FREMONT, Neb. – Thursday’s GPAC quarterfinal between Concordia and Midland saw the defenses dominate for the bulk of the afternoon. The host Warriors (11-5-2, 8-2 GPAC) got an Andy Jones goal in the 12th minute and never looked back on the way to a 2-0 victory over the Bulldogs in Fremont.
“It was a good competitive, physical match,” Concordia head coach Jason Weides said of the aggressive play on both sides.
For the second-straight year, the Bulldogs’ season comes to an end at the hands of Midland, which defeated Concordia 3-1 in the GPAC quarterfinals in 2011. The Warriors will attempt to get back to the GPAC Championship game after falling 4-1 to Hastings last year in the title contest.
Jones and teammate Daniel McGowin were the only players to score on Thursday. Jones finished off a play that began with a free kick and involved assists awarded to both McGowin and Jason Wong. The next score came roughly 69 minutes later when McGowin deposited the ball into the net on a penalty kick to put Midland well on its way to the next round.
“Our spirits were still good coming into the second half,” said Weides, whose team trailed 1-0 at the break. “We were disappointed we couldn’t do more after a good first half. We tried to make a couple adjustments going into the second half. We just couldn’t get that first goal.”
The Bulldogs (11-8, 4-6 GPAC) struggled again on the attack after scoring just one goal combined in their previous two games. According to Weides, one of the team’s best opportunities on Thursday came when freshman Ben Walker played a cross from the left wing to a Concordia striker who was bothered just enough by the Midland defender to force an errant shot.
On the day, the Warriors (winners of four straight) tallied 10 shots (four on goal) to the Bulldogs’ nine (three on goal). Junior Nathan Douglas had the most opportunities for Concordia with three shots and one on goal that Midland keeper Lewis Wilcox denied. Wilcox picked up the shutout after playing all 90 minutes in goal.
The Bulldogs have now won exactly 11 games in back-to-back seasons, marking one of the most successful two-year runs in Concordia soccer history. The Bulldogs are 22-13-3 over the past two seasons. The school record for most wins in a season is 12, a feat that was accomplished by the 2000 Bulldog squad that included Weides as a player.
Concordia will say goodbye to senior forward Aaron Skipworth, who finishes his career in a tie for No. 1 on the school’s all-time goals list (31) and alone atop Concordia’s assists chart (17), and six other seniors. However, with the return of several freshmen who saw significant time and top goal scorer Nathan Douglas (11 goals), the Bulldogs are positioned for another solid season in 2013.
“We certainly haven’t thought too much about next year yet,” Weides said. “Right now it stings a bit. I’m just proud of the seniors that we will be losing. This senior class has given so much to us. We’re really going to miss them. That’s where our focus is right now.”