Lehenbauer strikes for hat trick as unbeaten streak reaches nine

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 26, 2017 in Men's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – An improved Mount Marty squad entered Bulldog Stadium with a solid 3-2 start, attempting to cool off a Concordia University men’s soccer team off to a historically impressive start. The Lancers were unable to handle the attacking pressure placed upon them and were yet another Bulldog victim. Tuesday’s chilly affair ended in a 6-0 score.

The program record unbeaten streak has extended to nine. Tenth-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad is now 8-0-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play. Concordia had just one day between league games after opening GPAC action with a 5-0 win over Dakota Wesleyan on Sunday.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had that before,” Weides said of the stretch of two league games in three days. “It’s something unique, but I think our guys responded really well. We had a lighter practice yesterday but still got some things accomplished. It makes preparation a little harder when you have such a short turnaround. The guys felt prepared and responded well to it.”

The shot count (32-6) reflected the one-sided tilt. The Lancers actually did a commendable job of keeping the ball out of the net in the opening half. However, the Bulldogs turned on an all-out assault over the first 15 minutes of the second half. During a splurge of three scores in less than three minutes, Micah Lehenbauer tacked on his second goal of the night, top goal scorer Lewis Rathbone made sure to join the fun and Toby Down drilled a penalty kick.

The second half started to resemble something of a scrimmage after Lehenbauer sewed up a hat trick. Before coming off at the 72-minute mark, Lehenbauer narrowly missed a fourth goal with a strike that loudly crashed into the left post.

“It’s definitely been a fun one. It’s about time I get my first hat trick,” Lehenbauer said. “I felt like it was definitely coming eventually.” Joked Lehenbauer, “I learned a lot from Lewis with all his scoring. I took some notes off what he’s been doing. Overall it was just a good team performance. We try to focus on the little things.”

Though Concordia has ramped up its goal scoring in its two GPAC outings, Weides would have you know that his team is getting terrific play from players in a variety of roles. The Bulldogs have recorded three shutouts in a row. There’s a collective pride in what has happened through nine games.

“It means a lot to go without a loss this far into the season,” Lehenbauer said. “It’s kind of like I said at the beginning of the season. We want to be that team of firsts. It’s really something special. At the same time, we know every game we’ve got work to do. We’re just focusing on the next one.”

The game’s first goal came from Lehenbauer off an assist from Marcelo Hernandez in the fifth minute. Thirty-one minutes later, Hernandez was set up by Lehenbauer for a goal that made it 2-0. In goal for Concordia, keepers Jack Bennett and Jacob Elam made two saves apiece as part of the shutout.

The Bulldogs will be back at home on Saturday to host their final nonconference game of the regular season. Bellevue (4-5-1) will serve as the opponent for a game set to kickoff at 3:30 p.m. CT from Bulldog Stadium. Concordia hopes to avenge a 4-1 loss at Bellevue last season.