SEWARD, Neb. – For the fifth time in conference play, the Concordia University women’s soccer team failed to find the back of the net. Visiting Briar Cliff dodged several Bulldog bullets and got the game winner from Makenna Taylor with just 32 seconds remaining in regulation, allowing the Chargers to escape town with a 1-0 victory on Saturday afternoon.
All four GPAC losses suffered by Concordia have come by a 1-0 score. Third-year head coach Greg Henson’s squad fell to 8-5-1 overall and 2-4-1 in GPAC.
“I think we did well in certain aspects of the game,” Henson said. “We continue to do well in building an attack out of the back and in the middle third. I felt we did a better job creating attacks in the offensive third. We just weren’t able to finish those attacks we did create.
“We really have to put a focus on capitalizing on our chances to be able to put balls away and put games away. You leave teams in the game and bad things happen at the end. That was the case today.”
The Bulldogs fell despite dominating possession in the second half. In one 45-second sequence, Leigha McConnell drove a point-blank shot off the fingertips of Briar Cliff goalkeeper Libby Havenridge. On the ensuing corner kick from Maria Deeter, Kristin Manley’s header flew just above the crossbar. Concordia also put pressure on the Chargers in the final seconds, but fell short of an equalizing goal.
The Bulldogs had to scramble in the 90th minute after Taylor tucked the ball inside the left post to beat goalkeeper Chrissy Lind, who made a diving effort. It was an impressive run by Taylor, who stole the ball from a Bulldog and then dribbled 20 yards around a pair of defenders and drilled a shot from the top of the 18 and into the net.
It proved to be all Briar Cliff (6-6-1, 3-3-1 GPAC) needed to steal one on the road in the face of a 15-5 disadvantage in shots. Three different Bulldogs nearly equaled Briar Cliff’s team shot output as Ashley Martin, Jordan McCoy and Ashley Martin each notched three shots.
Neither team registered a single shot through the opening 15 minutes until a McCoy attack followed a long Jeannelle Condame free kick into the box in the 16th minute. Briar Cliff finally got off a weak shot easily saved by Lind in the 22nd minute.
Early in the second half, Skerston had a one-on-one with the keeper after getting behind the defense. Her shot sailed high over the crossbar. Roughly 10 minutes later Skerston got loose for another shot in the box but was called offsides.
Right now Concordia is looking for answers to its goal-scoring troubles. The Bulldogs have three goals over the first seven games of conference play.
“We need a player to step up and make a play to put us ahead,” Henson said. “It goes back to goal scoring. We’re competitive with everybody in the conference. I think we’re capable of beating anyone in the conference. Until we put the ball in the back of the net it’s not going to happen.”
The Bulldogs will close out the road portion of their regular-season schedule next week with trips to Doane (4-9, 2-5 GPAC) and Dakota Wesleyan (2-12, 0-7 GPAC). Wednesday’s tilt at Doane is scheduled to get started at 5 p.m. from Crete. Concordia won both meetings with the rival Tigers last season.