SEWARD, Neb. – Playing at home for the first time since Aug. 30, the Concordia University men’s soccer team got past a Waldorf College squad much more dangerous than their 1-6 record indicated entering Tuesday’s contest. The Bulldogs rode a 54th-minute header from junior Sean Doran and their third shutout of the season to a 1-0 win over the visiting Warriors.
Seventh-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad is now 3-0-1 over its last four games and 4-3-1 overall this season.
“Overall I thought we played really well,” Weides said. “Waldorf is a high-energy team that battles hard for 90 minutes. It doesn’t make it easy at all. At times I thought we played really well. Some of our best combination play happened throughout this game. We just couldn’t quite get that final pass or shot off to put it in the back of the net, but I thought we created some decent chances and held possession well.”
While everyone else seemed to be stuck in quicksand, Doran reacted quickly off Gideon Soenksen’s penalty kick that was saved by Warrior goalkeeper Erubey Ponce shortly after halftime. The rebound kicked up into the air allowing Doran, all by himself, to get underneath the ball and head it inside the left post for his first goal of the season and eighth of his career. Soenksen set up the goal by drawing a foul in the box.
The final 25 to 30 minutes brought some tense moments as the Warriors produced more of their chances during this time frame. When under fire, Buchanan answered the call. He made seven saves to earn his third shutout of the season and seventh of his career.
For much of the evening, Buchanan was kept clean by the stellar work of the likes of sophomore defender Mark Campbell and sophomore holding midfielder Marcos Leon, among others.
“I think we did a really good job of team pressing,” Buchanan said. “We defended really well and that made my job easy. From the front to the back I think we were really organized and played well as a team.”
Concordia created chances in its effort to take a first-half lead. Most promising among those opportunities was a 26th-minute attack by Soenksen in which he split a pair of defenders for a one-on-one shot at the keeper. Waldorf’s Erubey Ponce denied Soenksen by lunging forward into the shot. Soenksen finished with five shots to lead the Bulldogs. As a team, Concordia fired 15 shots, one fewer than Waldorf.
Tuesday’s effort was another step in the right direction for a Bulldog team that has responded impressively after dropping three games by a single goal prior to its current run of four-straight games without a loss.
“I think we’ve started to turn the corner,” Weides said. “I think we see progress. Our guys had a good mental attitude despite some of the tough challenges. We found ourselves in difficult situations with overtime games. We’re really close to having a much better record. I’m really pleased with our resiliency.”
Waldorf, a member of the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference, got its only win of the season when it defeated Mount Mercy College by a 5-2 score on Sept. 2. Mount Mercy has won six in a row since and is 8-1 overall.
The Bulldogs return to conference action on Saturday when they host Morningside (3-5, 0-1 GPAC) at 1:30 p.m. Concordia will look for a similar result as last season when it defeated the Mustangs 5-1 in Sioux City, Iowa.
Concordia welcomes elementary club team: The Belmont Elementary Soccer Club team attended Tuesday night’s game inside Bulldog Stadium. The elementary students had the opportunity to walk out with the team during introductions and also get photos and autographs from the Bulldogs after the game.
“That was a pretty cool experience,” Buchanan said. “You see a lot of that on TV in pro games with walking out with the kids. It’s a great experience for us but I think it’s really cool for the kids. Hopefully we made their time enjoyable. It was a lot of fun for us to interact with the kids.”