JAMESTOWN, N.D. – A lot has been on the line every time the Concordia University women’s soccer team has stepped on the field. Unfortunately, a lead the Bulldogs had held for more than 25 minutes of play in the second half fell by the wayside in a contest that concluded with a 1-1 draw in double overtime at Jamestown on Saturday (Oct. 20). It was the first meeting between the two programs since a 3-2 Concordia win over the Jimmies in 2013.
The tie means that sixth-year head coach Greg Henson’s squad lost its grip on sole possession of first place in the GPAC standings. The Bulldogs (11-1-4, 8-0-2 GPAC) are now locked in a three-way tie for first with Hastings and Midland.
“I thought we came out well,” Henson said. “We knew it was a situation where both teams are talented programs and both teams would be able to possess the ball. I thought that was really how the game played out. There were periods of time where we had it and looked dangerous and periods where they had it and looked dangerous. It was a good midfield battle between two good teams.”
Henson was curious to see how his team would respond on the road against a quality opponent after a run of four-straight wins by comfortable margins. Concordia got a boost off the bench from junior Becky Freeman, who delivered the game’s first goal. It came in the 49th minute, supplying a lead that would last until the 75th minute.
That was right about the time things started to break down. Senior captain Maria Deeter left the game with an injury not long before Lateasha Hughes knocked in the equalizer off a corner kick. Suddenly, the Bulldogs were placed on their heels. The Jimmies (9-5-2, 6-2-2 GPAC) had a 6-3 shot advantage during the second half that put Concordia’s GPAC unbeaten streak at risk.
Reigning GPAC Defensive Player of the Year Lindsey Carley rose to the occasion and ensured that the Bulldogs would add at least one point in the GPAC standings. She made two notable saves down the stretch, including one in the 85th minute. She denied a shot by Gabriella Diarte. Carley was credited for three saves on the afternoon.
“She made the save of the year to this point in the season,” Henson said. “She proved why she was the defensive player of the year. We haven’t called upon her to have to make those types of saves too much this season, but she stepped up and gave us a chance to win the game in overtime. She made two saves that really counted.”
Concordia ended up with an 11-8 advantage in the overall shot count. Tori Cera managed to put a shot on frame in the second overtime that was saved by Jamestown keeper Lauren Sayler. Henson made mention of Cera for her work at center back and of Mikeila Martinez and Michaela Twito for controlling play in the middle of the field.
Now possessing a 25-game GPAC regular-season unbeaten streak (22-0-3), the Bulldogs have work to do in the final week of the regular season if they are to defend their 2017 conference title. Concordia will be headed to 20th-ranked Midland (11-1-2, 8-0-2 GPAC) on Wednesday for a crucial showdown in Fremont. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. CT.
Said Henson, “We still control our own destiny and have two more games to go in the regular season to try to win the conference championship. As I told the players, there’s no reason to hang their heads. The fight and the effort was there.”