FREMONT, Neb. – The Concordia University men’s soccer team felt like it let one get away last week at Jamestown. Not this time. In a renewal of their rivalry with nearby Midland, the Bulldogs actually notched the game’s first goal and then added a late one for good measure. Concordia emerged from a late Wednesday night (Oct. 24) in Fremont with a 3-1 victory.
The win keeps 11th-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad right in the hunt for a top-four seed in the GPAC tournament that begins next week. The Bulldogs have moved to 9-4-3 overall and to 5-2-3 in conference play (currently tied for fifth).
“It was a solid performance,” Weides said. “I thought the guys defended well. Midland has a very narrow field so you know you’re going to have to defend a lot of set plays and throw-ins. We absorbed a lot of pressure with how Midland played very directly. Each and every time we seemed to stand up to the challenge. We did quite well defensively.”
The first 20 minutes or so may have been a bit rough on the eyes from an attacking standpoint, but Concordia eventually settled in. It helped that it limited the Warriors to just a single shot during a scoreless first half. Then 12 minutes into the second half, the Bulldogs cracked the scoreboard with a goal by Carlos Ferrer that drew rave reviews from Weides. Ferrer knocked it home off a volley from Derek Eitzmann.
But it could never just be that easy. Robert Wiseman brought Midland even with a goal less than four minutes later. Concordia pressed back down on the accelerator. A ball that ping-ponged around the box in the 66th minute trickled into the goal. Credit was given to Carlos Orquiz. The Bulldogs had to sweat out a one-goal lead until the 87th minute. A free kick into the box found the noggin of Evan Hayden, who headed the ball to David Carrasco, who then tapped the ball in from six yards out.
Those goals stood up on a night when both teams managed only eight shots apiece. When the dust settled, Weides called it a good “top-to-bottom” performance. It kept Midland (9-8, 6-4 GPAC) reeling with its third loss in a row.
Perhaps it’s the beginning of a patented late season run for Weides’ crew. Said Weides, “We’ve been really close in a lot of situations. Though we have a decent record, we’re still better than our record shows. We are taking steps closer to what we’re capable of. I still think we’re capable of shutting good teams out. Ultimately, if we’re going to accomplish our goal, we’re going to have to have some clean sheets.”
Since a 2-0 loss to fourth-ranked Hastings on Oct. 3, Concordia has gone 4-0-2 in conference play. A win in the regular-season finale would guarantee the opportunity to host in the conference quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs will conclude the regular season on Saturday when Briar Cliff (9-5-2, 6-2-1 GPAC) comes to town for a 3:30 p.m. CT kickoff. It will be senior day for Concordia, which will honor a senior group that includes past All-GPAC honorees such as Angel Alvarez and Jack Bennett. The Chargers currently possess one more conference point (19-18) than Concordia.