SEWARD, Neb. – After stumbling in the second half three days earlier, the Concordia University women’s soccer team hoped for the return of its typically stingy defensive play in Saturday’s GPAC home opener. Second-year head coach Greg Henson got exactly that from his Bulldog team, which earned its fifth shutout of the season in a 1-0 blanking of visiting Morningside.
Concordia, 2-1 at home, has now won six of its last seven games and is 7-2 overall and 2-0 in conference play.
“Those are good lessons to get in nonconference games,” Henson said of the loss to College of Saint Mary. “We were able to rebound today. Morningside’s a good team. We knew it was going to be a tough battle. We were really pleased with the effort today.”
No player was more active on the attacking end than sophomore Jordan McCoy. Her aggressiveness paid off in the 75th minute when she delivered a line drive into the back of the net. McCoy’s four shots on goal were a game high. Said humbly by McCoy of the goal, “I think it was a lucky shot.”
The goal McCoy cashed in looked similar to her run at the goal early in the second half as she dribbled down the left flank. A well-struck shot was corralled by goalkeeper Britney Kleinhesselink, who was kept busy by McCoy alone.
“She’s been dealing with an injury that’s slowed her a little bit,” Henson said. “What she brings to the table is an incredible work ethic and pace down the wing. She was finally able to get that explosiveness back and able to get behind Morningside’s defense on a number of occasions.”
The Bulldogs finished with 16 shots compared to 15 for the Mustangs, but serious threats from Morningside were few in number. Concordia goalkeeper Chrissy Lind earned the shutout by making five saves.
Not only did Henson get McCoy back in his starting lineup, Saturday also saw the return from injury of senior captain Katrina Muther. She played all 90 minutes as a wing back, contributing to Concordia’s staunch defensive effort.
“She’s a great asset in the back,” McCoy said. “We really needed her back there with her runs. She’s basically an offensive player as well as a defensive player so she’s really helping us a lot.”
Not long prior to McCoy’s goal, two nifty through balls from Emmalyn Rodriguez to Melissa Stine were denied by Kleinhesselink. In both instances Stine slipped behind the defense as the Mustangs kept Concordia off the scoreboard for the time being.
While the likes of McCoy, Stine and Ashlie Sklenicka combined for 13 of the Bulldogs’ 16 shots, the Mustangs did a nice job marking Concordia leading goal scorer Jessica Skerston, who was held without a goal for the first time in her career. Skerston did not take a single shot on Saturday.
One of Morningside’s most promising chances came roughly 20 minutes in when an errant pass eluded a sprinting wing attacker. Amy Grause led the Mustangs with five shots, including three on goal.
The Bulldogs complete a run of three-straight home games with Wednesday’s contest versus York College (1-8) in what will be the final nonconference tilt of the regular season. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.