SALINA, Kan. – All things considered, the result on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 8) can easily be viewed in a positive light for the Concordia University women’s soccer team. The opponent, Kansas Wesleyan University, entered the weekend having already defeated GPAC foes Northwestern and Dordt. After 110 minutes of play, the Bulldogs and Coyotes settled for a 1-1 draw.
Sixth-year head coach Greg Henson’s squad now stands at 2-0-2 overall. The program still has not officially suffered a defeat since Sept. 9, 2017.
“We saw some other players step up and give us an opportunity to be successful,” Henson said. “Kaylee Brown started and had a big game for us. (Morgan) Raska has been strong all season. Some players that don’t get a ton of the attention really showed well today.
“It was their home opener. Early on they really came out flying and put us under pressure. It was a physical game. I thought it was a tale of two halves. Kansas Wesleyan is a talented team with some dangerous players. I thought in the second half and overtimes we did a nice job containing them.”
A lead provided by Becky Freeman’s goal in the 26th minute was short-lived. The Coyotes (2-0-1) responded with the equalizer in the 29th minute by Michelle Pena. Concordia knew that if it wanted to leave Salina without an ‘L,’ it had to mark Pena (four goals this season) the rest of the way. All three of the shots she fired off came within the game’s first 29 minutes.
Attacking chances did not come in bunches in this matchup between squads receiving votes in the NAIA national poll. Kansas Wesleyan ended up with an 11-7 edge in the shot department. For the most part, it was an even clash.
Said Henson, “Second half we were able to get forward more and get more opportunities to challenge them. Overall it was a solid 110-minute battle. I think it’s a game that will serve us well as we move towards conference play.”
The likes of Brown and others were needed to rise to the occasion on Saturday due to the absences of Ashley and Lauren Martin, who missed the game for family reasons. That meant Henson had to tinker with his lineup, down two starters who typically play all 90.
Not only did Brown start, Freeman also got the nod at kickoff.
“We definitely shuffled the deck. We changed some things around. We ended up making a couple changes midway through the first half to strengthen ourselves a little bit in the midfield. Michaela Twito did a nice job and helped settle the game down. We made some changes knowing we were missing the Martins. I thought the team responded well to that. It gives us some more options moving forward.”
Sophomore Lindsey Carley played all 110 minutes in goal and made six saves. Carley was called upon to make one save in the first overtime. Both teams managed only a shot apiece over the 20 minutes of overtime.
The Coyotes defeated by Northwestern and Dordt by margins of two goals. Concordia and Kansas Wesleyan also played last season in Seward with the result being a 2-2 double overtime tie.
Two more nonconference games remain on the slate before GPAC action gets started. Next up is Tuesday (Sept. 11)’s journey to Bellevue University (1-2) for a 5 p.m. CT kickoff.