Unblemished mark follows Bulldogs into conference play

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 21, 2017 in Men's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – The 2017 Concordia University men’s soccer team has already equaled the 1973 and 1974 teams for the longest unbeaten run to begin a season in program history. Now the Bulldogs can own the record all to themselves. Tenth-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad has been idle since a 3-0 win over Kansas Wesleyan University on Sept. 16 and now looks forward to the opening of conference play. Concordia and Dakota Wesleyan (3-5, 0-0 GPAC) will kick off at 6:30 p.m. CT on Saturday (Sept. 23) in Mitchell, S.D.

The Bulldogs have run through their first seven games unscathed and are on the heels of last week’s nonconference victories over Waldorf University and Kansas Wesleyan. Stellar performances in those wins allowed Jack Bennett and Lewis Rathbone to earn GPAC weekly awards. A native of Manchester, England, Rathbone has been on a tear, scoring at least one goal in three straight games. Five of those goals were knocked in last week. Meanwhile, Bennett has played all 630 minutes in goal this season and has recorded three shutouts.

Despite being undefeated, Concordia remained at No. 5 in this week’s official GPAC ratings. Only two teams in all of NAIA soccer (Bluefield-Va. and Oklahoma City) have notched more wins so far this year than the Bulldogs. Led by Rathbone’s team high and career best seven goals, Concordia has outscored its opponents by a combined tally of 17-6. The only opponent thus far to prevent the Bulldogs from victory was Concordia University, Wisconsin, which played CUNE to a 1-1 draw on Sept. 2.

Dakota Wesleyan has given Weides’ program fits in recent years in contests played in Mitchell. Last season the Tigers held serve at home though they were outshot, 24-4, in a matchup that was dominated by the Bulldogs in just about all aspects but the scoreboard. Dakota Wesleyan is coming off a 3-0 loss to the University of Mary on Wednesday. Prior to that defeat, the Tigers topped Presentation College and Grace University in succession.

Saturday’s game can be seen live via Dakota Wesleyan’s Stretch Internet portal.

Concordia will be at home twice next week. It will host Mount Marty (3-2) at 8 p.m. CT on Sept. 26 prior to a visit from Bellevue University (3-5-1) at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 30. The Bulldogs are 3-0 at home in 2017.