Hot start leads to victory over Jamestown in conference quarterfinals

By Chase Benton on Nov. 2, 2023 in Women's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – Just a season ago, Concordia women’s soccer program was knocked out of last year’s GPAC tournament in the first round as a No. 7 seed. The Dawgs flipped the script, earning a No. 2 seed and aligning their path with seventh-seeded Jamestown for their quarterfinal clash. Raining down 18 total shots, Concordia scored two in the first half and held on for their first conference tournament victory (2-1) since winning the postseason tournament in 2020.

First year Head Coach Nick Smith’s squad has now won 13 games (13-3-3), which hasn’t been accomplished since 2018.  Coach Smith commented on the match and growing confidence in his young team.

“I thought our first half was good. We played really well, created chances, and were able to score two big goals. I thought the second half we battled, considering we gave up an early goal. We were moving the ball really well. In the first half, I thought we were good at finding our wide players and we have a front group that is dangerous. We are a young group and we got through the second half with confidence. We have a group that is learning the game and the level (of play). The more we get ourselves into meaningful games like this, the more belief will grow in our group.”

 The No. 2 seed looked comfortable under the lights at Bulldog Stadium, asserting their offensive dominance by scoring on their second shot of the match. Ruiz seized the ball in the box and created room for herself, crushing the first goal past the keeper in the early going. She spoke about her first goal since September and how the team is growing on the offensive end.

“It felt really good. Everyone around me was telling me to shoot it, so I did and it went in. Within our team, communication and effort have gone way up. I feel like we have matured as a team as well. We play off each other more and our energy goes up the more games we play.”

Piling on a 10-2 shot advantage in the first 45 minutes, Andrews found her chance in the 36th minute to score off a rebounded save and knocked in her second goal in two games. The Bulldogs have now totaled 51 goals this season, growing immensely from last season’s 33.

Coming out of the locker rooms, the Jimmies' offense revealed a pulse with a goal less than two minutes off the clock.

The side for the home team tried to answer with three consecutive shots but was unable to break through for a third score. Goalkeeper Bradi Ore collected two massive saves, keeping the Jimmies from the equalizer. Taylor Slaymaker and Grace Soenksen silenced a majority of their chances, as the final minutes of time ticked off the clock.

Concordia will host the third-seeded Midland on Tuesday (Nov. 7) in Bulldog Stadium. The Warriors moved to the semifinals by defeating sixth-seeded CSM 4-0. The two teams tied in their first match (1-1) in Seward in late Sept.