SEWARD, Neb. – The 2023 GPAC men’s soccer tournament kicked off on Wednesday night (Nov. 1), as the No. 3 seeded Concordia hosted No. 6 seeded Dordt. The Bulldogs were fully confident they could come back, down 1-0 at the end of the first half, but were unable to connect the shots past the keeper to give themselves a chance. The Defenders gathered five total shots in the match but three of them hit the back of the net, handing Concordia their first loss (3-0) of the season.
This moves the 2023 record to 13-1-4 overall. Head Coach Jason Weides commented on the loss to Dordt after the match.
“Soccer can be a really cruel game sometimes. Ultimately, I don’t think they had a lot of great chances, but they took those chances. We talked before the game about how important set plays were … and they scored on two set plays. Unfortunately, we were poor in those moments, and they capitalized and took advantage of it. The reality is, I’m proud of this team and nobody deserves to win more, but we were outplayed and outcoached today. Down 1-0, we felt like the game was still in our control. We had the same feeling after the second and third goals. We felt like we were going to write an amazing story here, but it just didn’t happen today.”
The Dawgs came out firing early, getting six corner kicks and two shots off in the first 22 minutes. As the offense slowed down a little, the visitors gained confidence after a header score in the 35th minute.
Up in shots (4-2) and corner kicks (6-2) after the break, Concordia felt they had a really good chance to find the equalizer, especially with the full support of the Concordia Bulldog football team.
The offenses seemed to stall out once more, as opposing defenses piled into the box. In the 63rd minute, Dordt’s Marco Laenen found his ninth goal of the season, breaking the game open for Dordt.
Fifteen minutes later, the Defenders scored a dagger, putting the visitors up 3-0 with only 22 minutes remaining. The Dawgs were unable to connect with each other, as Dordt’s defense stayed in the box to prevent a quarterfinal comeback.
With their GPAC tournament cut short, the Bulldogs will seek a national at-large bid after being ranked No. 18 in the NAIA national coaches’ poll. Having been ranked a majority of the season, they are one of three teams to finish their regular season unbeaten in the top 25. The selection show for the national tournament is on Monday (Nov. 13) at 1 p.m. CT.