FREMONT, Neb. – The Concordia University women’s soccer program has a way of rising to the occasion when playing premier opponents within the conference. The latest showdown proved no different. The Bulldogs made a 42nd-minute goal from freshman Kaitlyn Radebaugh stand up in a 1-0 upset of 18th-ranked Midland
This win was a big one. Fifth-year head coach Greg Henson’s squad remains atop the GPAC standings. Concordia is now 11-2-3 overall and 7-0-1 (22 points) in conference play with two games to go in the regular season.
“We wanted to come out and treat it like a playoff game,” Henson said. “It was definitely two good teams competing. It was a playoff kind of atmosphere. This was the best team we faced in a while so that was kind of a concern going in as far as playing a high-level opponent.
“In the second half, I thought girls did a great job of managing the game and seeing out the victory.”
According to the Modified Ratings Percentage Index released today (Oct. 18) by the NAIA, the contest featured 19th-ranked Midland against the 72nd-ranked Bulldogs. If the games were played on paper, Concordia wouldn’t be able to claim two of the past three GPAC tournament championships (2014 and 2016). On this night, the Bulldogs were just a little bit better than a Warrior outfit that outshot the visitors, 14-7. One Midland strike in the first half drilled the crossbar, keeping the game scoreless.
Midland (10-2-2, 4-1-2 GPAC) has been nationally ranked since Sept. 12, but now finds its GPAC regular-season title hopes severely crippled. Though the Warriors have played one less game than Concordia, they have now fallen eight points out of first place in the league standings.
Not much in the plan of attack changed after Radebaugh’s goal put the Bulldogs in front heading into the break. However, Concordia wasn’t going to be disappointed by a defensive-oriented second half that limited attacking opportunities for Midland.
“Going into the second half we wanted to continue to play and try to get the next goal,” Henson said. “We wanted that second goal but at the same time, we wanted to be smart defensively and not take unnecessary chances. As the clock wound down we went to more of a defensive lineup.”
Lindsey Carley (five saves) played all 90 minutes in goal, helping the Bulldogs earn their seventh shutout in conference play. Despite breaking in new starting keepers this season, Concordia has been one of the nation’s stingiest teams.
Beating foes pulling in national votes is not a new thing for the Bulldogs. Last season they took down a ‘receiving votes’ Midland in the GPAC semifinals. Concordia also got past No. 16 Hastings in the conference semifinals in 2015 and topped No. 16 Bellevue University that same year.
The Bulldogs will play on the road for the final time this regular season when Saturday’s action from Sioux Center, Iowa, gets underway at 1 p.m. CT. Dordt (10-5, 5-2 GPAC) will serve as the opponent. The improving Defenders were ranked fourth in the official GPAC poll released on Monday by the NAIA. Concordia earned a 4-0 win at Dordt last season.
Henson says this is no time to look ahead to next week’s regular-season finale with No. 20 Hastings. “Dordt’s having a great season and we know they’re going to be a difficult opponent,” Henson said. “I told the girls after the game that there’s no other games on the schedule but this Saturday. That’s the only one that matters right now.”