Game Preview: Concordia-Keiser to meet in Opening Round for second time

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 13, 2021 in Women's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – The last time the Concordia University Women’s Soccer program qualified for the national tournament, it went up against Keiser University (Fla.). The same two sides will get together on Thursday as part of the Columbia Bracket of the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship Opening Round. The Bulldogs are the No. 4 seed in the bracket while the Seahawks garnered the No. 1 seed in Columbia. Keiser sports the No. 3 overall ranking in the NAIA coaches’ poll.

Opening Round Info

Concordia (11-6-2) vs. No. 3 Keiser (16-2-1)
Thursday, April 15 | 6 p.m. CT
R. Marvin Owens Field | Columbia, Mo.
Webcast: Columbia College Athletics ($9.99/game)
Live Stats: Dakstats
--Tickets: 2 guests per member of travel party (must be on the list submitted by each institution); cost is $5 for adults & students.

Fan policy: Only two guests per member of each travel party will be allowed inside the facility. Fans in attendance are required to wear masks.

By the numbers

·        Head Coach Thomas Goines has led Concordia to a national tournament appearance in his first season at the helm of the program. The postseason path to an NAIA championships berth included a GPAC quarterfinal win over Dakota Wesleyan, 2-1, a PK shootout semifinal advancement past Midland (0-0 draw) and a 2-1 championship game win over Jamestown. Incredibly, the Bulldogs have advanced to the GPAC tournament final in six of the past seven seasons with championships celebrated in 2014, 2016 and 2020. The program also captured the GPAC regular season title in 2017.

·        Concordia is getting set for the program’s third all-time appearance at the national tournament. In prior appearances, the Bulldogs fell at ninth-ranked Benedictine College (Kan.), 4-0, in 2014 and dropped a 2-0 decision at No. 3 Keiser in 2016. The head coach of Concordia for both of those national tournament trips was Greg Henson (now the head coach at NCAA Division II Ferris State University). The program continues to seek both its first win and first goal scored on the national stage.

·        The starting goalkeeper for the national tournament games in 2014 and 2016 was Chrissy Lind, the school’s all-time record holder in shutouts (and a number of other categories). Current keeper Lindsey Carley is the only member of the active roster to have also been a part of the 2016 team. The Urbandale, Iowa, native redshirted the 2016 campaign and then took on a starting role beginning in 2017 when she was named the GPAC Defensive Player of the Year. Carley has been in goal for all but roughly 50 minutes of this entire season.

·        It will be a challenge to find the back of the net against a Keiser squad that has allowed just 13 goals in 19 games this season. Concordia has taken on a committee approach when it comes to goal scoring. There were four unique goal scorers during the GPAC postseason run: Callie McNary, Aliyah Aldama, Cheyenne Smith and Bethany Fuchs. A transfer from Western Nebraska Community College, Fuchs played the role of hero in the semifinals by drilling the clinching PK. She also earned credit for the game winning goal in the GPAC title game. Fuchs is one of nine Bulldogs with multiple goals for the season.

·        Concordia is seeded 37th among the 40 national qualifiers. The Bulldogs have gone up against two other national qualifiers this season: they defeated 20th-ranked Briar Cliff, 1-0, and dropped a 1-0 decision at 24th-ranked Benedictine. The win over Briar Cliff ended the fall portion of the season. Concordia is a different team now. Five players (three starters) who saw action in that particular game have not played in the postseason. After three-straight losses leading up to the GPAC tournament, the Bulldogs have found a formula for success with a new-look lineup.

The opponent
As the No. 3 ranked team in the NAIA, Keiser has aspirations of another deep national tournament run. The Seahawks have qualified for the national tournament in all 10 seasons of Head Coach Matt Dunn’s tenure. He led the program to a 2019 NAIA national title and a 2018 national runner up claim. The program has been built with a strong international influence. The program’s roster currently includes 20 student-athletes from Sweden, two from Japan, two from Norway, one from Denmark, one from Germany, one from Iceland and one from Switzerland. Keiser has outscored its opponents by a combined total of 87-13 this season. The Seahawks boast a trio of double-digit goal scorers: Maja Lundman (12), Alicia Drott (12) and Maja Henriksson (10).

Columbia Bracket
Thursday, April 15
Game 1 – (2) Columbia College vs. (3) Kansas Wesleyan University, 2 p.m.
Game 2 – (1) Keiser University vs. (4) Concordia University, 6 p.m.
Saturday, April 17
Bracket Championship, 1 p.m.

Columbia College is one of 10 opening round sites in the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship. Columbia is seeded 15th overall while Kansas Wesleyan is seeded 28th. The champion of the Columbia Bracket will advance to the final site in Foley, Ala., where action will begin on April 27. More information about the championship can be found HERE.