need to win the GPAC tournament or have Hastings win the conference tournament. The Broncos have locked up an automatic bid thanks to winning the GPAC regular season championship. If Hastings also wins the postseason title, the second auto bid would go to Concordia as the GPAC’s second place team in the regular season. The 2015 Bulldogs remain the only squad in program history to play at the national tournament.

The opponent

Briar Cliff will visit Concordia for a second time this fall after having made the trip on Oct. 19. The matchup on that date resulted in a 1-0 Bulldog victory thanks to the 83rd-minute goal from Victor Meneses. Concordia had a significant advantage in the shot count, 20-8. The Chargers fell back to the No. 7 seed in the GPAC in 2022 after sharing the 2021 regular season title with Northwestern. Head Coach Teren Schuster’s squad closed the regular season by defeating Jamestown, 2-0. On the season, Briar Cliff has been outscored by its opponents, 31-24. The team has been paced in the goal department by Vinicius Gregorio and Nicolas Karlsen with four apiece. The Charger program made its first ever national tournament appearance in 2020.

GPAC tournament pairings

Quarterfinals – Thursday, Nov. 3
(8) Mount Marty at (1) Hastings, 7 p.m.
(5) Midland at (4) Northwestern, 7 p.m.
(6) Morningside at (3) Dordt, 5 p.m.
(7) Briar Cliff at (2) Concordia, 4 p.m.

Semifinals – Tuesday, Nov. 8
1/8 winner vs. 4/5 winner, time TBA
2/7 winner vs. 3/6 winner, time TBA

Championship – Friday, Nov. 11
Highest remaining seed hosts, time TBA