Concordia closes regular season with road win

Concordia closes regular season with road win

MITCHELL, S.D. – Head coach Greg Henson’s Bulldogs concluded the 2013 regular season by taking care of business at Dakota Wesleyan in Mitchell, S.D., on Saturday afternoon. Despite getting the better of the action most of the day, Concordia won by a narrow 2-1 decision over the host Tigers. The Bulldogs (9-8-1 overall, 5-5 GPAC) will now move on to play at Briar Cliff in the GPAC tournament quarterfinals at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

“It was good to see us come back and take the lead before halftime after getting down early,” Henson said. “The second half was about managing the game and making sure we got the win. We really were not threatened.”

Concordia got a couple of monkeys off its back with Saturday’s triumph as it marked the team’s first win of the season on the road and first on a natural grass surface. Henson’s crew also broke a trend by winning a game in which the opponent scored first. The Bulldogs had entered play with a mark of 1-7 in such contests.

The Bulldogs got the equalizer midway through the first half when junior Ashlie Sklenicka found the back of the net on a free kick. It was Sklenicka’s seven goal of the season and her third over the past three matches.

Freshman defender Kristin Manley notched the game-winning score with her first career goal later in the half. She received the corner kick from junior Rachel Mussell and beat the Tiger keeper. Both teams then went scoreless over the final 60 minutes of play.

Needing a win or tie to get into the GPAC tournament, Dakota Wesleyan gave the Bulldogs its best shot.

“They were playing for their season so it was a playoff game type of feel,” Henson said. “Fortunately we were able to regain control after they got on the board first.”

While a defensive breakdown allowed Dakota Wesleyan (4-12-2, 1-8-1 GPAC) to get the upper hand early on, Henson came away pleased with his team’s overall defensive play.

The dynamic duo of Jordan Donohoue and Emily Fleming in the back has continued to produce great results. The Bulldogs are 3-1 since making the change with the only loss being the 1-0 double overtime defeat at GPAC runner up Hastings.

Concordia last reached the semifinals of the GPAC tournament in 2011. Concordia squeaked past Dakota Wesleyan in the quarterfinals in a match that came down to penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw.

2 November 2013

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