MITCHELL, S.D. – The Concordia University men’s soccer team had hoped to enter postseason play on a high note, but it will be forced to quickly push the reset button. The Bulldogs failed to find the back of the net on six shots and dropped a 1-0 Saturday (Nov. 2) evening matchup at Dakota Wesleyan. Concordia was coming off a 3-0 home win over Doane.
Twelfth-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad settled for a 10-5-2 overall record (5-4-2 GPAC) at the close of regular-season action. With 17 league points, the Bulldogs have placed sixth in the GPAC.
“It was one of those frustrating ones where we didn’t have a lot of opportunities,” Weides said. “We certainly had some later in the game. We were aggressive in trying to equalize and just couldn’t seem to find the back of the net. We had a really good chance that went off the crossbar. I really thought we were going to get it and push it to overtime.”
Concordia was up against a Tigers squad that already knew its season would end on Saturday. Their simple motivation may have been to keep the Bulldogs from moving up a peg in the final GPAC standings. Dakota Wesleyan (3-10-3, 2-8-1 GPAC) notched the game’s lone goal right at the 32-minute mark off a free kick. Weides felt like his team could have and maybe should have prevented Joel Sanchez’s goal that occurred at that time.
Eduardo Alba returned at goalkeeper after missing time due to injury. Alba was credited with five saves, including a crucial one in a one-on-one situation just before halftime. His denial of the Tiger shot kept the Bulldogs within a goal at the break.
Only three Concordia players mustered a shot – Daniel Campbell, David Carrasco and Matthew Ho each took two shots. Campbell landed one on goal. The goal-scoring drought that had plagued the Bulldogs prior to the win over Doane reappeared on Saturday. Dakota Wesleyan finished with a 12-6 advantage in the shot count.
Now Concordia plans to refocus for the GPAC tournament. Some reinforcements may be on the way for a program that has reached at least the GPAC semifinals in five-straight years.
“We definitely have to recollect ourselves for the playoffs,” Weides said. “The good news is we hope to have several guys back who have been out. We’ll have a challenge of putting a team together after some of them have been out.”
The Bulldogs will open up postseason play with the GPAC quarterfinals on Wednesday (Nov. 6). Unofficially, Concordia will be the sixth seed and play at third-seeded Hastings (13-3-2, 9-2 GPAC), which is in an unfamiliar position after failing to win the conference regular-season title for the first time in GPAC history.