ORANGE CITY, Iowa – In a clash between two teams separated by just a single point in the GPAC standings entering Saturday’s game, Northwestern (9-5-1, 5-1-1 GPAC) kept pace with Doane atop the conference. The Red Raiders cut down a hot Bulldog team that had won five of its previous six games. Concordia, which fell 2-0 on Saturday night, drops to 8-6 overall and 4-2 in league play.
“I didn’t think we bounced back (from the early deficit) as well as we normally do,” Bulldog head coach Jason Weides said. “We had chances in the first half, we just weren’t able to convert those chances. Both teams were a little sloppy. It was not the prettiest game, but credit goes to Northwestern. They had a couple of great chances and took them well.”
Concordia focused more numbers into the attacking end late in the game to produce some of its best goal scoring opportunities. Sophomore Gideon Soenksen hit the crossbar as part of a frantic sequence in the final minutes, during which the Red Raiders narrowly held onto the shutout.
Statistically, the Bulldogs competed evenly with Northwestern, who held slight advantages of 18-17 in shots and 9-8 in shots on goal.
“Northwestern’s a solid team,” Weides said. “They’re up at the top (of the GPAC) for a reason. That’s a team I think we would look forward to playing again this season. We are capable of playing at another level that we didn’t reach tonight.”
The Red Raiders got on the board in the 13th minute with an impressive goal from Travis Sytsma, who drilled a rocket into the back of the net from roughly 35 yards out. That near indefensible shot was the only score in the game until the 74th minute when Northwestern added a tally from Wesley Lockwood.
The victory gave the Red Raiders their fourth straight – all against GPAC opponents. Their only conference defeat came at the hands of Doane in a match played in Orange City.
Senior Nathan Douglas and junior Donal Landrum were most active on the Bulldog attack with each player firing four shots. Douglas had scored at least one goal in five of the past six games coming into play.
Junior goalkeeper Brendan Buchanan made seven saves for Concordia. His counterpart, Aaron Bosch, came up with eight saves in earning the shutout.
Saturday’s game marked the fifth time this season the Bulldogs have been shutout. Concordia has managed just one combined goal in its six losses.
The Bulldogs will be back in Seward next week for the final two home games of the regular season. Concordia hosts Midland (11-1-2, 4-0-2 GPAC) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and then Briar Cliff (5-8, 2-3 GPAC) next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s game has been tabbed senior day.