Road slate to continue with trip to Tabor

By Jacob Knabel on Aug. 30, 2022 in Men's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – After a little rest and recovery following the flight out to Oregon, the Concordia University Men’s Soccer team looks forward to a shorter road trip. The Bulldogs are preparing to take on Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Tabor College at Joel H. Wiens Stadium in Hillsboro, Kan., on Saturday. The late-night kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. CT. It will be a rematch of the 2021 clash that took place in Seward. Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad is 1-1 with a win over Northwest University (Wash.).

This Week

Saturday, Sept. 3 at Tabor (1-1), 8:30 p.m.
--Live Webcast
--Tickets: purchase on site

By the numbers

·        In a unique opportunity, Concordia made its way out to Salem, Ore., for the start of the 2022 season. While in the Pacific Northwest, the Bulldogs played two Cascade Collegiate Conference opponents that both reached 10 wins in 2021. Concordia edged Northwest, 1-0, on Aug. 25 before falling by that same score on Aug. 27 to the event host, Corban University. The first Bulldog goal of the season was delivered by Paola, Kan., native Ryan Wokutch, who scored in the 70th minute of the victory. In goal, Federico Simonetti made three saves and was named the GPAC Defensive Player of the Week. Concordia held a 12-4 advantage in the shot category versus Northwest before being outshot, 12-4, by Corban.

·        Nine field players started both games in Oregon: Dominic Abdel-Ahad, Max Bisinger, Iker Casanova, Jarrod Henson, Martin Herrera, Carter Hinman, Carlos Orquiz, Isaiah Shaddick and Adrian Wambua. Of those nine, seven are returning players. The two newcomers are Abdel-Ahad (a transfer from Northwest Nazarene University) and Wambua, a freshman from Nairobi, Kenya. In addition, returners Matt Schultz and Braden Spath made one start apiece last week. Four Bulldogs have now been in the program for five or more years: Daniel Campbell, Callum Goldsmith, Orquiz and Joao Pedro Verissimo.

·        Close games are nothing new for many Bulldogs on the current roster. Out of the team’s 18 games played last season, 11 were either decided by one-goal margins or ended in draws. Concordia went 1-7-3 in those games in 2021. Turning that record around will obviously be a key in 2022. The Bulldogs are also attempting to ramp up their goal scoring after totaling 35 goals (compared to 22 by their opponents) in 2021.

·        Weides is looking for goal scorers to emerge this fall. Wokutch is a candidate to help in that regard. He put away four goals in 2021 and was impressive in preseason training. The Paola High School alum has tallied nine career goals. He put three shots on frame during last week’s action (most on the team). The next most active Concordia player, in terms of shots, was Carter Hinman with three. Shots were at a premium last week with there being a total of 27 combined in the two Bulldog games.

·        Weides had hinted that it was likely Concordia would play more than one keeper this season. That thought has already come true with Simonetti and Goldsmith getting one start apiece last week in Oregon. According to Weides, this is the deepest the program has ever been in at the position. The likes of Nolan Fuelberth and Gabe Mendoza could also see time in goal moving forward. Simonetti possesses the most experience having started 21 games as a Bulldog.

The opponent

Tabor rebounded from its 4-0 loss at Concordia last season and finished the year at 12-8-1 overall while qualifying for the opening round of the national tournament. The Bluejays have already picked up a quality win this season having just defeated Briar Cliff, 1-0, this past weekend. Tabor returns its top goal scorer from last season in Sam Butler, who tallied 11 goals last season. Head Coach Grant Brubacher is in his 16th season leading his alma mater. He has won more than 100 games at the helm of the Bluejays.

Next week

Two more nonconference games are coming up next week as the Bulldogs will play at York College on Sept. 6 before welcoming No. 12 Bellevue to Bulldog Stadium on Sept. 10. That contest will mark Concordia’s first home appearance of 2022.