Dawgs drop match in semifinal to Midland

By Chase Benton on Nov. 7, 2023 in Women's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – The two-seeded Bulldogs hosted the three-seeded Warriors on Tuesday night (Nov. 7) for the chance to go to the finals in the GPAC tournament for the first time since 2020. Concordia was unable to get the offense going, as Grace Soenksen and the back line had to defend a majority of the match, giving up a goal in each half for the 2-0 loss in Bulldog Stadium. Concordia tied for the fifth most wins in a season (13) in program history. CUNE leaped from seventh place in the GPAC in 2022 to second place in 2023. The Bulldogs 48 of the team's 51 goals were scored by underclassmen. The other three scorers were seniors Soenksen, Hannah Haas, and Kassidy Johnson.

The 2023 team will likely end their season with a 13-4-3 overall record in Head Coach Nick Smith’s first season. Coach Smith commented on struggling to dictate play and excitement for the future.

“It was a tough game for us tonight. They played in a shape that we had expected, but we struggled to dictate play like we did over the course of the season. We crafted ourselves some really quality chances. Unfortunately, when you don’t take those chances this time of year, you are going to be the loser. This group exceeded the expectations I had for this year. The excitement I have is the program moving forward. I knew we had a young and talented group. We have a group that can compete at this level. We have a group that can win a championship at this level. It was just unfortunate to run into a team that was playing really well tonight.”

Midland came out shooting, which put the Bulldogs continually on their heels in the first half, with a shot advantage (6-1) in favor of the visitors. Forward Sydney Herren came on in relief of Ami Lewis, scoring in the 36th minute of the match and the eventual game winner.

GPAC’s leading scorer Kierstynn Garner was constantly surrounded as the Warriors focused on trying to eliminate the offensive juggernaut. Concordia built to their attacking third many times but was unable to find the equalizer in the second half.

As time started to become a factor in the final minutes, the Warriors found a second goal by Addison Castellanos via feed from Herren.

Goalkeeper Bradi Ore kept the Dawgs in the match with four saves and was kept busy a lot of the night with the 12 total shots of the visitors.

Fifth year senior Grace Soenksen played her 92nd career game for the women’s soccer team tonight. She's a three-time First Team All-GPAC award winner, team captain, and leader.

With the conference tournament coming to a close for Concordia, the 2023 season will likely be finished barring a national tournament bid once the conference tournaments are concluded.