SEWARD, Neb. – A first-half goal by junior Brynn Suddeth provided the Concordia University women’s soccer team a lead it held for more than 30 minutes on a Wednesday night (Oct. 3) featuring brisk winds. Ultimately, a physical battle with rival and 15th-ranked Hastings concluded in a 1-1 double overtime draw, a result similar to the one that played out in the 2017 GPAC championship game.
The tie means the GPAC regular-season unbeaten streak (18-0-2 over last 20) lives on for sixth-year head coach Greg Henson’s program. The Bulldogs moved to 7-1-3 overall and to 4-0-1 in conference play. The tie with a nationally-ranked foe should help solidify Concordia as a team receiving votes in the NAIA poll.
“We’re happy to get a point any time that we can salvage that in a conference match, especially in a tilt against Hastings,” Henson said. “It’s become a really good rivalry for us over the last four years. But yeah, it’s bittersweet. There’s a little disappointment in only coming away with a draw. You had two good programs going at it and the (windy) conditions dealt a blow to the quality of soccer that was played. We’ll take the point, stay undefeated in conference and we can still control our own destiny moving forward.”
The Bulldogs dodged their fair share of bullets in a game that the Broncos (7-0-2, 4-0-1 GPAC) outshot the home team, 23-12. Concordia went to the locker room with a 1-0 lead after escaping a pair of Hastings shots that pelted the crossbar late in the half. Just a bit earlier – in the 38th minute – the Bulldogs celebrated Suddeth’s four goal of the season.
The Suddeth score came after Lauren Martin volleyed a corner kick into the box that was ping-ponged around and off the foot of Becky Freeman. She somehow drilled the ball through a tight window, past the keeper and to a waiting Suddeth. But the upset bid took a hit in the 69th minute when Laurie Potvin converted a penalty kick. It was the last time the ball found the back of the net on the evening.
Sophomore goalkeeper Lindsey Carley saved the other six Broncos shots on goal. Concordia did well to keep Hastings off the scoreboard during the run of play. The Broncos entered the night averaging 3.25 goals per game.
“I thought our defense played really well,” Carley said. “Tori Cera has really stepped up this year as a center back. Last year she was in the midfield. It’s definitely an adjustment for her, but I think she did really well. We cleared the ball well and adjusted to the extreme wind in the first half. Everything just went really well for us.”
Concordia had a legitimate chance for the golden goal on a couple of occasions in the 20 minutes of overtime. The first occurred when Martin maneuvered around a defender in the box and shot wide to the right. Suddeth also had a breakaway chance of her own. On the flip side, the Broncos put three shots on frame during overtime action.
“We’ve had some struggles defensively in conceding goals,” Henson said. “Unfortunately it was the third penalty we’ve allowed this season. At the end of the day, we have to overcome the adversity. I thought we did a nice job seeing the game out and making sure we walked away with at least a point.”
The Bulldogs will remain at home this Saturday to host new GPAC soccer member Presentation (1-10-1, 0-6-1 GPAC) at 5:30 p.m. CT on Saturday. The Saints continue to search for their first-ever GPAC victory. Presentation picked up its first win this season by beating nonconference foe Stephens College (Mo.), 2-0, last week.