Missed opportunities result in second-straight GPAC loss

SEWARD, Neb. – The GPAC’s second-highest scoring squad often struggled to capitalize on prime opportunities as visiting Dakota Wesleyan (2-4, 2-1 GPAC) came away with a 3-1 victory at Bulldog Stadium on Saturday. Concordia sophomore forward Rachel Mussell’s GPAC-leading ninth goal on the season failed to stop the Bulldogs from falling for the second-straight time in league play.

“Whether it was just a bit of precision we were missing today or miscued on some timing we really weren’t able to capitalize on all of those chances,” head coach Lisa White said. “Not much more you can do than to create those chances and hope the players can really execute what we’re asking them to do.”

Mussell continued her hot streak, striking for Concordia’s only goal of the day in the 38th minute when she maneuvered to the left of the Tiger keeper in a one-on-one situation and tapped the ball into the net. However, the rest of the day would mostly be filled with frustration as clean looks narrowly missed the mark on several occasions.

“I feel like it’s been like that the past few games we’ve had, whether we’ve won or lost,” junior forward Jordan Donohoue said. “We’ve got the right ideas. It’s just that last part getting it into the net that we just can’t seem to do right now. Hopefully that will change soon.”

Dakota Wesleyan got on the board first when Bulldog keeper Jessica Clifford and a teammate collided, knocking both to the ground as the ball settled near the goal. The Tigers’ Thara Ali Said knocked in the easy goal in the 28th minute to make it 1-0. Ali Said, a sophomore forward, added a second goal in the 41st minute to give Dakota Wesleyan the lead for good.

Concordia (3-5, 1-2 GPAC) had several scoring chances midway through the second half. Donohoue’s liner on a free kick drilled the cross bar in the 59th minute prior to her shot on goal in the 61st minute that was turned away by goalkeeper Erika Carpenter. Sophomore midfielder Ashlie Sklenicka then had her attempt at the left post knocked away by a diving Carpenter in the 62nd minute.

The Bulldogs also had a great scoring opportunity in the 33rd minute when Sklenicka got loose for a one-on-one with the keeper but was again turned away. Clifford matched that effort by denying Ali Said on the very next possession.

Mussell has now scored at least one goal in four-consecutive games and at least one in six of eight games this season. Mallorie Blanck led Concordia last season with nine goals for the entire 2011 campaign. While Mussell has broken out as a star, the Bulldogs need another goal scorer to emerge.

“As a team we need to not just kick it to her and imagine it’s going to be a bit of magic,” White said. “It’s because of the team that she’s getting those. To say, just ‘kick to moose and we’ll go’ – no, that’s not how we play. Other people need to clean up their finishes.”

Dakota Wesleyan has won two-straight GPAC contests, while the Bulldogs have lost their past two after going on a three-game win streak.

White’s squad is idle until next Saturday when Concordia will play at Mount Marty (3-6, 0-2 GPAC) at 1 p.m.