Hernandez stars in GPAC-opening win

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 24, 2016 in Men's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – The floodgates opened up for Marcelo Hernandez on Saturday afternoon as the Concordia University men’s soccer team began conference play with a victory. Hernandez’s overtime goal lifted the Bulldogs to a 2-1 win over visiting Northwestern inside Bulldog Stadium.

Including last year’s conference tournament, ninth-year head coach Jason Weides’ program owns an active seven-game unbeaten streak against GPAC opponents. The Bulldogs are now 4-1-2 overall and have surrendered a grand total of four goals all season.

“It was really nice to see us get one in overtime. The last couple years we’ve been in a lot of overtimes,” Weides said. “We don’t lose many of those, but we’ve tied a lot of those. It’s really good to be on the winning side.

“We had an opportunity to put it away. Northwestern snuck one in on us and tied it up. Our guys responded well.”

Concordia surrendered an 86th-minute equalizing goal to Hartrick Tarr, but responded appropriately in overtime. In a superb individual effort, Hernandez warded off a defender and tucked the ball just inside the left post for the golden goal with 8:36 showing on the clock.

It was just a matter of time before Hernandez began putting goals on the board. He entered the contest with one goal on the season, but has dazzled with technical flair up top. On Saturday he was a primary reason why Concordia held off the Red Raiders.

“It was a relief,” Hernandez said. “I tried shooting and shooting. It wasn’t going in. Finally the ball went in.”

The Bulldogs played stellar defensively save for the lone breakdown late in regulation. Northwestern mustered only six shots the entire afternoon.

Hernandez’s goals were assisted by Carlos Ferrer and Florian Caraballo. Coming off a two-goal game in Monday’s draw at Nebraska Wesleyan, Micah Lehenbauer took a team high five shots. The Bulldogs outshot the Red Raiders, 16-6.

Saturday’s contest was a rematch of a 2015 GPAC quarterfinal contest. Concordia knocked Northwestern out of postseason play with a 1-0 victory in Orange City, Iowa.

In a rematch of last year’s GPAC tournament championship game, the Bulldogs will play at No. 5 Hastings (9-0, 1-0 GPAC) on Wednesday. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. CT from Lloyd Wilson Field. Concordia triumphed by a 1-0 score in last season’s title tilt in Hastings.