Concordia defeats Doane, earns GPAC semifinal date at No. 11 Hastings

By on Nov. 6, 2014 in Men's Soccer

Concordia defeats Doane, earns GPAC semifinal date at No. 11 Hastings

CRETE, Neb. – A competitive game was to be expected in a rivalry that had seen eight of the previous 10 meetings go to overtime. In another heated and evenly-matched contest, the Concordia University men’s soccer team got past neighbor Doane, 1-0, in Crete on Thursday night to advance to the semifinals of the GPAC tournament.

The fifth-seeded Bulldogs moved to 10-5-4 overall, marking the fourth-consecutive season of 10 wins or more for seventh-year head coach Jason Weides’ program. Concordia is heading to the semifinals for the first time since Weides donned a Bulldog jersey in the early 2000s.

Concordia will play at No. 11 Hastings (GPAC champion) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in a semifinal tilt.

“It’s been way too long,” Weides said. “We’ve had teams that were good enough to move past the first round. We just didn’t perform in key moments. I thought our team tonight was well-prepared. They practiced well all week. It’s big for our program.”

Senior goalkeeper Brendan Buchanan and the Bulldogs survived Doane’s late push on the way to notching their eighth shutout of the season. The host and fourth-seeded Tigers (6-9-2) moved the ball forward into their attacking end in the final minute and produced two shots that were thwarted by Concordia’s backline. Buchanan was then able to milk several seconds before a goal kick with the final minute ticking away.

The game’s lone goal came in the 39th minute when sophomore Marcos Leon of Sonora, Mexico, found the back of the net for the second time this season. Leon gave great minutes in the midfield along with several others who helped make the shutout a reality.

“First off, Brendan played well as he has all season,” Weides said. “He came up with some big saves in critical moments. When you get to this stage you need your goalkeeper to get at least one save that he’s not supposed to make. I thought Brendan did that.

“I also thought our backline did a great job. Doane has some dangerous players and some quick players. The backline and the goalkeeper tend to get credit for shutouts, but I thought we played well top to bottom.”

The competitiveness of Thursday’s game was reflected in the stat sheet that showed a slight 17-15 shot advantage for Doane. Concordia had three corner kicks to the Tigers’ two.

The Bulldogs nearly gave themselves some extra cushion when sophomore Carlos Acosta’s shot hit the crossbar with roughly five minutes remaining in the game. Junior Gideon Soenksen (four shots) and freshman Toby Down (four shots) also tested the Tiger defenders on several occasions.

Buchanan made a pair of saves on the night in picking up his seventh shutout of the season. That number puts him one off the program single-season record of eight shutouts by Oly Krenk in 2000. Chris Podlich also posted seven shutouts in 2011.

Now 42-27-7 over the past four seasons, Concordia is one of four GPAC teams to post at least 10 wins in four-consecutive seasons.

In a regular-season meeting on Oct. 29, then No. 12 Hastings won, 2-0, over Concordia in Seward. The game went scoreless until Tyler Ortlieb’s 67th-minute goal. During the regular season, the Broncos (15-2-2) blazed to a 9-0-1 league mark that included eight shutouts and just two total goals allowed.

“It will be a great challenge,” Weides said of Tuesday’s trip. “They’re a really great team and have accomplished a lot over the last several years. The expectation every year is that all roads lead through Hastings. You know that if you want to get to where you hope to go, you have to beat Hastings. We’re going to have to do it in the semifinals.”