Head coach Jason Weides’ men’s soccer team began the 2012 season on Friday night much the way it started the 2011 season. The Bulldogs, who pounded William Penn 5-0 to open last year’s campaign, started 2012 off right with a 3-0 victory over William Penn of the NAIA’s Midwest Collegiate Conference on Friday in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
“We challenged them with a lot of pressure defensively and did it effectively,” Weides said. “We looked sharp doing it. You know it’s not always going to be pretty in your first game, but the effort and intensity was there. The young guys came out and really played well. I’m proud of the effort.”
Concordia got on top early with a goal by freshman Ben Walker after only 1:16 elapsed and cruised the rest of the way. Walker was set up by a long free kick that senior forward Aaron Skipworth skillfully headed to Walker, who promptly gave Concordia a 1-0 lead with his first collegiate goal.
Senior midfielder Tom Gass added the second goal from six yards out off a near post cross from freshman forward Dean Stevens in the 18th minute. The score remained 2-0 until a William Penn gaffe led to an own goal in the 54th minute to provide the final 3-0 margin.
Sophomore goalkeeper Brendan Buchanan and company stifled the William Penn attackers all night, as Buchanan recorded his first shutout as a Bulldog in the fourth start of his young career. Buchanan collected three saves on the night.
The youth movement was on full display on Friday as five freshmen started and another five saw time off the bench for the Bulldogs. Six-foot-6 freshman center back Sean Doran carried over his impressive play from fall practice and logged all 90 minutes, using his size and athleticism to win the ball in the back line and keep William Penn at bay.
The Bulldogs were a familiar foe for first-year Statesmen head coach Greg Jarosik, who coached GPAC rival Doane for the past five seasons. Concordia and Jarosik’s Tiger squad played to a 0-0 draw in a double overtime duel last season.
The Bulldogs continue play in Oskaloosa, Iowa, on Saturday when they challenge Ottawa (Kan.) at 3 p.m. Concordia will then look forward to its home opener on Sept. 1 versus William Woods (Mo.).