Suffocating defense key in victory

By Hunter Corneliusen on Nov. 14, 2020 in Women's Soccer

Seward, Neb. – The Concordia University Women’s Soccer team finished the regular season in style on Saturday (Nov. 14). A great defensive effort and a late goal by junior midfielder Mikeila Martinez gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 victory over Briar Cliff.

Head Coach Thomas Goines’ squad ran its unbeaten streak to seven (6-0-1 during that stretch) and has not lost since Oct. 7. The Bulldogs (9-3-1, 9-2-1 GPAC) remain in the thick of things near the top of the GPAC standings. The Bulldogs nine wins during GPAC tied the program best, which was set back in 2017.

“It has been a good run out for us,” Goines said. “We knew this was going to be a challenge and it’s a matter of winning games. Against the top of your conference it is about finding results. It was one heck of a game, back and forth and both teams had opportunities to put the game away.”

The critical moment in the victory came in the 81st minute when the Bulldogs were able to draw a foul in the box, setting up a penalty kick. Martinez then converted on her penalty kick, giving the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead and ultimately the win. The goal was Martinez’s seventh of the year.

The Concordia defense stifled the Chargers high scoring offense all day as Briar Cliff finished with just nine shots overall and two shots on goal. The Bulldogs did a great job keeping Briar Cliff forward Flor Suarez in check. Suarez entered the match with 14 goals which rank first among all GPAC players and fifth nationally. The Bulldogs executed their assignment flawlessly as Suarez finished the match without a single shot. Senior goalkeeper Lindsey Carley was perfect in two opportunities on her way to her eighth clean sheet of the season. Overall, the Bulldogs outmatched Briar Cliff 10-9 in shots overall and 6-2 in shots on goal.

“Briar Cliff is one of the best defensive teams in the conference,” Goines added. “They make your entire team defend. They have the best striker in the conference, so we had to focus on denying her as well. They are not a one-trick show. It took all four of our backs to keep them at bay to look for our chances and opportunities as well.”

The Bulldog senior class is on pace to finish their career as one of the winningest classes in Concordia history with a career record of 43-19-12.

Head Coach Thomas Goines’ .731 regular-season winning percentage ranks first all-time among first-year coaches in Concordia women’s soccer history. Goines had orchestrated an impressive turnaround from the Bulldogs 6-11-2 mark a year ago.

The Bulldogs are waiting to see how the rest of the season plays out before they know their fate in the GPAC postseason tournament. The Bulldogs are currently tied in first place with Morningside at 28 points apiece. Briar Cliff is right behind in third with 25 points. Concordia has played one more game than Morningside and two more games than Briar Cliff. Therefore, the GPAC title hunt will not be over until Morningside and Briar Cliff finish their regular season matches. 

Today’s match concludes the fall portion of the schedule for Concordia. The Bulldogs will be back on the field in the spring of 2021 as they compete in the GPAC postseason tournament. The tournament was postponed to the spring due to COVID 19 complications. The dates for the GPAC tournament have yet to be determined.