Bulldogs fall in battle of unbeatens

SEWARD, Neb. – In a rematch of last year’s national tournament opening round clash, powerfully built and sixth-ranked Benedictine College (Kan.) backed its lofty national ranking with a 4-0 win over the 21st-ranked Concordia University women’s soccer team inside Bulldog Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The previously unbeaten Bulldogs had hoped to secure their second victory of the season over a top 25 opponent.

Third-year head coach Greg Henson’s squad dropped to 3-1 overall. Concordia entered the contest with a mark of 9-1-1 in its last 11 home games.

“The biggest thing is we have to eliminate the mistakes that we make and the opportunities that we give the other team,” Henson said. “When you play a team of this caliber, they’re going to take advantage and they definitely did today.”

Ranked 11th nationally in goals per game, the Ravens (6-0) outshot the Bulldogs, 21-6, and peppered Concordia with 11 shots on goal. Each Benedictine goal came from a different player for a squad that has now outscored its opponents by a combined total of 25-5 through six games.

Benedictine got on the board in the 10th minute when Rosie McShane tracked down a rebound and slotted her fifth goal of the season past keeper Chrissy Lind. Anna Romano created the scoring chance by penetrating the Bulldog back line and rifling a shot that deflected to McShane.

Then in the 45th minute, after Concordia had dodged several bullets, Hannah Trandahl got loose and tapped in her second goal of the campaign for a back breaker just before the half. The Ravens limited the Bulldogs to two total shots through the game’s first 45 minutes.

Concordia’s best chance of the opening half came when Esther Soenksen executed a perfect ball behind the defense to striker Jessica Skerston. A trailing defender bothered Skerston just enough to make the ensuing shot a routine save for Raven goalkeeper Ellen Loughman.

The game’s most impressive save came Bulldog keeper Chrissy Lind who made a diving snare of a header attempt from Ashley Chandler midway through the second half. Just moments later Liz Enna tacked on the Ravens’ third goal on a strike inside the left post, putting the game out of reach.

Just after the 60-minute mark, Maria Deeter laced a shot that Loughman corralled. Loughman finished with three saves, including another on an attempt from freshman Ashley Martin. Benedictine effectively shut down Soenksen, who recorded four goals in her previous game and has seven goals overall this season. Soenksen did not take a single shot on Saturday.

Over its last 18 games, Concordia’s only two losses have come at the hands of Benedictine. The Bulldogs own a record of 12-2-4 over that stretch.

“When we knock the ball and we keep it like we did in stretches, we can play with anybody on our schedule,” Henson said. “That’s the biggest takeaway. You’re looking at a 4-0 defeat, but hopefully we’ll get a chance to be on that stage we were last year against them and be a better team at that point.”

Concordia will meet York College (0-6) for the second time already this season when the Panthers visit Seward on Tuesday. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. from Bulldog Stadium. On Sept. 1, Concordia defeated York, 7-0, behind Soenksen’s highlight-reel game.