SEWARD, Neb. – The opening 45 minutes went as scripted for the Concordia University Men’s Soccer team as it opened the 2021 campaign on a muggy night inside Bulldog Stadium on Wednesday (Aug. 25). Lincoln Southwest High School alum Isaiah Shaddick got on the board twice in the first 20 minutes while making for a mostly anticlimactic affair. Concordia built a 4-0 lead and ultimately came with a 4-2 win over visiting York College.
Now beginning year 14 as Head Coach, Jason Weides has led the Bulldog program to a record of 12-1 in the past 13 meetings versus York, a neighbor situated roughly 30 miles to the west. Weides saw this contest as a bit of a mixed bag, but it’s a start.
“It’s about you expect the first time out,” Weides said. “It’s not going to be perfect – it’s never perfect – but you’re likely to make a few more mistakes in your first game. It’s likely to show you a lot of things to improve upon. I think we saw that tonight. It really was the tale of two halves. We were up 4-0 and really controlling the play and doing some really good things in the first half. Second half, they were the better team … There were some really good things that happened too.”
Weides would like to see the advantage in possession turn into more attacking chances, but he’ll never complain about a four-goal first half. Shaddick got loose in the 17th and 19th minutes for his 11th and 12th career goals, respectively. Then in the latter stages of the half, Max Bisinger struck for his first goal as a Bulldog and the fifth-year veteran Garrett Perry added a goal in the 36th minute. From that point forward, Concordia was stifled on the attack.
Opponents surely will want to watch out for No. 14. Dating back to last season, Shaddick has posted six goals over the past six games. He is one of several Bulldogs with the capability of racking up a big number in the season goal column.
“It feels nice to come out here and set the tone early,” Shaddick said. “I couldn’t do it without my teammates of course. We’ve been working hard all preseason so it’s good to see the hard work paying off as a unit … We have a lot of dangerous weapons up top. I think any day we can have a guy go out and score two goals or a hat trick. We all have to go out with the mindset of being aggressive and capitalizing on the chances we have in front of the goal.”
To be sure, the lineups and combinations on the field will vary as the season goes on and more Bulldogs come available. The starting 11 on Wednesday included newcomers in the form of Bisinger, Martin Herrera and Eli Rhodes. Weides used 19 total players in the opener. Concordia entered the season with 17 players on the roster who had started for the Bulldogs.
The Panthers (1-1), who opened their season with an overtime win over Doane, got a goal apiece from Alexandre Motta and Reinaldo Kickhofel. The finally tally came in the 78th minute. Although it was too little, too late, York left with something it can build on.
Concordia will focus on internal improvement heading into the weekend. Said Weides, “Early on in the season there’s so little scouting information about our opponents … We’ll watch the film and focus on the things we need to improve upon. We just have to create more chances.”
The Bulldogs will remain at home and host Tabor College (Kan.) at 3:30 p.m. CT on Saturday. Like York, Tabor is a member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.