Meneses plays role of hero as Bulldogs eke out 1-0 Victor-y

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 20, 2022 in Men's Soccer

VIDEO: Victor Meneses game-winning goal

SEWARD, Neb. – A contest that appeared headed for a draw concluded with a feel-good moment for the Concordia University Men’s Soccer team. In his first action in nearly a month, Victor Meneses emerged as the hero as the Bulldogs celebrated a 1-0 home win over Briar Cliff on Wednesday (Oct. 19). It took nearly 83 minutes for that magic to come to fruition. For most of the night, Concordia was kept at bay while taking its chances from outside of prime attacking areas.

The win meant a lot in terms of the Bulldogs’ hopes of locking up the No. 2 seed for the GPAC tournament. Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad now has 20 league points (11-2-2, 6-1-2 GPAC), one more than third place Dordt.

“It was fun,” Weides said. “I think it was a good effort. Credit to Briar Cliff too. They played well. Ultimately, they defended really well. We had the lion’s share of possession throughout the game, but Briar Cliff was doing a really good job to limit the quality chances we had. We kept on fighting, kept on believing and were able to find one. We get it from a guy Victor who helped us get the victory. He’s missed some time this year and missed all of last year because of injury. He was looking like one of our top players.”

A native of Petropolis, Brazil, Meneses sat out the previous four games. When the opportunity came on Wednesday, Menses capitalized. His goal with just over seven minutes left on the clock was set up by a ball volleyed into the box by Isaiah Shaddick. After it glanced off the head off a Briar Cliff defender, Meneses played one touch and then gathered himself in the process of launching a rocket past one defender and then the Charger keeper. It was Meneses’ first goal of 2022 and his first since the 2020 season.

While being interviewed after the game, Meneses was interrupted by teammate João Pedro Veríssimo, who simply wanted to say how much Meneses deserved this moment. Said Meneses, “It was a very special moment for me, especially because I’ve been facing a lot of injuries since I came to Concordia. I just thank my teammates and coaches for the support, and my family and God, to be able to have this opportunity.”

The shot total was lopsided in favor of the Bulldogs, 20-8. Plenty of Concordia players were active on the attacking end, including the likes of Martin Herrera, Carlos Orquiz and Shaddick. Meanwhile, keeper Gabriel Mendoza made six saves as part of the clean sheet. His record at keeper improved to 5-0-1 this season while helped by a back line starring Max Bisinger and Adrian Wambua, among others.

Not everything went exactly as planned, but the game still finished in a memorable way that helps signify what a special season it has been. Weides felt his team came back strong emotionally after the 1-1 draw with first place Hastings this past week. On the other hand, the 2021 co-GPAC champion Chargers slipped to 4-7-5 overall (2-3-4 GPAC).

Said Weides, “It was fun to see not only our team get that moment where we score and win the game, but it’s really fun to see someone who’s gone through some challenges come back and score such an important goal. I thought our team fought hard and played well. We just struggled to find that first goal to break through.”

The longest road trip within conference play this season is coming up this weekend as the Bulldogs will be headed to Aberdeen, S.D., home to Presentation (2-11-1, 0-9 GPAC). The two sides are slated to kick off at 3 p.m. CT from Saint Soccer Field. Concordia has gone 4-0 versus the Saints since they became a GPAC member beginning with the 2018 season.