GPAC quarterfinal preview: Concordia returns to Hastings

By Jacob Knabel on Nov. 1, 2021 in Women's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – In recent years, there’s just something about the GPAC tournament that raises the level of the Concordia University Women’s Soccer program. The sixth-seeded Bulldogs hope to rekindle the magic beginning on Thursday when they travel to play third-seeded Hastings in the GPAC quarterfinals. Kickoff from Lloyd Wilson Field is set for 7 p.m. CT. Head Coach Thomas Goines’ squad capped the regular season on Oct. 27 with a 1-0 win at Doane.

Game Info – GPAC Quarterfinals
(6) Concordia (9-6-2, 6-4-2 GPAC) at (3) Hastings (12-4-1, 8-3-1 GPAC)
Thursday, Nov. 4 | 7 p.m.
Lloyd Wilson Field | Hastings, Neb.
Live Webcast/Stats
--Admission: $10 for adults/senior citizens, $3 for K-12; only those with NAIA passes and GPAC student ID’s are admitted free of charge.

By the numbers

·        In a fall of close competition with virtually every team in the conference, Concordia placed sixth in the final GPAC regular season standings with 20 points (three points for a win and one for a tie). The Bulldogs placed behind Jamestown (11-0-1), Briar Cliff (10-1-1), Hastings (8-3-1), Midland (8-4) and Morningside (7-4-1). Based on the standings, Concordia’s best win of the season was its 1-0 home decision over Midland on Sept. 29. The Bulldogs are 6-1-1 at home this season.

·        The formula for winning games hasn’t changed a whole lot since last spring. The Bulldogs continue to get it done with grit and stellar defensive play. Through 17 regular season games, Concordia has outscored its opponents by a combined total of 23-19 while often living on the edge. Twelve of the 17 games have been decided either by one-goal margins or in draws. During the month of October, only two of the team’s eight games had a spread of more than a goal. In conference play, the Bulldogs allowed more than two goals in a game just once (3-0 loss at Briar Cliff). The team’s top goal scorers are Madeline Haugen (four) and Mikeila Martinez (three).

·        A large portion of the key players on the current roster experienced this past spring’s GPAC tournament title run. While navigating the postseason, Concordia defeated Dakota Wesleyan, 2-1, in the quarterfinals, won a PK shootout with Midland in the semifinals (after a 0-0 draw) and edged Jamestown, 2-1, in the championship. The Bulldogs have reached the GPAC final in six of the past seven seasons. During that seven-year stretch (which began in 2014), Concordia has gone a combined 13-3-3 in GPAC tournament games. The three draws each led into shootouts – two were won by the Bulldogs (2015 and 2020 semifinals). The program celebrated GPAC postseason titles in 2014, 2016 and 2020 (latter one played in the spring of 2021).

·        The collegiate career of Michaela Twito is soon to run out (after a hopeful extended run in the postseason). The goal last week at Doane marked the eighth in the career of Twito, who has also put away four game-winners (two against Doane). The Ames, Iowa, native owns the program record for career games played with 96. Twito has been named All-GPAC four times (second team once and honorable mention twice) while playing for two separate conference championship teams – 2017 regular season and 2020 postseason champs.

·        Six Concordia conference games ended in 1-0 final scores this season. That was the result on Oct. 16 when the Bulldogs played Hastings in the regular season. The Broncos enjoyed a decided advantage in the shot count (15-1) but waited until the 88th minute to find the back of the net. Dekota Schubert earned credit for the game winner. Concordia beat Hastings, 1-0, in Seward in 2020.

The opponent

Hastings has long been known as one of the GPAC’s prominent programs. Head Coach Jade Ovendale hopes to lead the Broncos back to the national tournament for the first time since 2019. Hastings is coming in hot having won its final six games of the regular season. Over 17 regular season games, the Broncos have outnumbered their opponents in goals, 39-17. Ovendale’s squad leans upon two primary goal scorers in Jacqueline Gilbert (13) and Dekota Schubert (12). Hastings last won a GPAC tournament title in 2018.

GPAC tournament pairings/schedule

The Concordia/Hastings winner will advance to play either second-seeded Briar Cliff or seventh-seeded Dakota Wesleyan in the GPAC semifinals next Tuesday (Nov. 9). The championship game is set for Friday, Nov. 12.

Quarterfinals – Thursday, Nov. 4
(8) Dordt at (1) Jamestown, 6 p.m.
(5) Morningside at (4) Midland, 7 p.m.
(6) Concordia at (3) Hastings, 7 p.m.
(7) Dakota Wesleyan at (2) Briar Cliff, 2 p.m.

Semifinals – Tuesday, Nov. 9
1/8 winner vs. 4/5 winner, time TBA
2/7 winner vs. 3/6 winner, time TBA

Championship – Friday, Nov. 12
Highest remaining seed hosts, time TBA