Bulldogs find that 'final touch' in home rout of Dordt

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 21, 2023 in Women's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – All facets of the game are starting to come together for Concordia University Women’s Soccer. In the attacking third, Savannah Andrews and Kierstynn Garner have continued their mockery of opposing backlines. The sophomore duo got loose again on Wednesday (Sept. 20) and helped lead the Bulldogs to a rout of Dordt, 4-0, inside Bulldog Stadium. Defender Hannah Kile even got into the goal scoring ledger as part of the fun.

Head Coach Nick Smith’s squad bumped its overall record to 6-2 (2-0 GPAC) thanks to a third straight comfortable win. This matchup with the Defenders (3-3-1, 1-1-1 GPAC) looked nothing like the 1-1 draw from a year ago.

“I think the last couple of games we’ve sort of found our voice up front,” Smith said. “We have players who are dangerous in many different ways. It helps that you score a goal in the first six minutes and really set the tone. Then Sav hits an absolute screamer of a goal 30 minutes in and it’s 2-0 at halftime. It’s nice to have a set-piece goal on our third one – another new goal scorer on the year and another sophomore, Hannah Kile. Then KG finishes it off for us at the end. It was a really well-rounded performance. This was probably the most complete game we’ve had on the season.”

Andrews and Garner get the glory for their offensive exploits – and they’ve earned it. By night’s end, Andrews pushed her GPAC leading goal count to nine with Garner right on her heels with eight. The Kearney, Neb., native Garner put her athleticism on display in going out on a lengthy run that ended with her beating the keeper 1v1 for the game’s first score. She bookended that goal with another one after rebounding her own shot in the 85th minute. Andrews found the back of the net in the 29th minute and Kile got her goal in the 65th minute.

To the delight of Smith, Concordia never stopped attacking. The Bulldogs held the lion’s share of possession and owned the shot category, 22-3. Dordt keeper Jenna Wright made 10 saves in an attempt to keep her side in the contest. She was peppered frequently by the likes of Andrews, Garner and Sierra Springer. That trio combined for 15 shots (10 on goal).

There was credit to go around, not only for the goal scorers. The back line has stabilized with the help of Kile and Taylor Slaymaker. In the middle of the park, Niah Kirchner and Grace Soenksen have shined throughout the first half of the season. Kirchner is another of the sophomores who have taken flight. In goal, Bradi Ore picked up the shutout on Wednesday. She made the one save she was called upon to make.

Confidence is high for a squad that has outscored its foes by a combined total of 16-1 over the past three outings. Said Smith, “A lot of it is the confidence within the group, believing in each other and also believing in the style we’re trying to play. When we want to, we can get the ball down and we can connect passes against anyone who’s going to step out on the field with us. Early in the season, we were creating the opportunities, we just didn’t have the final touch. We’re starting to find that.”

While in the middle of a postgame interview, Garner was doused with water by teammate Hannah Haas. During that same interview, Garner’s teammates could be heard affectionately referring to her as “barbie,” but it’s all in good fun. Garner is soaking it all in.

Said Garner of the goal scoring between her and Andrews, “There is no rivalry. We just work hard in practice and we push each other. When one scores, we’re excited for them. When another teammate scores, we’re excited for them too.”

The first GPAC road test of the 2023 season will arrive on Saturday when the Bulldogs will be headed to Orange City, Iowa. Kickoff with the Red Raiders (3-5, 1-2 GPAC) is slated for 3:15 p.m. CT. Concordia Northwestern played to a 0-0 draw in Seward last season (after the two sides had tied, 2-2, in 2021).