ORANGE CITY, Iowa – One team’s jubilation is another team’s heartbreak when it comes to PK shootouts in the postseason. The Concordia University Men’s Soccer team found itself in the heartbreak category on Saturday (April 10) night in a tension-filled, drawn-out shootout. Finally, on the 10th round of PKs, fourth-seeded Northwestern celebrated an advancement to the GPAC semifinals while hosting the fifth-seeded Bulldogs. The two sides had played to a 0-0 draw in 110 minutes of action (two overtimes).
Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad concludes the 2020 campaign at 10-5-3 overall. Concordia knew it would be a challenge to repeat its 4-0 win from the fall over the Red Raiders.
“Despite the outcome we are proud of this team,” Weides said. “PKs are a tough way to decide a game and unfortunately we came out on the short end of it tonight. PKs are always dramatic but especially when both teams are converting them. It doesn't often come down to the 20th shooter. Normally when you make nine of the 10 you find yourself in a great situation. We played much closer to the style and ability we are capable of, minus seeing the ball hit the back of the net during regulation. The smallest of margins stopped us in the end. We feel confident about our chances had we been able to advance, but it wasn't the case this year. Wished we could have sent our seniors out on a better note but really proud of all of them, regardless of their role this year.”
Neither team could find the back of the net on a combined 22 shots that occurred in the first 110 minutes. So of course both sides were virtually automatic when it came down to putting away penalty kicks. Both squads drilled their first nine PK attempts before the door finally opened up for Northwestern. The Bulldogs missed on PK No. 10.
On the ensuing try, Red Raider keeper Ezekiel Foltz sailed his shot high over the net, but he was granted a retake by the official (due to the Concordia keeper having been judged to have left the line too early). Foltz then converted on his second chance, setting off a celebration for the home team. Northwestern went a perfect 10-for-10 in the shootout.
Concordia held a slight advantage in shots, 12-10, for the evening. Foltz made seven saves, including three on shots from Yessine Bessaïes, who notched two goals in last week’s win over Midland. Off the bench, Daniel Campbell also put two shots on frame for the Bulldogs. On Northwestern’s attacking end, Federico Simonetti made four saves to preserve the shutout. During the 20 minutes of overtime action, Concordia put one shot on frame.
The Red Raiders (11-5-1) went 8-1 to close the GPAC regular season after their loss at Bulldog Stadium on Sept. 26. Northwestern is moving on to the GPAC semifinals after falling in the quarterfinals in 2019.
This is the end of the line for the Bulldogs, who again reached the 10-win mark. Under Weides, the program has reached at least that win total in 10 straight seasons. This particular team navigated a campaign that was unlike any other in the program’s history. Concordia played four official games this spring. Five Bulldogs garnered all-conference accolades for their performances: Iker Casanova (second team), Moises Jacobo (second team), Carlos Orquiz (second team), Simonetti (second team) and Garrett Perry (honorable mention).