GAME NOTES: No. 16 women’s soccer to open GPAC play on the road

SEWARD, Neb. – The No. 16 Concordia women’s soccer team will travel to Orange City, Iowa to take on Northwestern College Saturday, Sept. 26. Kickoff is slated for 5 p.m. for the Bulldogs’ GPAC opener.

No. 16 Concordia University (6-1) at Northwestern College (3-3-1)
Saturday, Sept. 26 | 5 p.m. CT
Site: Soccer Field Complex in Orange City, Iowa
Webcast: Stretch Internet 

Last time out
Last week, the Bulldogs hosted York College before heading to Colorado for back-to-back games. Coach Greg Henson’s squad was undefeated on the week, outscoring opponents, 10-2. In the contest vs York College, the Bulldogs defeated the Panthers, 5-1 on Tuesday, Sept. 15. On Saturday, Sept. 19, CUNE prevailed over Sterling College, 2-1 when sophomore Esther Soenksen recorded her 10th goal of the season. Then on the very next day, the Bulldogs were successful in completing a 2-0 trip to Colorado. The Lady Bulldogs were once again the victors, coming out on top, 3-0 over Johnson & Wales University. In that contest, freshman Maddie Otten scored her first collegiate goal while Jessica Skerston scored her fourth and fifth goals of the year in the victory.

Bulldogs in the rankings
Concordia University women’s soccer continues to gravitate to new heights. On Tuesday the Bulldogs jumped five spots in the national poll to No. 16, a position that again ranks as the highest placement in program history. Head coach Greg Henson led Concordia women’s soccer to its first-ever national ranking (No. 24) last season after the Bulldogs defeated conference regular-season champion Hastings in the GPAC tournament championship game.

Concordia, which owns the best overall record (21-4-4) among GPAC teams since the beginning of 2014, is ranked first among its conference rivals. Preseason league favorite Hastings (3-4) dropped back nine spots from the preseason national poll and now sits at No. 22. Concordia has played two teams that remain nationally ranked: No. 6 Benedictine College and No. 15 Bellevue University. The Bulldogs defeated Bellevue, 2-1, in Seward on Aug. 29.

Skerston grabs GPAC Player of the Week honors
Sophomore Jessica Skerston was named the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Women’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week announced Tuesday, Sept. 22. Skerston received the award after racking up three goals and two assists over three games last week. The recognition is the sophomore’s second GPAC weekly honor.

GPAC individual rankings
Megan Brunssen – assists per game, tied for fifth (0.43); total assists, tied for fourth (3)

Jeannelle Condame – assists per game, tied for ninth (0.33); total assists, tied for ninth (2)

Chrissy Lind – goals against average, second (1.07)

Jessica Skerston – points per game, fourth (1.86); total points, fourth (13); goals per game, tied for seventh (0.71); total goals, tied for fourth (5); assists per game, tied for fifth (0.43); total assists, tied for fifth (3); shots per game, fifth (4.14); shots on goal per game, fifth (2.29)

Esther Soenksen – points per game, first (3.29); total points, first (23); goals per game, first (1.43); total goals, first (10); assists per game, tied for fifth (0.43); total assists, tied for fifth (3); shots per game, third (4.43); shots on goal per game, third (2.29); game winning goals per game, tied for fourth (0.29); total game winning goals, tied for second (2)

National individual rankings
Esther Soenksen – points per game, 16th (3.29); total points, tied for 11th (23); goals per game, 12th (1.43); total goals, tied for eighth (10); shots on goal per game, 18th (3.14)

“Our goal coming into the weekend was to be 6-1 heading into conference play. It’s good to get away from home and have an opportunity for some team bonding and pick up two quality wins. Today it took a little bit to settle in, but once we did it became a bit easier. We did some good things. We managed the game and preserved the shutout, which we weren’t able to do yesterday (Sept. 19).”

-Head coach Greg Henson after the win vs Johnson & Wales University

Scouting the Northwestern College Red Raiders
The Red Raiders of Northwestern College are currently 3-3-1 on the season. So far this season, the Raiders have taken 92 shots, scoring 22 times for a .098 goal to shot percentage. Scoring opportunities have been spread out amongst different Raiders with four taking at least 15 shots. The keeper for Northwestern, Naomi Schimmel, has tallied 34 saves with a .739 save percentage. The Red Raiders are led by head coach Ben Karnish who is in his third year at Northwestern College. Karnish is assisted by Matt Dowie, Harri Edwards and Matt Cranson.

Up next on the pitch
Next week, the No. 16 Concordia Bulldogs will compete in two games, first traveling to Hastings College. The 7 p.m. kickoff is set to take place on Wednesday, Sept. 30. On Saturday, Oct. 3, Concordia will welcome Dordt College to Bulldog Stadium for a 5:30 p.m. start time.