SEWARD, Neb. – After contending for a GPAC regular season title, the Concordia University Women’s Soccer program has been rewarded with eight 2020 All-GPAC awards, as announced by the conference on Thursday (Dec. 17). The group includes a pair of first team All-GPAC honorees in junior Mikeila Martinez and sophomore Grace Soenksen, as well as a second team choice in sophomore Allee Downing. Five Bulldogs picked honorable mention accolades: sophomore Jaiden Beecher, senior Lindsey Carley, junior Madeline Haugen, junior Cheyenne Smith and senior Michaela Twito.
In his first season leading the Bulldogs, Head Coach Thomas Goines guided the 2020 team to a league record of 9-2-1 (9-3-1 overall) and a tie for second place in the GPAC standings. Concordia has earned the right to host a GPAC quarterfinal game when the postseason takes place in the spring of 2021.
A native of Fairfield, Calif., Martinez enjoyed a breakout season in an attacking midfield role. The first team recognition marks the first all-conference award of her career. Martinez paced the Bulldogs with seven goals, including two game winners, this fall. She also added three assists. Martinez produced two goals in separate games against Mount Marty, Jamestown and Midland. Her PK goal in the season finale lifted Concordia over GPAC regular season champion Briar Cliff.
One of five siblings to have played soccer at Concordia, Soenksen moved up from honorable mention status as a freshman. From her center back position, the Lincoln native has been a key factor in the program’s ability to limit opposing attackers. Soenksen played in 12 games this fall while contributing to eight clean sheets. She also added a goal and two assists and was named the GPAC Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 29.
A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Downing joined Soenksen along the back line as an outside back. Following 1-0 wins over College of Saint Mary and Hastings, Downing was honored as the GPAC Defensive Player of the Week. As Goines noted, Downing very rarely was beaten by the opposition via dribble or service. In 32 career games at Concordia, Downing has recorded two goals and one assist.
Named the 2017 GPAC Defensive Player of the Year, Carley has added yet another honor to her impressive career ledger. The Urbandale, Iowa, native ended the fall with a shutout of Briar Cliff and was tabbed GPAC Defensive Player of the Week. On the season, Carley has made 34 saves, owns an .810 save percentage and ranks 25th nationally in goals against average (.630). On the program’s all-time goalkeeper record book, Carley ranks No. 1 in goals against average (0.91), second in games played (67), second in minutes played (6,113), second in shutouts (22), second in save percentage (.811) and third in saves (266).
A four-year starter, Twito has earned four All-GPAC honors in her career. The midfielder from Ames, Iowa, started all 13 games this fall as one of the team’s most dependable players. In 73 career games, Twito owns five goals. Smith (Alpine, Calif.) has twice been named honorable mention all-conference as a Bulldog. Smith has posted three goals and two assists this season. Meanwhile, Beecher (Omaha, Neb.) and Haugen (San Diego, Calif.) have both picked up All-GPAC honors for the first time. Beecher ranks second on the team with four goals. Haugen has chipped in with two goals and four assists.