Bethany, GPAC opener on this week's docket

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 12, 2022 in Men's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – Similar to last week, the Concordia University Men’s Soccer team will play a game on Tuesday and Saturday. Fresh off wins over in-state foes York College and Bellevue University, the Bulldogs now look forward to hosting York on Tuesday and then traveling to Mount Marty on Saturday for the opening of conference play. Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad has put together a nice run in nonconference action and enters the week at 4-1 overall.

This Week

Tuesday, Sept. 13 vs. Bethany (2-2), 8 p.m.
--Live Webcast/Stats

Saturday, Sept. 17 at Mount Marty (4-0-1, 0-0 GPAC), 7:30 p.m.
--Live Webcast | Live Stats

By the numbers

·        Concordia has won four of its first five games for the second time in three seasons. The 2020 squad also started out 4-1 during an unusual campaign that was split between the fall and spring. The profile so far in 2022 includes wins over Northwest University (Wash.), 1-0, Tabor College (Kan.), 3-2, York, 2-0, and Bellevue, 1-0. The lone defeat came at the hands of Corban University (Ore.), who is now ranked No. 25 in the NAIA coaches’ poll. Bellevue had been ranked 12th in the NAIA preseason poll. Both Bellevue and Tabor were 2021 national qualifiers.

·        Weides now owns a record of 13-1 versus York during a head coaching tenure that began with the 2008 season. Only one season (2020) in Weides’ time leading the Bulldogs have they not played the nearby Panthers. In the latest matchup, Concordia got a goal apiece from Dominic Abdel-Ahad and Carter Hinman while holding advantages in shots, 11-9, and shots on goal, 8-2. Often, the uneven natural grass surface at Cornerstone Sports Complex in York lends to lower scoring affairs like the one played last week. In goal, Federico Simonetti played all 90 minutes, made one save and earned the shutout.

·        In the season’s home opener, the Bulldogs overcame their first half attacking struggles in the physical battle with Bellevue, a program that concluded the 2021 season ranked No. 12 nationally. Concordia generated just one shot over the first 45 minutes before ramping things up in the second half (nine shots). A foul in the box in the 83rd minute paved the way for Carlos Orquiz’s game-winning PK goal. Simonetti started at keeper again and made six saves. For the most part, the Bulldogs kept their composure all the while the Bruins (2-4-1) were issued eight yellow cards.

·        The success in close games is a good sign for Concordia, which too frequently ended up on the wrong side of one-goal decisions in 2021. Last season, all five losses suffered to GPAC opponents (including the conference tournament quarterfinal game at Morningside) came by the margin of a single goal. So far this season, the Bulldogs are 3-1 in one-goal games. Only the York win was decided by more than one goal. The win over Tabor wound up as a tight win after Concordia had built a 3-0 lead.

·        Through five games, Concordia has outscored its foes by a combined total of 7-3 and has notched three shutouts. Abdel-Ahad and Orquiz share the team lead with two goals apiece while one goal each has been totaled by Hinman, Miguel Navarro and Ryan Wokutch. Isaiah Shaddick paces the team with two assists. Additionally, the Bulldogs have produced an average of 10.0 shots per game while opponents have averaged 8.4 shots per game.

The opponents

Bethany will enter Tuesday’s game in Seward at 2-2 overall. The Swedes earned a 3-1 home win over Doane this past weekend despite being outshot, 13-5. Bethany is attempting to bounce back from a 5-12 campaign (1-11 in the KCAC) in 2021. The team’s top goal scorer this season has been Josh Amador, who turned in a hat trick in a win over Kansas Christian College and has produced five goals in 2022. Concordia and Bethany last met in 2014 when the Bulldogs came out on top, 1-0, in Seward.

Entering the week, Mount Marty has yet to lose this season. The improved Lancers throttled Trinity Bible College, 10-0, this past weekend. Head Coach Oliver Tieleman was named to his post this past spring and looks to build upon the upward trajectory of the program in recent years. As recently as 2017, Mount Marty went 0-9 in conference play. Last season, the Lancers went 6-9-1 overall (4-7 GPAC). One of the losses came by a 2-0 score at Concordia.

Next week

Conference play will heat up with a trip to Dordt on Sept. 21 and then a home matchup with Northwestern on Sept. 24.