RIVER FOREST, Ill. – Fresh off a 2-0 victory over Concordia University, Chicago, the Bulldog men’s soccer team took aim at earning supremacy among the Concordias on Saturday. Despite playing the entire second half down a man, CUNE salvaged a 1-1 draw while up against NCAA Division III Concordia University, Wisconsin in River Forest, Ill., on Saturday afternoon.
An unbeaten run to begin 2017 will carry on for 10th-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad. A 1-0-1 weekend puts the Bulldogs at 3-0-1 overall. The Bulldogs got the best of the weekend host by a 2-0 score on Friday. Weides was particularly encouraged by the second half on Saturday.
“We were really good in the second half, especially considering we were a man down,” Weides said. “Most people who were watching the game wouldn’t have realized we were a man down. We had opportunities to actually win the game. We had one go off the post and another really close opportunity.”
CUNE appeared in danger of suffering its first loss until Marcelo Hernandez emerged with the equalizer in the 81st minute. The set piece goal was facilitated by Lewis Rathbone, who was credited with the assist. From that point on it was about seeing out at least a tie.
Junior Jack Bennett again gave a nice effort in goal. It took an impressive strike by Josiah Ochoa in the 27th minute to prevent Bennett from securing a third shutout in a row. Bennett made five saves and was aided by solid teamwork along the back line. A unit headlined by the likes of Luke Batters and Florian Caraballo has helped keep opponents to a combined total of three goals over the season’s first four games. The shot count favored CUNE slightly (14-11). However, the Bulldogs had an 11-3 shot advantage in the second half.
Weides made note of the quality play of the likes of Evan Hayden, Micah Lehenbauer (returned from injury) and Hernandez. They helped pick up the slack with all-conference defender Florian Caraballo out of the lineup. Said Weides, “I couldn’t be more proud of the way we performed in the second half in a very challenging situation.”
CUNE and CUW both went 1-0-1 for the top records among the Concordias this weekend. Concordia-Ann Arbor went 1-1 and Concordia-Chicago finished 0-2. No official trophy is awarded.
The Bulldogs now have a week off before making another road trip next Saturday. They will join the women’s team on a journey to Lamoni, Iowa, for contest at Graceland University (1-1-1). Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. CT. CUNE hopes to avenge a 1-0 home loss to Graceland last fall.