NORTH NEWTON, Kan. – There would be no hangover for the Concordia University men’s soccer team, which had to move on from a 1-0 defeat that featured a dramatic conclusion versus Graceland University two days earlier. In Labor Day action, the Bulldogs took care of business with a 2-0 victory over Bethel College (Kan.) in the first road trip of the 2016 season.
Ninth-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad is now off to a 2-1 start. The latest outing was far from a thing of beauty, but it got the job done.
“I think they had the right mentality overall,” Weides said. “We just didn’t play with the urgency we needed to in the first half. I think the first half was 11 individuals playing instead of us playing as a team. The second half we combined a lot more and really moved the ball quick. When we played quickly, one-two touch combination play we looked really well.”
The scoring opened up on Monday with a goal from junior Lewis Rathbone, who nearly forced an overtime session in the loss to Graceland with a highlight-reel bicycle kick goal that was ruled to have come just after the horn sounded. This time it counted for Rathbone. The England native registered his third career goal as a Bulldog in the 15th minute.
Concordia found more breathing room early in the second half when Tyler Jensen got on the board in the 53rd minute with his first goal of the year and eighth of his career. It was plenty enough against a Thresher squad that managed only seven shots and is now 0-3 overall.
Despite retooling its entire backline, the Bulldogs have been airtight through three games, having surrendered just a single goal this season. Senior goalkeeper Mark Horsburgh, a big reason why Concordia ran through the 2015 GPAC tournament without allowing a goal, earned another shutout by making three saves on Monday. Two of those stopes came in the second half, making Weides and company sweat out the nonconference win.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game in the world, but we got the win,” Weides said. “Now we move onto the next.”
Carlos Ferrer, Hernandez and Rathbone each were credited with three shots apiece. Hernandez’s shot off the post set up Rathbone’s goal. Concordia ended up with 16 shots, including 11 on goal. Thresher keeper Kobi Russum made nine saves.
The Bulldogs return to action this weekend with a pair of neutral matches that will take place on the Hastings College campus. Concordia will take on Lyon College (Ark.) (2-2) at 1 p.m. on Friday and then Georgia Gwinnett (3-0-1) at 5 p.m. on Saturday.