SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – The Concordia University Women’s Soccer team came within 66 seconds of running its overall record to 7-0. However, a goal by Dordt’s Katherine Kooiman in the waning moments of regulation allowed the host Defenders to pull even, resulting in a 1-1 draw on Wednesday (Sept. 21) evening. The Bulldogs had held a 1-0 lead for nearly 60 minutes of play in Sioux Center, Iowa.
The disappointment of the closing minute aside, Head Coach Thomas Goines’ squad (6-0-1, 1-0-1 GPAC) put together a solid road performance within the GPAC. There will be lessons to take away for a Concordia team that had chances for a second goal that could have prevented late-game heartache.
“GPAC games on the road are always tough,” Goines said. “It’s a challenge against a team that’s fast and physical like Dordt. Any points you can get on the road are important. We’re a little bit disappointed we couldn’t close the game out.
“We decided to absorb a little pressure as opposed to pressing as much as we normally would, because they are a very direct team. They have a couple strikers that can put you under pressure if you let them get behind. We decided to be more of a counter-attacking team and it worked for the most part.”
Ellie Eason put the Bulldogs on top in the 31st minute after taking advantage of a misplay by Dordt. Eason played a couple touches to her right and then blasted a shot inside the left post, beating diving Defender keeper Elianna Van Hulzen. Six other Concordia shots on goal were denied by Van Hulzen, who put forth a strong outing in goal. Dordt managed to limit freshman Kierstynn Garner, who had tallied seven goals over the previous four games.
It was a relatively evenly-played match (9-8 Defender advantage in shots), but the Bulldogs felt like they let one get away. Unmarked after a corner kick was volleyed into the box, Kooiman found the back of the net for the equalizing goal. Concordia keeper Kalie Ward had to look through plenty of traffic in order to decipher where that shot was ticketed. Ward came up with six saves in a near shutout.
The Bulldogs entered the game having blanked their previous three opponents. They were searching for the first 7-0 start to a season in program history. The ’22 team may have missed out on that achievement, but it is the program’s first squad to ever be unbeaten through the first seven games of a campaign. As for Goines, his career collegiate head coaching win total remains at 99.
Concordia also tied Dordt (4-3-1, 1-1-1 GPAC) in 2021. The Defenders and star Avril Baccam pose problems for opponents, but the Bulldogs hope to use this as a learning experience.
“We could have gone up two or three goals had we been a little bit more clinical in the final third,” Goines said. “Second half, they went even more direct, and it made it a bit more challenging to manage. We had some chances to ice the game and just weren’t as clean as we needed to be and didn’t manage time as well as we needed to.”
The Bulldogs will return to Seward for their third home game of 2022. Saturday’s kickoff from Bulldog Stadium is slated for 1 p.m. CT. The opponent will be Northwestern (4-5, 0-3 GPAC), which came back to earn a 2-2 draw in last season’s meeting with Concordia in Orange City, Iowa.