LINCOLN, Neb. – A few weeks ago Concordia University head men’s soccer coach Jason Weides commented that his team had already played a season’s worth of overtimes. Coming off a 1-1 double overtime draw with Doane exactly a week ago, the Bulldogs again went to a second overtime as Wednesday’s contest between Concordia and host Nebraska Wesleyan (5-7-1, 1-4-1 GPAC) ultimately ended in a 2-2 tie after 110 minutes of play.
The Bulldogs have now played 10 overtime periods this season. They are 0-2-3 in five overtime games and are 6-4-3 overall and 2-1-2 in GPAC (seventh place) action.
Junior Dean Stevens notched what Concordia hoped would be the game-winning goal with his breakaway score in the 52nd minute (assisted by sophomore Carlos Acosta), giving the Bulldogs a 2-1 edge. But reminiscent of a 3-2 double overtime loss earlier this season with Hannibal La-Grange, Concordia conceded a late goal.
“It’s inexcusable,” Weides said. “We weren’t sharp enough. We had opportunities to kill off the game. We didn’t take them. Even though it’s a tie, it feels like a loss when you give up the lead twice like that.”
The Prairie Wolves forced overtime with Luke Thaller’s first goal of the season with less than a minute-and-a-half left in regulation (89th minute). Thaller got the ball past goalkeeper Brendan Buchanan by heading in a cross from Will Weber.
Stevens nearly tacked on his second goal during overtime, but his header was sent away as part of one of Wesleyan keeper Andy Larson’s eight saves.
“We played a ball over the top to Dean,” Weides said. “He had a header that looked like it was going in. Their keeper made the save of the game. He just got a touch on it.”
Thaller’s late score ended the trading of goals that began with Gideon Soenksen’s unassisted goal on a shot from 15 yards out in the eighth minute. The Prairie Wolves equalized in the 24th minute thanks to Alex Thorson’s unassisted goal.
Concordia finished with a slight 15-12 (10-8 in shots on goal) advantage in shots. The Bulldogs dodged a bullet shortly after Stevens’ goal when a Prairie Wolf penalty kick missed well high and wide of the goal, preserving a 2-1 lead at the time.
The three ties this season are the most for a Bulldog squad since the 2011 edition went 11-5-3. Weides’ squad had sought to defeat Nebraska Wesleyan for the fifth-straight year. That may have been accomplished had Concordia been able to keep its foot on the gas after Soenksen’s early goal.
“We dominated possession for the first half and looked really good the first 20 minutes,” Weides said. “It seemed like we got a little complacent after that first goal. We were still possessing the ball but not in dangerous areas.”
Stevens and Soenksen are now tied with Chris DeFeyter for the team goal-scoring lead (four). While they provided the offensive punch, right back Mark Campbell again played solidly for the Concordia defense.
The Bulldogs return to Bulldog Stadium (4-1-1 at home) on Saturday when they honor their four seniors as part of senior night. Northwestern (10-3-1, 4-2 GPAC) will serve as the opponent for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. Last season the Red Raiders won twice over Concordia. The two teams last met in the 2013 GPAC tournament quarterfinals, where Northwestern won 3-2.