Concordia University jumped out to a quick lead and picked up a big 4-1 men’s soccer win over Dordt College on Saturday afternoon at Bulldog Stadium. It was the GPAC-opening game for both teams. The Bulldogs won their third straight to move to 6-1-1 overall and 1-0 in GPAC play. Concordia also improved to 4-0 at home so far this year. Dordt College, who received votes in last week’s NAIA Top 25 Poll, dropped its first game of the season to fall to 7-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play.
The Bulldogs grabbed momentum and took control of the game early in the first half. Concordia scored three goals in the first 20 minutes, and defensive pressure kept Dordt College from getting anything going. Tim Soenksen (Lincoln, Neb.) scored off a corner kick to put the Bulldogs in front just three minutes into the contest. Aaron Skipworth (Colorado Springs, Colo.) added to the Bulldog lead with a goal in the 12th minute. It was Skipworth’s fifth goal of the season. Ian Euler (Lincoln, Neb.) added a goal in the 19th minute to increase the lead to 3-0. Skipworth had the assist on Euler’s goal.
“Our guys were ready to play right from the beginning,” remarked Jason Weides, head coach of the Bulldogs. “They were excited to start conference play against some quality competition. We wanted to show that we’ve improved, and we did that today. We looked really sharp in the attack, especially in the first 20 minutes.”
Following the tremendous start, Concordia struggled down the stretch in the first half. Dordt College scored in the 33rd minute to cut Concordia’s lead to two at 3-1. Brady Van Holland had the goal for the Defenders, and Concordia took a 3-1 lead into halftime.
“We didn’t want to be satisfied with half a performance,” said Weides. “We played so well early on, but we didn’t finish the first half as well. We addressed it at halftime. We can sometimes win games by putting in half a performance, but we can’t win championships that way. If we want to be where we can be, we need to be consistent.”
The score remained the same until late in the second half. Concordia’s Nick Esser (Lincoln, Neb.) used his speed to get past several Dordt College players. Esser found Kolt O’Kelly (Littleton, Colo.) wide open in front of the net, and O’Kelly scored for the final score of 4-1.
“We have the ability to score from all areas of the field,” added Weides. “We don’t rely on just one guy. We’ve been very dynamic in our attack, and we’ve been able to create goals in a lot of ways."
Concordia held a 19-9 shot advantage in the contest. Dordt College finished with just two shots on goal. Chris Podlich (Brisbane, Aus.) made just one save but earned the win in net for the Bulldogs. Brian Verwolf made three saves and allowed the four goals in a losing effort for Dordt College.
The Bulldogs now travel to Hastings College on September 28 for a key GPAC contest against the Broncos. Hastings College is coming off a National Championship season in 2010, and the Broncos are again ranked No. 1 in the NAIA Top 25 Poll. Coach Weides discussed the early season matchup.
“Today meant a lot to us in terms of confidence,” said Weides. “Dordt came in on a roll with an undefeated record, and Hastings College is obviously off to a tremendous start as well. Our team doesn’t fear anyone. We’ve shown we have depth, and we’ll have to utilize that depth as we move through the conference season, especially against a team like Hastings.”