SEWARD, Neb. – It’s back to two games this week following a weekend draw at Hastings. The Concordia University Men’s Soccer has three matches left in the regular season to make a move as it relates to GPAC postseason seeding. Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad is getting set to play at Briar Cliff on Wednesday before hosting Presentation on Saturday. A group of six seniors will be honored prior to Saturday’s primetime kickoff.
Wednesday, Oct. 20 at Briar Cliff (9-5, 7-1 GPAC), 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 23 vs. Presentation (2-9, 1-7 GPAC), 8 p.m.
At 4-3-1 in GPAC play (6-6-2 overall), the Bulldogs may need to win each of their final three games for a shot at a home game in the GPAC quarterfinals (top four seeds host). Concordia currently sits in fifth place with its 13 points ranking behind Northwestern (24), Briar Cliff (21), Hastings (19) and Morningside (18). In the only outing of last week, the Bulldogs and Broncos played to a 3-3 tie in a back-and-forth, physical battle. Concordia goals came from Yessine Bessaïes (17’), Ryan Wokutch (41’) and Martin Herrera (80’). The Bulldogs led at halftime, 2-1.
Concordia has put behind the attacking frustrations that plagued it during most of September when it scored six goals over eight games (went 2-5-1). Since the calendar flipped to October, the Bulldogs have piled up 13 goals over a four-game stretch while going 2-1-1 with wins over Dakota Wesleyan and Jamestown. The three goals allowed at Hastings equaled a season high for opponents. Overall this season, Concordia has outscored its opponents by a combined total of 27-18. Three players are tied for the team goal scoring lead: Bessaïes, Garrett Perry and Isaiah Shaddick – with four apiece.
As part of senior day festivities on Saturday, the program will honor six seniors:
· #7 Yessine Bessaïes (Bordeaux, France)
· #29 Daniel Campbell (Bellevue, Neb.)
· #27 Caleb Goldsmith (Lincoln, Neb.)
· #1 Callum Goldsmith (Sevenoaks, England)
· #20 Decker Mattimoe (Cheyenne, Wyo.)
· #6 Carlos Orquiz (Chihuahua, Mexico)
It should be noted that the online roster reflects remaining athletic eligibility (in other words, the academic seniors are listed as juniors). Some academic seniors may choose to return in 2022. As for those who have been in the program for four years, they have contributed to a combined record of 36-22-11 since the start of the 2018 season. Last season, Carlos Orquiz earned Second Team All-GPAC accolades. Not only tied for the team lead in goals, Bessaïes paces the Bulldogs with five assists.
The defending GPAC tournament champion, Briar Cliff is hoping to make another run to the national tournament. The Chargers have gotten on a roll within conference play, winning five conference games in a row, including the last two in overtime – 2-1 over Hastings and 4-3 at then No. 23 Morningside. The team’s top goal scorer has been Sebastian Justiniano, who has found the back of the net eight times. Briar Cliff has outnumbered its foes in the goal count, 33-22, this fall. Concordia and Briar Cliff played to a 1-1 draw in Seward last season.
Presentation is coming off its first GPAC win of the season. The Saints defeated Dordt, 4-2, this past Saturday. Prior to that victory, Presentation had gone 0-39 in conference games since joining the GPAC beginning with the 2018 season. Before venturing to Seward on Saturday, the Saints will be at No. 21 Northwestern on Wednesday. In three wins over Presentation over the past three years, the Bulldogs have outscored the Saints, 21-1. The Saints own a nonconference win over Avila University (Mo.).
Concordia will close the regular season by playing at Doane on Oct. 27. Dates for the GPAC tournament are Nov. 3 for the quarterfinals, Nov. 6 for the semifinals and Nov. 11 for the championship game.