Bulldogs record eighth shutout of season in draw with Northwestern

SEWARD, Neb. – For the second-straight time out, the Concordia University women’s soccer team played in a double overtime draw. Saturday evening’s affair with visiting Northwestern (5-8-2, 3-2-2 GPAC) ended in a scoreless tie after 110 minutes of action on senior night at Bulldog Stadium.

Still unbeaten in conference play, head coach Greg Henson’s squad concluded the night with records of 9-2-3 overall and 3-0-3 in the GPAC (tied with Midland for second place).

“Northwestern’s a good team,” Henson said. “They did some really nice things on their own. It was one of those games where there was some frustration on both sides. It was two very good defensive teams battling it out tonight.

“Late in the match we tried to make a couple changes going for the win. I think in the latter part of the second half we got a few good opportunities and then in the first overtime really took it to them.”

Led on the attack by senior Melissa Stine (game-high five shots), Concordia put forth its most serious threats during the first overtime period. The Bulldogs got up five of their 15 shots during that 10-minute stretch. Both Stine and freshman Jessica Skerston took chances that just missed off frame.

Seven of Concordia’s eight seniors, who were honored during a pregame ceremony, were part of Henson’s starting lineup on Saturday. Emmalyn Rodriguez, a senior from Kansas City, Mo., made her first career start three days after notching her first goal of the season at Nebraska Wesleyan.

“I feel very blessed to be on this team,” Rodriguez said. “The girls are amazing. We have such a good family bond on the team. It was a huge blessing to be able to play today.”

For the first time this season, Skerston (team leader with 12 goals) did not start. She played sparingly in Wednesday’s tie and did not appear on Saturday until the final 10 minutes of regulation.

The shutout was Concordia’s eighth this season, extending its program-record total. Sophomore goalkeeper Chrissy Lind had to make just one save to get credit for her sixth shutout of the campaign – another school record. She was kept clean on Saturday by the usual steady play in the back from seniors Rachel Mussell and Marcie Sindt.

Mussell, Sindt and the rest of the Bulldog defensive effort held down Northwestern star Tyler Farr, who entered play with 12 goals of her own. She got off just a single shot in the draw.

“Over the last two years since I’ve been here, they’ve done a great job providing us with leadership,” Henson said of the seniors. “They have an impact on the field game-in and game-out and in training and every aspect of the program. Hats off to them on a great career. The work’s not quite done yet.”

Concordia is now 1-0-3 in four overtime contests this season. The lone overtime victory came on Sept. 20 when Esther Soenksen delivered the golden goal in the 106th minute at Mount Marty.

The Bulldogs take the field again on Wednesday when they play at Midland (11-3, 4-2 GPAC) at 7 p.m. Last season Concordia topped the Warriors, 1-0, inside Bulldog Stadium. On Saturday Midland toppled Mount Marty, 4-0. Concordia and Midland are neck and neck near the top of the GPAC – with several teams close behind.

Said Henson, “The conference standings, to be quite honest, are kind of a mess.”