SEWARD, Neb. – A couple of late-night battles are on the docket this week as the Concordia University Men’s Soccer team looks to crack double digits in the win column early in October. The Bulldogs earned wins last week at Midland, 3-2, and at home over Dakota Wesleyan, 6-1. Concordia now sets its sights on Wednesday’s road trip to Morningside and then a home battle with Jamestown on Saturday. Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad stands at 9-2 overall and at 4-1 in the GPAC.
Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Morningside (3-5-3, 2-1-2 GPAC), 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 8 vs. Jamestown (2-8-1, 0-4-1 GPAC), 8 p.m.
By the numbers
· A strong upcoming stretch could have the Bulldogs pushing for votes in the NAIA national poll. Concordia is ranked No. 2 in the official GPAC ratings (posted on NAIA.org). In last week’s NAIA coaches’ poll, Hastings was the lone GPAC squad to receive votes. However, the first NAIA Men’s Soccer Modified Ratings Percentage Index (MRPI) released on Sept. 28 listed the Bulldogs at No. 27, putting them first among GPAC squads. The Broncos landed at No. 46. The next MRPI will be unveiled on Oct. 19. The MRPI is used as a tool to help the national tournament selection committee determine national qualifiers and seeds.
· As a program, Concordia dipped to seven wins last season. That broke a string of what had been 10 straight seasons with at least 10 victories. The 2022 Bulldogs are on the verge of making it 11 out of 12 years with at least that many triumphs. Since the start of the 2011 campaign, Weides has led the program to an overall record of 126-71-25. In 15 seasons at the helm of the program, Weides has collected 143 wins. That total places him as the program’s all-time winningest head coach.
· This season has been characterized by close calls that have largely gone in favor of Concordia. Of its first 11 games, eight have been decided by one-goal margins (the Bulldogs are 6-2 in those contests). The exceptions have been the 2-0 wins over both York College and Bethany College (Kan.) and last week’s 6-1 rout of Dakota Wesleyan. Following the 3-2 win at Midland on Sept. 28, Concordia was happy to have a game that wasn’t as tense in the closing minutes. The six goals scored versus Dakota Wesleyan represented a season high.
· The nine goals scored last week helped pad the overall season stats. Through 11 games in 2022, Concordia has outscored its opponents by a combined total of 25-12 and has outshot them, 130-79. Thanks to his hat trick versus Dakota Wesleyan, Dominic Abdel-Ahad doubled his team high season goal count to six (to go along with two assists). Three of his teammates have accumulated at least three goals: Carlos Orquiz (four), Ryan Wokutch (four) and Martin Herrera (three). Matt Schultz has pushed his team high assist total to four while Herrera, Orquiz and Isaiah Shaddick each have three assists. At keeper, Federico Simonetti has made five starts and Gabriel Mendoza has made four. Simonetti owns a 4-1 record while Mendoza is 4-0.
· A transfer from Northwest Nazarene University, Abdel-Ahad has started all 11 games so far this season. He turned in the program’s first hat trick since Moises Jacobo accomplished that feat in September 2020. Abdel-Aahad is one of five Concordia players to start all 11 games. The others are Iker Casanova, Orquiz, Shaddick and Adrian Wambua. Max Bisinger has started 10 games. At his previous school in Idaho, Abdel-Ahad played in 30 games, made 14 starts and contributed three goals.
Morningside has struggled to get results of late but remains a dangerous foe. The Mustangs went 12-7 overall in 2021 and placed fourth in the GPAC. Head Coach Tom Maxon’s squad owns a win this season over Bellevue University and drew with a Grand View University (Iowa) team that was ranked No. 24 at the time. Through 11 outings this season, Morningside has been outscored by its opponents, 18-13. The Mustangs handed Concordia two defeats last season, including one in the GPAC quarterfinals.
Jamestown is winless so far in conference play but has had several competitive games in the league – such as the 0-0 draw with Midland and losses by scores of 3-2 at Doane and 1-0 to Northwestern. This marks year two as head coach for Connor Campbell, who led the Jimmies to a GPAC tournament appearance in 2021. With 11 games in the books, Jamestown has been outscored on the season, 22-13.
The Bulldogs will have a bye in the middle of next week before hosting first place Hastings on Saturday, Oct. 15.