FREMONT, Neb. – For the first time in GPAC history, the Concordia men’s soccer team will advance to the GPAC Championship match. After 110 minutes of scoreless play at (RV) Midland, the Bulldogs and Warriors turned to a penalty kick shootout. Keeper Mark Horsburgh knocked in the game winning PK for the Bulldogs.
Head coach Jason Weides said, “It was a really exciting game. Overall I’m just really proud of the team. I thought we showed great support. Everybody on the team, whether they played or not, was a part of this win. I was really excited to see the fans, you would have thought this was a home game for us. Bulldog nation came out in force. We heard from a lot of people before the game, whether it was texts, phone calls, emails or Facebook messages, we could feel the support from Bulldog nation, it was huge tonight.”
After the first scoreless 110 minutes of the contest, the shootout commenced. Midland was up first and scored in the form of Ali Sodal. Julian Amaya answered back and made his PK. After another successful Midland PK, Mark Campbell also found success. Then a pair of misses came from the Warriors and Bulldogs. Sean Doran’s kick was saved by the MU keeper. Midland was up again followed by Lewis Rathbone for Concordia, both with a good PK. After the Warriors missed their next shot, Horsburgh was able to knock one in, advancing the Bulldogs to the final round of the GPAC Tournament.
“Ultimately, PK’s are something we’ve been working on a lot recently,” Weides noted. “We knew they could step up in that moment. That moment is really about being strong enough to deal with the idea of missing. We have a lot of guys on our team that are strong enough to deal with missing. I feel with that attitude, it takes away a lot of the pressure and fear…On the fifth one, Sparky (Horsburgh) stepped up. He has made every PK since he’s been here whether it be in training or practice and we were confident he could take it home. He was confident in stopping them, too. Every single PK Midland had, Sparky went the right way whether he got the save or not.”
Concordia outshot Midland 21-20 while MU had the edge in shots on goal, 11-7. CUNE led in corner kicks 10-6.
Keeper for the Bulldogs, Horsburgh, caught up 11 saves in addition to the game winning shootout goal. Cesar Valverde filled the net for the Warriors and grabbed seven saves.
“For us, there’s a lot of excitement to go on to a GPAC final,” said Weides. “It’s a good win against a good team. Midland is a good team, they finished second in our conference. It’s a tough way to end a season and fortunately we were able to move on.”
The Bulldogs, now 10-6-3 on the season will face No. 19 Hastings College. The Broncos are 14-3-3 this year after defeating Doane, 4-1 in the conference semifinal in Hastings. The championship match will take place on Thursday, Nov. 12 in Hastings, Neb. at 7 p.m.
Previously this season, the Bulldogs suffered a defeat from the Broncos, falling 1-3 in Hastings. Freshman Angel Alvarez scored the goal for Concordia while Horsburgh racked up six saves.
On the upcoming matchup Weides said, “They’re a good team. I think that ultimately what we need in that game is to press really well as a team and take the chances we get. This team is really believing in each other and we’re more unified than we have been. I’ll take our chances against any team in the nation. I think we’ll get the best of Hastings.”