When Concordia and Bishop Dwenger boys soccer met in the regular season in 2020, the two were tied at the end of regulation and needed six penalty kicks each before the deadlock was broken in favor of the Cadets.
This time, the Saints needed just one goal to beat the Cadets 1-0, handing Concordia its first loss of the season on a stormy Tuesday evening.
The Class 2A No. 3 Cadets (5-1-3) did have plenty of scoring chances, starting with a cross from senior Devin Derheimer, who sent the pass in front of the net about 15 minutes into the match, but Bishop Dwenger goalkeeper David Anderson got to the ball before the Cadets could make him pay.
A minute later, Cadets senior Elijah Macke, who scored 13 goals in the first eight games of the season took a shot at the bottom right corner of the goal, but the strike was wide by just a few inches.
With just over eight minutes to play in the first half, junior Noah Thurber scored what Bishop Dwenger coach Carlos Cruz described as a “gritty” goal. The ball bounced around in the box, with several Bishop Dwenger players taking a stab at the ball and the Cadets unable to clear it out before Thurber scored.
“It was created from Dominic (Cruz) getting some penetration inside the 18, and Thurber was in the right place, and he put it home,” Cruz said.
“We had a lot of combinations there, and (Tyler) Yaggy found me a cross, and I just finished it,” Thurber said.
The rain started with four minutes to play in the first half, and in the final minute of halftime a lightning bolt delayed the start of the second half by a half-hour.
Thurber said the team stretched in the locker room during the delay and tried to keep loose and focused, but Cruz admitted the delay was challenging.
“I thought in the first half we had a tremendous amount of momentum and possession,” Cruz said. “I’ll be honest with you, it’s tough. It’s tough coming back and trying to regain, reexecute with that same momentum you had before you went in (to the locker room). And I could see we lost a little bit.”
The Cadets came into the match averaging 3.4 goals per game, and had only been shutout once before this season, in a 0-0 draw with Blackhawk Christian.
“We’ve made a couple of personnel changes in the back. We ended up reverting back to that towards the end of the match, just because we knew that they were fast and they were trying to put balls through the middle,” Cruz said. “We needed to do something to mitigate that attack. The two centerbacks we have right now are both between 6-foot-2 and 6-4, and so they are go in the air. They force the attacking teams to really great creative to get around them.”