By Sam Firminhac, Athletic Communications
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Concordia University Women’s Soccer team came up empty as it traveled to Sioux City, Iowa, to take on GPAC leader Briar Cliff on Wednesday (Oct. 20). The Bulldogs were shut out for their second consecutive match, falling, 3-0, in a contest played at Memorial Field due to a late location change. Concordia could not contain the offensive exploits of Flor Suarez.
Head Coach Thomas Goines's squad fell to 7-6-2 overall (4-4-2 GPAC) with only two games left in the regular season. Briar Cliff improved its already impressive record to 11-1 overall as they sit atop the GPAC (10-0 leaugue mark) heading down the final stretch of the season.
“I thought we limited their good, quality scoring chances,” Goines said. “It took a special player like Flor Suarez to break us down on some really quality finishes. That was really the difference. They had a special player who had a special day. The run of play was fairly even. We created a handful of chances and just couldn’t put anything in the back of the net.”
The impenetrable Briar Cliff defense made it hard for Concordia to get shots off, only managing to put up three shots compared to the Chargers’ 10. The Bulldogs had won the previous two meetings with Briar Cliff, winning in a 1-0 nail-biter last season in Seward. This was a homecoming for Sioux City East High School alum Alle Downing, a central figure for the Concordia back line.
There wasn't much to look at on paper for the Bulldogs from an attacking perspective. Concordia goalkeeper Kalie Ward made two saves out of five shots on goal. The Briar Cliff defense was aggressive and physical, mounting up a total of 11 fouls. Chargers’ goalkeeper Darrien Sclafani continued her stellar year with two saves while earning credit for the shutout. The Bulldogs back line had its hands full with Suarez, the reigning GPAC Offensive Player of the Year. She was the star for Briar Cliff netting, two goals and an assist in the contest. The Chargers got their goals in the 16th, 44th and 54th minutes.
“We talked to them afterwards and it’s obviously disappointing to lose at Hastings and then here,” Goines said. “Briar Cliff presented a challenge that we knew about coming into it. Going forward, the playoffs start now. We have to win to stay in the fight. We don’t have the luxury of worrying about what seed we are – we have to win two games to guarantee we get into the conference tournament. Our playoffs start now so that’s how we have to approach the rest of the season.”
The Bulldogs will travel back to Seward for their final home game of the regular season, featuring a matchup with Presentation (2-8-1, 1-7 GPAC). Concordia has dominated the Saints, outscoring them 14-0 in their past three meetings. The contest will take place inside Bulldog Stadium at 5:30 p.m. CT on Saturday. A group of seven Bulldog seniors will be recognized prior to kickoff.