CRETE, Neb. – Doane’s star player got loose on Wednesday night and Concordia women’s soccer had no answer. The host Tigers (3-7, 2-3 GPAC) came from behind for a 3-1 victory in Crete, Neb. The Bulldogs dropped to 6-5-1 overall and 2-2 in GPAC action.
“They were the better team,” Concordia head coach Greg Henson said. “We just got outplayed today. Doane is a good team and all the credit goes to them. Their record doesn’t reflect how good they are.”
Concordia got on the board first as junior Ashlie Sklenicka drilled her fourth goal of the season early in the 11th minute. Things looked good considering the Bulldogs entered play with a record of 5-0-1 when scoring first.
However, Doane equalized soon after as standout sophomore forward Sara Cushing struck for her first of two first-half goals in the 17th minute. Cushing, who led the GPAC with 22 goals last season, added another goal in the 32nd minute to put the Tigers in front for good.
Cushing completed the hat trick with a dagger of a goal with 7:25 left in the game, providing the final tally of the contest as Concordia focused more numbers into the offensive attack. That pushed the Papillion, Neb., native’s season goal count to 11.
“We made a few mistakes and when you’re up against a player like that, you can’t make mistakes,” Henson said. “She’ll punish you. She’s a good player.”
Junior Melissa Stine gave the Bulldogs a great chance on goal midway through the second half when she fired a strong shot. However, Doane keeper Kelsey Stark made a nifty save, knocking the ball away with one hand.
The Tigers finished with 17 shots to Concordia’s 14. Doane also held a slight 8-7 advantage in shots on goal.
“They stifled a few of our good chances,” Henson said. “We played much better in the second half, we just weren’t able to equalize. There are definitely some things we can improve upon but there are also some positives as we move forward to Nebraska Wesleyan.”
Wednesday’s game marked the third-straight time that Henson has used four freshmen in the starting lineup. Freshman defender Megan Brunssen has started each of the first 12 games, Kristin Manley has started nine, first-year goalkeeper Chrissy Lind has started six times and rookie Jordan McCoy has three starts.
Sklenicka finished with four shots – all on goal – to lead Concordia. Junior forward Rachel Mussell fired off three shots.
Doane has won four-straight decisions against Concordia, including two wins last year over the Bulldogs. The two teams met in the quarterfinals of last year’s GPAC Tournament.
The Bulldogs will play host on Saturday for homecoming when Nebraska Wesleyan (6-2-3, 3-1-1 GPAC) visits Seward for a 5 p.m. kickoff. Concordia women’s soccer is sandwiched between home football at 1 p.m. and home men’s soccer at 7:30 p.m. Bulldog women’s soccer carries a four-game unbeaten streak against the Prairie Wolves. Last season the two teams played to a 1-1 draw in Lincoln.