Bulldogs record clean sheet in senior day win

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 24, 2021 in Women's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – The score line didn’t show it, but the Concordia University Women’s Soccer team dominated Presentation on Saturday (Oct. 23) evening while improving to 6-1-1 at home this season. The Bulldogs got both of their goals after halftime and saw out a 2-0 victory. Grace Soenksen and Madeline Haugen produced a goal apiece as Concordia celebrated senior day on the final home date of the regular season.

Every game matters when it comes to jockeying for positioning within the GPAC standings. Head Coach Thomas Goines’ squad ended the day in sixth place in the GPAC with a league mark of 5-4-2 (8-6-2 overall).

“I think it was probably one of our most complete games,” Goines said. “Presentation is far more organized, fast and athletic than they were a year ago. It took us a lot to limit their opportunities on the counterattack. We had to lean on our possession and our counter-press a lot today. Both of those things were on full display. For 90 minutes, that’s about as complete as we’ve put together as far as creating opportunities and transitioning in both offense and defense.”

This game was a rather sharp contrast to the loss three days earlier at Briar Cliff. The Bulldogs were the aggressor on Saturday while holding advantages of 24-2 in shots and 9-0 in corner kicks. Despite a 9-1 shot lead at half, Concordia found itself in a 0-0 stalemate. That changed in the 46th minute when Soenksen put away a goal off a corner (delivered by Mikeila Martinez) in the 47th minute. One of the seven seniors, Haugen rifled a shot off a defender for a goal in the 64th minute.

The ball lived in the Bulldogs’ attacking third, making for a quiet night for goalkeeper Kalie Ward, who made two saves on her way to a shutout. Ward spent a lot of time watching Haugen (nine shots) carve up the opposition’s back line. There were multiple occasions when Concordia had a near goal hit off the crossbar or post. Seniors such as Martinez and Cheyenne Smith made strong runs at goals of their own.

A native of Cheyenne, Wyo., Ward has emerged as the starting keeper in 2021 after biding her time behind four-year starter Lindsey Carley. With the help of Ward, the Bulldogs have limited their GPAC opponents to either one or no goals in nine separate outings.

“You realize it’s more than just on the field, it’s off the field too,” said Ward in reflection of senior day. “For me, senior night was about celebrating the seniors I came in with as freshmen. All of our memories and our times together – that’s what I’ll value the most. I just love them and I love this team. They really made senior night special for us.”

Concordia wound up with a 10-versus-nine advantage for the final 32-plus minutes of the contest. The Saints (2-10-1, 1-9 GPAC) did not register a single shot during that stretch.

The Bulldogs will close the regular season on Wednesday with a short drive to Doane (3-11-1, 1-8-1 GPAC) for a 5:30 p.m. CT kickoff in Crete. In last season’s meeting, Concordia pummeled the Tigers, 7-0.