CRETE, Neb. – Jarrod Henson broke the tension with a motivating yet repetitive pregame speech, giving the team a laugh, before Concordia went on their Tiger hunt in the foggy surroundings of Al Papik Field. With Doane needing a big three points to be in contention for the final spot of the GPAC Tournament, the Bulldogs wreaked havoc in the attacking third finishing with a 5-1 victory. With this win, the 2023 men’s soccer team finished unbeaten with a 13-0-4 overall record and 7-0-4 in the conference. They are the first team to complete such a massive feat in the program’s 53-year history (1970).
Head coach Jason Weides commented on being the first unbeaten team in the program.
“It is special. That doesn’t happen very often. Even really good teams don’t stay undefeated. We have been around since 1970. So, 53 years we have never had that opportunity as a program, so it is great to be the first. These guys deserve it and they played really well. We are always trying to go further. We are always trying to build brick by brick from the team before us. This isn’t just this team and this year, it has been building for a while. It is awesome to see an amazing feat.”
Seven headers were exchanged in the Bulldogs half of the pitch before Ferdi Hagen used his feet, pushing a ball between two defenders to Michael Owens. Owens faked a shot with his right, bamboozling a sliding Tiger, then scored with his left for the early 5th minute goal. The Tigers would answer with a goal less than five minutes later, leaving no room to celebrate early.
Owens would put in another past the keeper in the 30th minute, making his second multi goal game in a row. The freshman has proved he has become more comfortable with the ball at his feet as the season has progressed.
Ryan Wokutch joined the fun, scoring on a forward pass by Kai Olbrich giving the Dawgs breathing room on the road. Six minutes later Matt Schultz banged a header past the keeper off a corner kick from Okan Erkocu. Schultz was asked about the undefeated record postgame.
“It’s amazing. These guys (pointing) mean family to me. We didn’t lose, but it is all because these guys right here. Whether on the field or off the field, everyone was involved. It means the world to me and these guys. Yea, school history.”
Up 4-1 already, Erkocu selfishly wanted some new pictures of him kicking in a goal as well. He took his solo act from 25 yards outside the box, moving left then right, avoiding defenders. Okan finally found some room and nailed a score past the keeper for his third score of the year.
The defense played rock solid, with many runs being cut off by Adrian Wambua and Braden Spath. They only allowed five shots, as the Bulldogs kicked a whopping 20.
Concordia finished the regular season 13-0-4 overall and 7-0-4 in the conference. The Bulldogs sit in second place in the GPAC table, but Northwestern has one match left versus Doane on Saturday (Oct. 28). If Red Raiders win, they will push CUNE down to third in the conference before the GPAC Tournament. The Dawgs won the tournament last year as a No. 2 seed.