Dawgs smite Flames; Stay atop the GPAC

By Chase Benton on Oct. 11, 2023 in Women's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – With storms coming in, Concordia and College of Saint Mary (CSM) gathered on the pitch one hour earlier than planned on Wednesday night (Oct. 11).  The Bulldogs came out swinging with an early goal by Sierra Springer and finished with a late score by Ashlee Trujillo, putting the game out of reach in the 2-0 victory. The home team outshot the visitors 12-2 (6-0 shots on goal), with the back line controlling the defensive third and claiming the shutout.

CUNE improved to 10-3-1 on the year and 6-1-1 to stay tied atop the GPAC late in their 2023 campaign. Hastings and Concordia share the top of the standings and have started to separate themselves from the pack with 19 points apiece. With only a handful of games left in the season, the winner of the bout this Saturday will have the lead in the final leg of the race for the GPAC regular season championship.

Head coach Nick Smith spoke on the top tier matchup between CSM and the Bulldogs. “It was a tough game for us tonight. We knew they were third in the conference table (standings). We knew it was going to be a challenge, but largely we played well tonight. Defensively, we were lights out. That starts with Grace (Soenksen) who helps secure the back line, but it’s not just her. Shelby Rugg, Hannah Kile, and Taylor Slaymaker the last couple of games have been absolutely outstanding. We are making it tough for teams to establish a rhythm and doing a good job of limiting their options.”

In the first 45 minutes, the Dawgs came out kicking, dangerously hitting the posts multiple times, on the way to a 7-1 (4-0 on goal) shot advantage. In the 17th minute, Sierra Springer intercepted a ball passed back from a Flame. Dribbling between two defenders, Springer finished a score just past the outstretched hand of the CSM goalkeeper to put Concordia up early.

With less than 10 minutes to go in the second half, the home team needed another goal to extinguish the Flames chances of finding an equalizer. Getting the nod from coach Smith, forward Ashlee Trujillo came on the field with fresh legs looking for her first collegiate goal. With Kierstynn Garner making a couple of shifty moves, she kicks a cross over to Trujillo, as the Brighton, Colorado product buried the score past the keeper, sealing the win in the final minutes. Garner tallied her fourth assist of the season with the nifty pass.

Trujillo commented on scoring her first goal as a Bulldog. “It’s a great feeling to get a goal like that. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. All the balls they have played through, and this time, I was able to get it in the back of the net.”

Goalkeeper Bradi Ore was able to get the shutout without having a save. The clean slate brings her total to four on the season, as she still sits at 29 saves. With this start, Grace Soenksen tied her sister (Esther Soenksen) with the second most starts (83) by a Bulldog on her birthday.

Concordia (10-3-1, 6-1-1 GPAC) will make the very important trip to Hastings (11-1-1, 6-1-1 GPAC) as the season starts to wind down. The two teams hit the field at 8 p.m. CT at Lloyd Wilson Field (Hastings, Neb.) on Saturday night (Oct. 14). The Dawgs lost in a tight (1-0) battle at Bulldog Stadium in 2023.