SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University men’s soccer team used three different goal scorers and a momentum-boosting hustle play from Justin Lawrie in returning to the win column. A Bulldog team that spent much of the afternoon on the offensive came away with a 3-0 victory over Briar Cliff in a game played inside Bulldog Stadium on Saturday.
Eighth-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad has now won two of its last three games and improved to 7-5-1 overall and 2-3-1 in league play.
“We just needed to respond. We told the guys that we’re going to face challenges throughout the season,” Weides said. “You don’t know exactly when they’re going to come or in what form.
“I just think the guys responded really well to that. Briar Cliff is a tough team.”
After a series of close calls, Concordia finally cracked the scoreboard in the 30th minute. That’s when Marcelino Varona’s shot was blocked by a Charger defender before trickling to Tyler Jensen. He calmly slotted the ball past the keeper on the ground.
In the 33rd minute, Lawrie made a highlight reel individual effort to save what would have been a sure goal. Briar Cliff’s Christopher Nkoghe lofted a bounding ball over the top of drawn-out goalkeeper Mark Horsburgh. Lawrie raced the ball down and kicked it straight up off the crossbar before clearing it out of bounds.
The Bulldogs seemed to feed off the hustle play that had Lawrie clapping and hollering.
“I just went around our keeper and hoped to God he would miss it in the first place,” Lawrie said. “But then it was going straight for the net. (I thought) got to kick it up so I tried to get underneath it. It had the crossbar and went out. Thank goodness we didn’t get a penalty off that. It definitely saved us.”
Lawrie and company went into the halftime intermission leading 1-0. The Bulldogs waited until the 65th minute to get some breathing room. The goal kick of Briar Cliff’s Jared Belin found Lewis Rathbone, who headed the ball nearly 30 yards behind the defense. That’s where Micah Lehenbauer cashed in after playing a touch off his chest. His goal made it 2-0.
For good measure, senior Julian Amaya added a cherry on top by chasing down a loose ball after Angel Alvarez had lifted a shot off the crossbar in the 89th minute. Amaya ran right past three defenders who stood watching the play. The native of Bogota, Colombia, was rewarded with his sixth goal of the season.
Amaya tied Jensen and Lehenbauer with a team high four shots on goal. The Bulldogs ended up with a 27-15 shot advantage, including a 14-6 edge in shots on goal over the Chargers (6-6, 3-3 GPAC).
“I thought it was a good job by the guys to get a little more combination play in the final third than we’ve had the last couple games,” Weides said.
Mark Horsburgh made six saves in goal to help the Bulldogs record their sixth shutout of the season and third against GPAC opponents. Concordia has allowed 16 goals in 13 games.
The Bulldogs will be in action again on Sunday for a replay of a matchup at Hastings that had taken place on Sept. 29 but was wiped away. The NAIA ruled that officials misapplied substitution rules in that contest. Sunday night’s game will get underway at 7:30 p.m. at No. 22 Hastings (8-3-2, 5-0 GPAC).