HASTINGS, Neb. – In a rematch of the 2015 GPAC tournament championship game that featured one of the high-powered Hastings attack versus Concordia’s stifling defense, the GPAC favorite prevailed. Ranked fourth nationally, the Broncos managed a 1-0 victory at Lloyd Wilson Field despite being held to fewer than two goals for the first time this season.
Under the direction of first-year head coach Aaron Champenoy, Hastings is off to a 10-0 start that includes a pair of GPAC victories. Meanwhile, ninth-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad now stands at 4-2-2 overall and 1-1 in league play.
“We’re not playing for a close game or moral victories, but there are more positives to take away from this game than negatives,” Weides said. “At the end of the day, we want to improve from game to game. I felt like we definitely improved from our last performance. Unfortunately, we fell a bit short.”
Concordia was not without its chances to equalize. Carlos Ferrer went upper 90 in the first half but was denied by Hastings keeper Joe White. In addition, Micah Lehenbauer missed wide left on a point-blank opportunity from inside the box promptly before the 65-minute mark. Then in the final minute, Hastings had to ward off a Marcelo Hernandez free kick from just outside the box and then a pair of Concordia corner kicks.
The contest’s only score came in the 53rd minute when Erik Tello notched his first goal of the season. He was an unlikely hero amongst a roster that includes the nation’s leading goal scorer, Daniel Whitehall. But on this night, Whitehall failed to add to his season goal count of 18. He missed on three shots, including two on goal. The Broncos ended the night with an 18-7 shot advantage. They came into play averaging more than three goals per game as a team.
“We followed the game plan defensively and were very organized,” Weides said. “Every player was committed to the defensive cause. We denied a lot of service into Whitehall. The only service he was getting was in the air.”
Up against the highest-ranked team on the schedule, Weides tightened up his use of substitutions while employing 13 players. Five of them took at least one shot. Marcelo Hernandez, who scored both Bulldog goals in the GPAC-opening win over Northwestern, was limited to two shots and none on frame.
Concordia had hoped to duplicate the upset it pulled off on Nov. 12, 2015, when it stunned Hastings with a 1-0 win in the GPAC championship game. That victory propelled the Bulldogs to the national tournament for the first time in program history.
The Bulldogs will be back on the road on Saturday when they head to Sioux City, Iowa, to take on Morningside (7-1-1, 1-1 GPAC). Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. from Elwood Olsen Stadium. On Wednesday evening the Mustangs toppled Briar Cliff, 3-1.