SEWARD, Neb. – Following a thrilling run to a GPAC tournament title, the Concordia University Women’s Soccer team learned of its national tournament draw on Monday (April 12) morning. The Bulldogs have been assigned to the Columbia Bracket and will play against third-ranked Keiser University (Fla.) on Thursday as part of the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship Opening Round. Kickoff from Columbia, Mo., is set for 6 p.m. CT on Thursday.
Head Coach Thomas Goines, the coaching staff and student-athletes met in the Walz Conference Center on Monday to watch the live selection show. Concordia was tagged as a No. 4 seed while Keiser is the No. 1 seed in the Columbia Bracket.
Goines will lead the Bulldogs into the national tournament in his first season at the helm of the program. Concordia made previous appearances at the national tournament opening round in 2014 and 2016. The Bulldogs traveled to West Palm Beach, Fla., and played Keiser in 2016 (result was a 2-0 loss).
Concordia plans to depart on Tuesday evening, in route to Columbia, a drive of roughly five-and-a-half hours. The Bulldogs will take an overall record of 11-6-2 into play on Thursday. Their run through the GPAC tournament included a 2-1 win over Dakota Wesleyan, a PK shootout advancement over Midland and a 2-1 victory over Jamestown in the championship game.
Concordia will find itself in an underdog role while up against the Seahawks, the defending NAIA national champions. Keiser sports a 16-2-1 overall record and is a member of The Sun Conference. Head Coach Matt Dunn’s squad earned an at-large berth after falling in The Sun Conference tournament championship game to No. 2 Southeastern University (Fla.). Keiser has racked up 87 goals in 19 games.
Columbia College is the No. 2 seed in its own bracket. The Cougars will take on third-seeded Kansas Wesleyan University at 2 p.m. on Thursday. The Concordia/Keiser winner will go head-to-head with the Columbia/Kansas Wesleyan winner for a spot in the final site. The 10 winners that emerge from the opening rounds will advance to play in Foley, Ala., April 27 – May 3.
National Tournament Facts
· Concordia is 0-2 in its two previous trips to the opening round of the national tournament. While making their first-ever appearance at nationals, the 2014 Bulldogs were defeated by ninth-ranked Benedictine College (Kan.), 4-0. Two years later, Concordia ventured to Keiser and lost by a 2-0 score. The program remains in search of its first-ever national tournament win.
· Goalkeeper Lindsey Carley is the only player on the current team that was also on the roster in 2016 when the Bulldogs last reached the national tournament. Carley redshirted that season while then starting keeper Chrissy Lind finished her standout career. The Urbandale, Iowa, native then took over the keeper role in 2017 when Concordia won the GPAC regular season title and Carley was named the GPAC Defensive Player of the Year. Unfortunately, the GPAC regular season title did not come with an automatic bid to nationals in 2017.
· Keiser is set to appear at the national tournament for the 15th time in its program’s history. The Seahawks are 22-13 all-time at the national championships. Head Coach Matt Dunn has guided Keiser to the national tournament in each of his 10 seasons at the helm of the program. Not only did the Seahawks win the 2019 national championship game, they also finished as the 2018 national runner up.