SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – The Concordia University men’s soccer team responded admirably from an early deficit in a tight battle between two of the GPAC’s top programs. Ultimately, the unbeaten season fell by the wayside when Northwestern’s Tyler Limmer banked the golden goal in the 107th minute of a 2-1 double overtime game that culminated late in Sioux Center, Iowa, on Saturday (Oct. 7) evening.
The program record of 11-consecutive games without a loss has finally come to an end for 10th-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad. Concordia dropped to 10-1-1 overall and to 3-1 in conference play.
“It was a really good response,” Weides said of the early disadvantage. “We did start the game pretty poorly and made some mistakes early on. We got better as the game wore on. The last 20-25 minutes of the first half we really started to look ourselves. It wasn’t panic mode. We were confident we could get one back. I thought the team really responded well. It was a great goal by Micah (Lehenbauer).”
Finding themselves in a 1-0 hole after less than three minutes of play, the Bulldogs were in a position that hasn’t been completely unfamiliar to them. They came back for nonconference wins over Sterling College (Kan.) and Graceland University (Iowa) after conceding the first goal of the game. It took until the 75th minute before Lehenbauer equalized. It seemed the Bulldogs were on the verge of yet another victory.
However, the Red Raiders (8-4-2, 4-1 GPAC) capitalized in the second overtime off of a goal kick. Limmer struck for his second goal of the night and the celebration was on for Northwestern. The Red Raiders were able to avenge two losses to Concordia in 2016.
The Bulldogs fell despite a 15-8 advantage in the shot column. They very nearly scored in the second overtime when Carlos Ferrer’s shot went just over the crossbar. On the other side, Northwestern took its chances well. It had only three shots on goal the entire night.
Now Concordia will have to respond to a loss for the first time in 2017. Given the mental makeup of his squad, Weides feels confident moving forward.
“We talked about how there is adversity within a game. Every game you’re going to face some challenges and have to overcome adversity,” Weides said. “That happens from day to day and game to game. When you have a loss you find a way to pick yourself up. We’re going to try to learn from it and grow. That’s one thing this team has done really well. When we’ve had an opportunity to get better the guys have done a great job improving in the next performance.”
Concordia will happily make a return to Bulldog Stadium for two home dates next week. The next hurdle will be Wednesday’s (Oct. 11) clash with Doane (2-11, 1-4 GPAC). The Tigers picked up their first conference victory with a 2-0 home triumph over Dordt on Saturday. In last season’s meeting in Crete, the Bulldogs dealt Doane a 3-2 loss.