STORY BY: Joseph Brown
PHOTOS BY: Andie Paschal and Laura Arnold
VIDEO BY: Andy Chase
In a game that would decide the outcome of the season, Hastings saw hundreds of people flock to Lloyd Wilson Field for the Great Plains Athletic Conference finals tonight.
Hastings College and Concordia University, who have seen each other two times in the regular season, met for a third and final time tonight at Hastings College for the GPAC post-season title.
The Bulldogs left Hastings with a 1-0 win and a berth into the 2015 National Tournament.
With the season on the line, both teams came out early with a lot of energy, which caused many errors both defensively and offensively.
Both teams also fouled at a high rate, with Concordia getting 12 fouls called against them compared to Hastings’ 13.
There were also five yellow cards, three going to the Bulldogs and two going to the Broncos.
The first half was played at high speed but both teams had nothing to show for it, as there were limited shots that went on target from both sides, and the half ended at 0-0.
The one goal, that pushed Concordia to the National Tournament and sent Hastings into a purgatory of waiting to find out if their season is over, was scored by Tyler Jensen.
Jensen, who received the ball on the left flank, dribbled at the goal, pulling senior goalkeeper Alex Guyer off of his line.
Jensen chipped Guyer, concluding the scoring for the game.
In the final minutes, Concordia was forced to defend multiple opportunities, including a three shot series in which Concordia goalkeeper Mark Horsburgh denied Leon Brudy and maintained a 1-0 lead.
As time expired, the Bulldogs and their traveling faithful rushed the field, celebrating the upset of the top ranked Broncos.
Jason Weides, the head coach of the Bulldogs, said his team was propelled forward to the win because they capitalized on their chances.
“We took our chances. I think last game we had opportunities, and either we missed those opportunities or Guyer came up with huge saves,” Weides said. “Our keeper came up with a couple of really key saves in a couple of key moments, and it’s really tough to keep a shutout against such a good team.”
Weides said that moving forward to the National Tournament, they have to shift their focus from local rivalries to the big stage competition.
“I guess first we have to find out who we play and find out as much information as we can,” said Weides. “It’s really about setting a new goal: Now that we’re there [the national tournament] it’s not just getting to the national tournament, we have to get to the final 16.”
No Broncos were available for comment after the game, but they will find out if they received an at large bid this Sunday.
More information will be available on hcmediaonline.org following the official announcement from the NAIA.