First-half struggles doom Bulldogs

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

SEWARD, Neb. - After first half struggles left Concordia in a 1-0 hole, the Hastings Broncos eventually got the best of the Bulldogs, claiming the 3-1 victory.

“In the first half we played really timid,” sophomore Rachel Mussell said. “At half time coach told us ‘you’re playing afraid, don’t play afraid.’ So the second half we came out and we took it to them. Although it ended up not in our favor on the scoreboard, we are excited and are looking forward to possibly playing them again in playoffs.”

Coach Lisa White shared similar insight.

“We’re a little frustrated with how the first half went,” White said. “We were a little timid and afraid. We lacked some belief. They were challenged at half time to correct that. The response in the second half I was happy with; we were a different team in the second half.”

The Bulldogs, (3-4, 1-1) came out with a spark in the second half, but fell short despite Mussell’s GPAC-leading eighth goal of the season in the 83rd minute.

Mussell talked about her scoring and the success on the field she has had this season.

“I may be the one finishing them but it’s a team effort. The way we play, our whole team puts in an effort to score a goal,” Mussell said.

White explained that while she is proud of Mussell’s efforts on the field, her teammates are just as responsible for the goals as Mussell is.

“She’s in the right place at the right time,” White said. “As a team we build up to score those goals. She’s always right there to finish them off, but it starts three or four or even five passes before that. I think she’s enjoying a little bit of the stats that come with finishing those goals, but really has an appreciation for the efforts of her teammates around her to contribute to that.”

Other Bulldogs performing well was junior goalie Jessica Clifford who stayed busy in front of the net, finishing with six saves. Junior Kayla Asche pitched in with two shots on goal, while junior Jordan Donohoue and sophomore Morgan Ihde each contributed one shot on goal apiece.

Asche’s shot on goal in the final minute necessitated a diving stop by Hastings’ Brittany Toth to preserve the two-goal lead for the Broncos, who moved to 2-0 in GPAC play. Mussell had two other shots early within the 18-yard box in the second half that missed the mark.

As for the future, the Bulldogs know they have work to do.

“We can play like we did in the second half for a whole game and to be able to play with the tenacity and as a team and as a family,” Mussell said. “Once we put that into Saturday’s game, it should be in our favor.”

Concordia will look to build on their second half as it squares off against Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday at Bulldog Stadium.