SEWARD, Neb. – Maria Deeter wasted little time getting her senior season off to a rousing start. She knocked home a pair of goals in the opening 10 minutes of Saturday (Aug. 25)’s season opener against visiting Tabor College (Kan.). On a sunny and humid afternoon, the early goals proved to be enough thanks to another stifling defensive effort. The Concordia University women’s soccer team won, 4-1.
Sixth-year head coach Greg Henson’s program continues to be dominant at home. The Bulldogs were 9-1-1 inside Bulldog Stadium in 2017.
“We wanted to get the first game jitters out of the way right away and get off to a good start on the season,” Henson said. “We didn’t know a whole lot about Tabor coming into the match and what to expect. I was really happy to see us get those first two goals. I thought our pace dropped off a little bit after that but after making some substitutions and bringing in some fresh legs, I thought we picked up nicely.”
By the nine-minute mark, Concordia already held a 2-0 advantage courtesy of Deeter’s 24th and 25th career goals. The first came off Lauren Martin’s corner kick that conveniently found Deeter in the box. Martin also set up the team’s second and third goals. From just outside the eight-yard box, senior Kaylee Brown drilled a goal to the right of the keeper for the third goal of her career.
Henson felt like his team should have been able to widen the margin from there. The Bulldogs took a 3-0 lead to the halftime break but saw the Bluejays get within two (3-1) after Allison Cubbon got in behind the back line and slotted the ball over the goal line. It was the only shot Tabor mustered all day. Concordia has hung its hat on stellar defensive play in recent seasons and has the advantage of returning GPAC Defensive Player of the Year Lindsey Carley.
Tabor gifted the Bulldogs an own goal in the 85th minute to essentially put the game away. The ball was placed in a dangerous spot via a free kick by freshman Cheyenne Smith, who won a starting spot at a center back position alongside Chelsea Bright. Smith’s ball struck a Bluejay, glanced off the left post and slid across the goal line.
Concordia doesn’t plan on having to count on such luck moving forward. They departed the steamy Bulldog Stadium turf feeling like they have another gear to reach.
“Be 90 minutes fit,” said Lauren Martin in response to what can be improved upon. “It’s hard with the heat right now, but we need to come out and perform for 90 minutes. We can’t slow down. We can’t take it easy. It has to be at our pace at all times – and at our skill level.”
The Bulldogs easily won in the shot department, 16-1. Deeter came close to recording a hat trick when her header attempt was saved in the second half. Freshman Madeline Haugen also fired three shots, including one on frame. Haugen joined Smith and Mikeila Martinez as one of three freshmen in the starting 11.
The Bulldogs will be back at home on Wednesday (Aug. 29) to host MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.). Kickoff in Seward is set for 7 p.m. CT. The two programs last met in 2016 with the result being a 2-2 double overtime draw in a contest that took place in the Kansas City area.