Game Preview: Bulldog Stadium to host GPAC championship for third time since 2016

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 7, 2021 in Women's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – It’s been a wild and hair-raising ride, but the Concordia University Women’s Soccer program is back in the GPAC postseason championship game. As the No. 3 seed, the Bulldogs have watched things break just right in order for them to host in every round of the tournament. Jamestown will be the next opponent to make its way to Bulldog Stadium. Kickoff on Friday is set for 7 p.m. CT.

GPAC Championship Game Info

Concordia (10-6-2) vs. Jamestown (13-7)
Friday, April 6 | 7 p.m. CT
Bulldog Stadium | Seward, Neb.
Webcast/Live Stats: Concordia Sports Network
Commentator: Frank Greene
Tickets: (also sold on site)
--Admission: $10 for adults/senior citizens, $3 for K-12; only those with NAIA passes and GPAC student ID’s will be admitted free of charge.

Fan policy: Bulldog Stadium will welcome fans for Friday’s game (up to 75 percent capacity). Per GPAC policy, fans are required to wear face coverings and are encouraged to distance themselves from other family groups.

By the numbers

·        Not since the 2017 GPAC championship game had Concordia played a postseason contest that went to a PK shootout (lost the shootout, 3-2, to Hastings). The result this time was much more favorable to the Bulldogs. Incredibly, it took eight rounds of PKs to settle the outcome in Wednesday night’s battle with rival Midland. After the Warriors misfired on their attempt on PK No. 8, junior Bethany Fuchs set off a celebration by finding the back of the net. The two sides had played to a 0-0 stalemate after 110 minutes of action.

·        Dating back to the final outing of the fall portion of the season, the Bulldogs have played six-straight games that have been decided by one-goal margins – or a penalty kick shootout. That run started with a 1-0 win over a Briar Cliff team that is currently ranked 18th in the NAIA. It continued with defeats at the hands of Southwestern College (Kan.), 1-0 (2 OT), Benedictine College (Kan.), 1-0, and Grand View University (Iowa), 2-1 (2 OT). Concordia got back in the win column last week with the triumph over Dakota Wesleyan.

·        Each of the aforementioned losses came against nonconference opponents. On the other hand, the Bulldogs own a nine-game unbeaten streak (7-0-2) versus GPAC foes. Both ties have come against Midland (Wednesday’s result is officially recorded as a draw). The wins have come against Jamestown, College of Saint Mary, Hastings, Doane, Presentation, Briar Cliff and Dakota Wesleyan. By knocking off DWU, Concordia affectively avenged one of its two GPAC regular-season defeats from the fall.

·        As one can tell by the scores, the Bulldogs had been struggling to find the back of the net heading into postseason play. Goines has said it will take a by-committee approach to get things done on the attack. Over 18 games this season, 16 different Concordia players have combined for 37 goals. Center back Callie McNary became the 16th unique goal scorer when she put the Bulldogs up 1-0 in the 19th minute versus DWU. Then in the second half, Aliyah Aldama broke a 1-1 tie with an impressive strike from roughly 30 yards out (for her third goal of the season). Aldama is one of five Bulldogs with at least three goals this season.

·        The program is no stranger to GPAC postseason success. Last season was an exception when Concordia was beaten, 4-0, in the quarterfinals by Jamestown. Prior to 2019, the Bulldogs had reached the GPAC postseason championship game five-straight years with titles coming in 2014 and 2016. During that five-year run, Concordia and Midland twice met in the GPAC semifinals (2016 and 2018) with the Bulldogs claiming 1-0 wins in both instances. In other words, Concordia has now advanced past Midland in the semifinals in three of the past five seasons.

·        The hope is to continue to extend the career of senior goalkeeper Lindsey Carley (in her fifth year in the program), one of the top keepers in school history. On the program’s all-time career keeper lists, the native of Urbandale, Iowa, ranks first in goals against average (0.911), second in shutouts (23), second in save percentage (.809), second in games played (72) and third in saves (284). Carley was named the 2017 GPAC Defensive Player of the Year.

The opponent
Based on seeding, it took two upsets for fifth-seeded Jamestown to reach the GPAC final. Head Coach Nick Becker’s squad has gone on the road for postseason wins over Hastings, 2-1, and 18th-ranked Briar Cliff, 1-0. During the regular season, the Jimmies had been beaten by both opponents. Jamestown also suffered a 2-1 overtime loss at Concordia back on Oct. 10. Through 20 games, the Jimmies have outscored their opponents by a combined total of 43-23. The team’s top goal scorer is Kamryn Fiscus, who has tallied 10 goals and 10 assists this season.

GPAC tournament results
Quarterfinals – April 3
(1) Briar Cliff def. (8) Dordt, 4-1
(5) Jamestown def. (4) Hastings, 2-1
(3) Concordia def. (6) Dakota Wesleyan, 2-1
(7) Midland def. (2) Morningside, 1-0
Semifinals – April 6
(5) Jamestown 1, (1) Briar Cliff 0
(3) Concordia 0, (7) Midland 0 (2 OT); Concordia advances on PKs
Championship – April 9
(5) Jamestown at (3) Concordia, 7 p.m.

The Concordia/Jamestown winner will earn an automatic berth to play in the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship Opening Round. The opening round will take place April 15-17 with action unfolding at campus locations.