SEWARD, Neb. – On a night when the Concordia University men’s soccer team honored its four seniors, the Bulldogs got a pair of second-half goals on the way to a 2-0 blanking of visiting Northwestern (10-4-1, 4-3 GPAC) on Saturday evening. The Bulldogs played one of their best games yet this season in toppling an opponent that had won its previous three games by a combined score of 13-1.
Seventh-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad improved to 7-4-3 overall and 3-1-2 in the conference. Concordia sits in sixth place, but is just one point out of fourth and two out of second.
“It means a lot,” Weides said of Saturday’s victory. “We haven’t beat Northwestern for a couple years so our seniors in particular haven’t experienced a win against Northwestern. It was good to see it happen. Northwestern’s a good team. They’re up top in the GPAC. I thought we did well controlling Northwestern. I don’t think they ever really got going.”
Concordia outplayed Northwestern in the first half, but had to settle for a 0-0 tie at the break. The fireworks began soon after play resumed as the Bulldogs cracked the scoreboard in the 51st minute when Chris DeFeyter lofted the ball behind the defense and found Gideon Soenksen for the header. That goal put Soenksen in the team lead with five scores on the season.
About four-and-a-half minutes later, Dean Stevens equaled Soenksen with his fifth goal on the year. The junior from Scottsdale, Ariz., drew a foul in the box and then slotted the ball past Red Raider keeper Aaron Bosch. Stevens saw Bosch lean one way and took advantage to provide the 2-0 lead.
The win was a satisfying one for Stevens and company, who last season saw their campaign come to an end with a 3-2 loss at Northwestern in the GPAC tournament quarterfinals.
“We went to Northwestern last year and it was a super cold night like this,” Stevens said. “As a team we played very, very well. From top to bottom, we worked harder. It’s not just a skill thing. It’s putting the work in. That’s how we beat them.”
Senior Brendan Buchanan had to earn his shutout when the Red Raiders peppered him with a pair of well-struck shots in the 89th minute. Buchanan used his quick reflexes to knock away a couple of quick hitters. He finished with three saves in the process of picking up his fourth shutout this season.
Buchanan has been a key piece of the senior class that has collaborated on a 21-10-1 home record since the start of the 2011 season. Other seniors heavily involved in Saturday night’s win were DeFeyter and Daniel Moore.
“All our seniors did well,” Weides said. “They’ve been huge for us. Not only tonight but throughout the season and throughout their careers they’ve been great components of our program. We’re glad this isn’t the last hurrah. We’ve got several more games to play and hopefully beyond the regular season.”
Concordia finished with a 12-7 advantage in shots as Mark Campbell and the collective defensive effort held down a Red Raider squad that entered the weekend rated second in the GPAC with an average of 3.0 goals per game. Saturday marked just the second time this season that Northwestern has been shut out.
The Bulldogs hit the road on Tuesday to take on second-place Midland (7-6-1, 4-1-1 GPAC) at 7:30 p.m. Concordia last defeated the Warriors, 1-0 in overtime, on Oct. 12, 2011. On Saturday Midland cruised past Mount Marty, 8-1, in Fremont, Neb.