Dawgs hold off Doane, clinch GPAC's No. 2 seed

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 27, 2022 in Men's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – It’s rarely been an easy task when the Concordia University Men’s Soccer program has met up with rival Doane. In the latest installment of the series, the visiting Tigers struck first before the Bulldogs responded and gritted it out, 2-1, inside Bulldog Stadium. The win on Wednesday (Oct. 27) capped the regular season for Concordia, which is enjoying one of the finest seasons in program history. Prior to kickoff, six Bulldog seniors were honored.

Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad can relax in the clubhouse this weekend with a 13-2-2 overall record (8-1-2 GPAC). Concordia will be the No. 2 seed in the GPAC tournament that begins next week.

“We knew what opportunity was in our hands and we didn’t want to waste it,” Weides said. “We could win and lock up second, so that was pretty important for us. Not many teams here have a chance to remain undefeated at home throughout the regular season. That was something we wanted to accomplish and give our seniors a chance to ring the bell for the last regular season game.

“We talked at halftime just about giving full efforts. We weren’t quite there. I don’t think we were lazy in the first half, we just didn’t give the full effort as a complete unit this game needed … I don’t know what it is about Doane – they do seem to have our number.”

It seems the records just don’t matter when these sides get together. While the Bulldogs sought to lock up second place, the Tigers (2-13-2, 2-6-2 GPAC) sorely needed the victory for their hopes of reaching the postseason. They played like it was the postseason in taking Concordia wire-to-wire for 90 minutes. Doane held a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute when Cesar Gonzalez found the back of the net.

That advantage lasted for less than two-and-a-half minutes as Max Bisinger headed in a corner from Carlos Orquiz at the 17-minute mark. The Chihuahua, Mexico, native Orquiz continues to place the ball in dangerous spots off set pieces and leads the GPAC with 10 assists this season. The 1-1 stalemate lasted until Dominic Abdel-Ahad polished off a well-executed through ball from Isiaha Shaddick in the 60th minute. Abdel-Ahad ran his team high season goal count to 11.

For the most part, the Bulldogs had control of the match. They ruled the shot count, 15-5. Credit goes to Doane keeper Hunter Pitt for making a diving save that prevented Concordia from extending the lead to 3-1 in the second half. The Bulldogs used a goalkeeper duo of Gabriel Mendoza and Federico Simonetti to get the job done.

It wasn’t always pretty on Wednesday, but Concordia just finds ways to win. Said senior Isaiah Shaddick, “It meant the world to us (to seal the No. 2 seed). Back in August, we came together and set team goals, and this is the goal we set. Now it’s onto the next game. We’ve got to focus up. It’s do-or-die from here on out. Our motto has been ‘family’ all year and I feel like we’ve kept to that.”

The 13 overall wins for the 2022 Bulldogs represent the second most in a season in program history (behind only the 16-win ’17 squad). Concordia also now owns a nine-game unbeaten streak (7-0-2) and is 7-0-1 at home this season. That unblemished home mark will be put to the test at least one more time this fall. The six seniors recognized on Wednesday were Max Bisinger, Victor Meneses, Eduardo Rojas, Matt Schultz, Isaiah Shaddick and Federico Simonetti.

As the No. 2 seed in the GPAC tournament, the Bulldogs will host the seventh seed (to be determined) at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday, Nov. 3 in the quarterfinal round. With a win, Concordia would also earn the right host in the semifinals on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Complete pairings will be announced on Saturday after all GPAC regular season games have been played.