FREMONT, Neb. – Sure there have been some frustrating ties and hard-to-swallow overtime losses this season, but the Concordia University men’s soccer team is feeling pretty good about now. Following an impressive 2-0 win over Northwestern on Saturday, the Bulldogs finally got to taste an overtime victory by toppling Midland, 2-1, in Fremont, Neb., in two extra periods on Tuesday night.
The contest came to a conclusion when senior midfielder Chris DeFeyter beat three Warrior defenders and struck a shot from the right side, eluding goalkeeper Shazz Heale for the game winner in the 103rd minute.
“We’ve been in enough overtime games,” head coach Jason Weides said. “I almost forgot what the feeling is like to run on the field and celebrate an overtime win.”
Concordia has now played 12 overtime periods over six overtime games on the year. The Bulldogs had entered play with a record of 0-2-3 in such outings. With the win, they improved to 7-1-3 over their last 11 games, 8-4-3 overall and 4-1-2 in conference play, vaulting them to third in the league standings (one point out of second, two out of first).
After getting the better of play in the first half (8-7 shot advantage), Concordia seemed to lose momentum. Midland (7-7-1, 4-2-1 GPAC) equalized the Bulldogs’ 30th-minute goal roughly six-and-a-half minutes later and just missed its second goal on a few prime opportunities in the second half.
But a determined Concordia squad, led by stellar play in the back from junior Justin Lawrie, figured out a way to win an overtime game.
“Honestly, Midland played better than us for a good chunk of the second half,” Weides said. “They had some good chances. The second half and overtimes really became a grind. It was not pretty. I’m not sure it was the type of style that either team wants to play. Sometimes you have to be able to grind it out.”
In its bid to knock off Midland for the first time since Oct. 12, 2011, the Bulldogs gained the advantage on the road when junior Gideon Soenksen controlled a diagonal pass from junior Mark Anderson and deposited his team-leading sixth goal of the season.
While Soenksen (one goal in three-straight games), DeFeyter and junior Dean Stevens have busted loose of late in the goal-scoring department, Weides called Tuesday’s win a collective effort – much like the performance it took to shutout Northwestern three days earlier.
“They’ve stepped up,” Weides said of the goal-scoring trio. “We’ve got other guys who are also putting themselves in position. The goals are going to come from several different people. This was a great team effort. Everyone put in a great shift.”
Soenksen was active on the attacking end all night, putting up six shots (five on frame). The Bulldogs ended up with a slight 15-14 shot advantage over Midland for the game.
The Warriors’ lone goal came when Jeremy De Hoog got in behind the Concordia defense and drew a penalty in the box. De Hoog then nailed the penalty kick to answer Soenksen’s goal.
In goal, senior Brendan Buchanan played all 102:58 and made six saves.
The Bulldogs will play on the road for the second-straight time when they travel to Sioux City, Iowa, to take on Briar Cliff (6-8, 4-3 GPAC) at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday. Concordia has won each of the last four meetings with the Chargers. The Bulldogs won last year’s matchup by a score of 4-0 behind two goals and an assist from Nathan Douglas.