SEWARD, Neb. – The Bulldogs had Wednesday night’s contest circled on their calendars as soon as the 2012 schedule was released. GPAC powerhouse Hastings, defending champion and 2011 national runner-up, came into the game at Bulldog Stadium seemingly more vulnerable than years past, already sporting four losses on the season. However, visiting No. 23 Hastings (5-4, 2-0 GPAC) secured the 2-1 victory in overtime with a Dru Kobs goal six minutes into the extra stanza.
“We were looking forward to it all season,” sophomore midfielder Kevin Soenksen said. “This is the one, but we’ll get them another time.”
Kevin Soenksen’s goal in the 70th minute off the assist from his brother Gideon Soenksen had broken a scoreless tie and intensified an already animated Concordia crowd, hoping to see the Bulldogs defeat Hastings for the first time since 1998. But the Broncos had other ideas and tied the score in the 79th minute after Jordan Green was taken down in the 18-yard box. Green then capitalized on a penalty kick.
Green’s goal came on the heels of a flurry of action near the Concordia goal in the 78th minute when Hastings players expressed disbelief when officials ruled the ball had not crossed the goal. The Bulldogs (6-3, 0-2 GPAC) survived the attack, but continued to allow more Bronco offensive chances.
Concordia sophomore defender Daniel Moore had an opportunity late in the game when a teammate’s corner kick found Moore near the right post. Moore’s header was promptly denied by goalkeeper Alex Guyer, marking the last clean look for the Bulldogs, who fell in their first overtime game of 2012.
“It was just a really energetic atmosphere,” Concordia head coach Jason Weides said. “Both teams expended a lot of energy tonight, especially going into overtime. I couldn’t be more proud of the effort. Our guys fought hard. There was a lot of passion and intensity, and it was one of those physical games.”
The intensity of the rivalry was clear on the stat sheet as the two squads combined for eight yellow cards and 35 fouls. The Bulldogs, whose 10-game home winning streak was snapped in the loss, played with the energy of a team determined to beat one of the nation’s elite programs.
“It’s been too long,” said Weides of the team’s losing streak versus Hastings. “We’ve come close a few times. Obviously really, we were knocking on the door (tonight). We had the lead there in the second half, just weren’t able to quite hold it. It’s definitely a painful one.
“I think it will be fuel for the rest of the season.”
Hastings, which suffered only two defeats the entire 2011 season, fell to ranked opponents in three of its first four losses. The Broncos only win against a Top 25 squad came on Sept. 7 when they squeaked by then No. 20 Grand View (Iowa) 1-0.
Hastings ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time of last year’s game, defeated Concordia 3-0 in Hastings on Sept. 28 in the most recent meeting.
Concordia will remain at home on Saturday when Dakota Wesleyan (2-7, 1-1 GPAC) visits Seward for a 2:30 p.m. battle. The Tigers won a double overtime thriller, 3-2, over Mount Marty on Tuesday.