Game Preview: Road trip to Northwestern awaits in GPAC quarterfinals

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 7, 2021 in Men's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – A potential postseason run for Concordia University Men’s Soccer team will have to begin with a positive result on the road. As the No. 5 seed in the GPAC, the Bulldogs will be headed to Orange City, Iowa, on Saturday for a matchup with fourth-seeded Northwestern in the conference tournament quarterfinals. The Red Raiders finished with one conference point more than the Bulldogs (24-23) in the final regular season standings.

GPAC Quarterfinal Game Info

Concordia (10-5-2, 7-2-2) at Northwestern (11-5, 8-3)
Saturday, April 10 | 7 p.m. CT
NWC Soccer Complex | Orange City, Iowa
Webcast: Red Raiders All-Access
Live Stats: Dakstats
 --Admission: $10 for adults/senior citizens, $3 for K-12; only those with NAIA passes and GPAC student ID’s will be admitted free of charge.

Fan policy: Fans are allowed to attend Saturday’s game. Fans are encouraged to bring their own seating and to use the west sideline to physical distance from others.

By the numbers

·        Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad has played three nonconference games this spring in preparation for the GPAC playoffs. The results have included a 2-0 loss at Benedictine College (Kan.) on March 20, a 2-1 loss at No. 5 Missouri Valley College on March 27 and a 4-2 home win over Midland on April 2. Prior to the restart this spring, Concordia had not played since its 5-1 win at Presentation on Nov. 21.

·        The win over Midland marked the 10th of the season for the Bulldogs. That means the program has extended its streak of consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins to 10 (2011 through 2020). During that stretch, Weides has led Concordia to an overall record of 110-61-21. Weides is the winningest coach in program history with 127 career victories.

·        In last week’s win over Midland, the Bulldogs got a pair of goals from Yessine Bessaïes and one apiece from Victor Meneses and Isaiah Shaddick. Through 17 games this season, Concordia has outscored its opponents by a combined total of 41-23. Shaddick has now taken over the team goals lead with six. He’s one of 13 different Bulldogs to find the back of the net this season. Six Concordia players have contributed four or more goals.

·        This will mark the second season in a row that the Bulldogs have gone on the road for the GPAC quarterfinals. Concordia had a tough drew in 2019 when it lost at Hastings in the quarterfinal round. That defeat broke a string of five-straight years reaching at least the GPAC semifinals. Weides’ program experienced a breakthrough in 2015 when it won the GPAC final in an upset of Hastings. The Bulldogs proceeded to reach the championship game in 2016 and 2017 (finishing as the runner up both times).

·        It would have been hard to predict that Concordia would finish behind Northwestern in the conference standings after the two sides played back on Sept. 26. The result was a 4-0 Bulldog win in Seward. Garrett Perry turned in a hat trick and Federico Simonetti earned the shutout in goal. However, the shot count was fairly even at 12-10 in favor of Concordia.

The opponent
Following the aforementioned loss at Concordia, Northwestern closed the fall portion of the season by going 8-1 in its final nine GPAC games. That stretch vaulted the Red Raiders into position to host a GPAC tournament game. Head Coach Dan Swier’s squad has outscored its opponents by a combined total of 30-23 on the season. The title of team’s top goal scorer is shared by James Bolger and Juan Mackrey, who have both put away seven goals on the season. In the spring part of the campaign, Northwestern is 1-2 with a win over Clarke University (Iowa) and defeats coming at the hands of William Penn University (Iowa) and Viterbo University (Wis.).

GPAC tournament schedule
Quarterfinals – April 10
(8) Dakota Wesleyan at (1) Morningside, 1 p.m.
(5) Concordia at (4) Northwestern, 7 p.m.
(6) Jamestown at (3) Hastings, 1 p.m.
(7) Doane at (2) Briar Cliff, 1 p.m.
Semifinals – April 13 / Championship – April 16

The Concordia/Northwestern winner will advance to the semifinals and play either top-seeded Morningside or eighth-seeded Dakota Wesleyan.