MOORHEAD, Minn. (8/30/10)-- The Concordia men’s soccer team has had almost 10 months to get over the disappointment of narrowly missing their first-ever conference playoff berth. The Cobbers went unbeaten in their final 10 games of the 2009 season and ended up in a tie for the fourth, and final, MIAC playoff spot. Concordia fell short in the tie-breaking procedure and was left to ponder what might have happened and wanting to start anew for one more chance at the postseason.
For the past two seasons early season losing skids have spelled doom for the Cobbers’ playoff hopes. Last season Concordia lost their first three league games and tumbled down a six-game losing hill before righting the ship and rattling off nine wins in their last 10 games. In 2008, the Cobbers also lost their first three MIAC contests before ending the year by winning five of their last six. The key for this year’s squad will be to get off to a fast start and then repeat their past two epic finishes.
The season goal of making the conference playoffs for the first time in program history is a distinct possibility due to the return of 10 of the team’s starting 11 players from a year ago. That is the good news. The bad news is that the one player that needs to be replaced is All-Region goalkeeper Mads Schmidt. Schmidt led a resurgence of the Cobber defense which ended the year by not allowing a goal in the final eight games. That streak currently stands at 758:38 - the third longest streak in MIAC history.
Schmidt’s replacement will be bolstered by a defense that will only get better in 2010 as all four starting defenders return for another year. Central defenders Drew Glogoza (Jr., Fargo, N.D./Fargo Shanley HS) and Felix Okoth (Sr., Mombasa, Kenya) will anchor a unit that has developed into the strength of the team. Okoth is an intimidating defender whose size and strength in the air allow Concordia to defend any dead ball situations from around the penalty area.
The midfield will be dominated by seniors and will serve as the engine for the Cobbers’ offense. All four starting players return for a second straight season. Kyle Quimby (Sr., Mahtomedi, Minn.), Marco Riboli (Sr., Bergamo, Italy), Alex Dahl (Fargo, N.D./Fargo South HS) and Philip Bruckbauer (Sr, Fargo, N.D./Fargo Shanley) have grown together and are now a proven commodity in the MIAC. Riboli was named to the MIAC All-Conference Honorable Mention Team for the second straight season last year. He led the team with 10 assists and was tied for second in the conference in assists in overall games.
The biggest revelation of 2009 was the team’s offense. After finishing seventh in the league in goals scored in 2008, Concordia jumped all the way to fourth in 2009. The increase in point production was due in large part to Riley McGlynn (Jr., Hampstead, N.C./Bozeman HS) who had a breakout season and was named to the MIAC All-Conference Team. McGlynn exploded for 11 goals last year. He led the team in goals and points as he finished with 11 goals and three assists for 25 points. In conference play he had six goals and one assist for 13 points. He was tied for second in the MIAC in goals per game and tied for fifth in points per game. McGlynn also led the conference in total shots (42) and shots per game (4.20).
Joining McGlynn up front will be sophomore Jared Rice (Kalispell, Mont./Glacier HS). Rice started last season as a defender but was then moved up top in the middle of the season and immediately infused the CC offense with high-octane energy. His speed and tenacity were a perfect complement to McGlynn and the two will be a tough stop for any defense this season.
All signs point to the Cobbers continuing to improve and making a run for their first-ever MIAC playoff berth. With a little luck, Concordia will also be in the hunt for their first conference championship since 1996.