Abdel-Ahad produces hat trick, Bulldogs roll past DWU

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 1, 2022 in Men's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University Men’s Soccer team ensured that it would not have to sweat out a wire-to-wire game on Saturday (Oct. 1). A 1-1 halftime tie turned into a blowout victory for the Bulldogs, who sent Dakota Wesleyan packing, 6-1, in Seward. Dominic Abdel-Ahad went wild for a hat trick and Martin Herrera put forth a pair of goals. The team’s six goals represented a season high.

Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad had lived on the edge through the first four conference games, all of which were decided by one-goal margins. Concordia has pushed its record to 9-2 overall (4-1 GPAC).

“It took us doing the fundamentals well and being simple,” Weides said. “We overcomplicated the first part of this game. Credit to Dakota Wesleyan – they came out playing well and got a goal that we didn’t defend very well. Once we focused on the foundations of the game, we started to do some good stuff. Our combination play improved throughout the game. In the second half it was probably better combination play than we’ve had all season. Hopefully it’s a show of things to come.”

The visitors from Mitchell, S.D., held a 1-0 lead thanks to Igancio Iglesias’ goal in the eighth minute. The rest of the way, DWU had almost no scoring chances as it finished with three shots (two on goal). Abdel-Ahad found the equalizer in the 21st minute with his fourth goal of the season. He was just getting started.

Concordia finally enjoyed a breakout over the closing 45 minutes. Goals were put on the board by Schultz (51’), Herrera (73’ and 74’) and Abdel-Ahad (79’ and 90’). Down to the final whistle, the Bulldogs never stopped attacking. They produced season highs for not only goals, but also shots (29) and shots on goal (14). Herrera’s tenacity paid off in the form of a bullet of a strike for his first goal of the game. Assists were rewarded to Herrera, Jarrod Henson, Spencer Kaufman, Braden Spath and Adrian Wambua.

Those exploits made it easy to forget about the first half. “We had a rough start to the game,” Abdel-Ahad said. “We got down 1-0 pretty quick and then tied the game 1-1. At halftime, we said, ‘Hey, we need to respond. We need to score a lot of goals in the second half.’ Our last games were kind of close, so today we had to make a statement and I think we did that. I’m proud of the team.”

Weides is still looking for a complete performance. Said the 15th-year head coach, “We just have to continue to get better. I still don’t think we’ve put together a full 90. It’s something we have to find at some point. Hopefully we’re saving those for the last stretch of the season. We’re going to be challenged. We have to come out and perform each and every day.”

Federico Simonetti made the start in goal and saved one shot. He spent most of his 90 minutes watching his teammates attack. There were full Bulldogs who registered at least four shots. As for Abdel-Ahad, he was the first Concordia player to post a hat trick since Moises Jacobo in a 4-1 win at Dordt on Sept. 23, 2020.

The Bulldogs will take to the road on Wednesday for a trip to Morningside (3-5-3, 2-1-2 GPAC). Kickoff from Elwood Olsen Stadium in Sioux City, Iowa, is set for 8 p.m. CT. The two sides met twice last season with the Mustangs prevailing both times. The second matchup occurred in the quarterfinals of the GPAC tournament.