Concordia University advanced to the semifinals of the GPAC Women’s Soccer Tournament on Thursday evening in Seward. Concordia and Dakota Wesleyan played to a 1-1 tie in double overtime, but the Bulldogs advanced 4-3 on penalty kicks. With the win, Concordia moves on to play top-seeded Hastings College on November 8.
Concordia took a 1-0 lead early in the second half with a goal by Jordan Donohoue (Manhattan, Kan.). In the 61st minute, however, Dakota Wesleyan tied the match with a goal by Yutzil Rodriguez. Each team had chances down the stretch, but neither team could score the game-winner. The match went through both overtime periods with no goals scored, and a shootout was needed to determine the winner.
Ariel Harris (Valley Center, Calif.) made eight saves in regulation, but her biggest two saves came in the shootout. Kayla Pahl scored to put DWU up 1-0, and Becky Walrath (Lincoln, Neb.) answered with a goal for Concordia to tie the score. Skye Pahl followed with a goal for DWU, and Rachel Gordon (Lincoln, Neb.) scored for the Bulldogs to tie things up once again. Kasha Roberts went third for the Tigers, but Harris dove to her left to make a key save. A goal by Jamie Sanchez (Lincoln, Neb.) gave Concordia a 3-2 advantage in the shootout. Abby Hubbard was fourth for the Tigers, but her shot was saved once again by Harris, who came up with her second huge save of the shootout. Donohoue was unable to score the game-winner for the Bulldogs, but Concordia still held a 3-2 advantage heading into the teams’ fifth and final kickers. Rodriguez scored for DWU to knot the score at 3-3, but Kelly Ross (Calgary, Alberta) connected with the game-winner to push Concordia into the semifinals.
Following the match, Head Coach Lisa White and goalie Ariel Harris discussed the win.
“The heart of this team is incredible,” remarked White, who is in her second season as head coach. “These girls just never give up, and I am so proud of them.”
“Our team fought the whole night,” added Harris. “Our effort tonight just shows all the hard work we have put in throughout the season.” As for the shootout, Harris had mixed emotions going in. “I’ve been successful in shootouts in the past, but I was nervous since this was my first shootout at Concordia,” noted Harris. “I just tried to read them right and give myself a chance, and fortunately I was able to keep a couple of them out.”
Concordia now travels to take on Hastings College in the semifinals of the GPAC Tournament. Hastings picked up a 3-0 win over the Bulldogs back in September, but if Thursday night was any sign of things to come, Concordia certainly won’t back down from the challenge.
“We can learn a lot from what we did tonight,” said Harris. “We have a lot of respect for Hastings College, but we’ll just play hard like we did tonight. We want to pressure and attack, and hopefully we’ll keep things moving in the right direction.”