SEWARD, Neb. – There were very few chances on goal after nearly 30 of minutes of play on Friday afternoon – that is until Concordia junior forward Rachel Mussell went off. Mussell scored twice in a span of less than three minutes in the first half to spur a 3-1 victory over Friends University (Kan.).
Bulldog head coach Greg Henson came away pleased with the performance, especially considering the team had 10 days off between regular-season games.
“Ten days between games in the middle of the season is a long time,” Henson said. “It gave us an opportunity to work on some of the things that we needed to focus on. Coming out, I think the girls were ready to play against somebody else again. It’s kind of like coming out of preseason.”
Mussell, a first team all-GPAC performer last season, tallied the game’s first goal when she played a couple of touches off a tap pass from freshman Jordan McCoy and thumped a shot across the field that hit the right post and went in from about 15 yards out in the 28th minute.
“That hole was there a lot of the game,” Mussell said. “So it was good that we found it. Once you look up and realize you’re on the edge of 18 (yard box) and it’s you and the goalie, it’s just (about being) calm, cool and collected after that and if you can put it in. I was able to on that and the glory goes to God.”
Friends (3-3) quickly tied the score with a goal by Sarah Stucky just 2:19 later. It was the only shot on goal the entire game for the Falcons, who were stymied the rest of the way by a dominant Bulldog effort led by senior Jordan Donohoue in the midfield.
A response came immediately from the Bulldogs as Mussell notched her second goal of the game and third of the season. Mussell scooted the ball past keeper Shea Poynter only 31 seconds after Stucky’s goal.
“We moved her out wide. She was playing in the middle of the park,” Henson said of Mussell. “It was a little bit of a tactical change and she scored two goals right away. It’s good to get her back in the scoring touch.”
The game went scoreless over the next 46 minutes until McCoy struck for her first career goal in the 77th minute, providing the game’s final score. She received a short pass from Mussell right up the middle of the field. McCoy’s first shot went off the post but kicked right back to her, allowing her to punch in the rebound for a two-goal advantage.
For Mussell, a native of Buffalo, Minn., it was her fourth career multi-goal effort. She posted three games with two or more goals last season, including a hat trick in a loss to the University of Nebraska-Kearney.
The Bulldogs (3-1) had opportunities to put more goals on the board, narrowly missing out on a couple close chances. Mussell nearly notched a hat trick in the first half when she was one-on-one with the keeper. The ball got away from her just enough for Poynter to dive on top to end the threat.
Poynter also made a highlight reel save of a well-struck shot off the right foot of McCoy in the 38th minute to keep the Falcons within a goal at the half.
The Bulldogs get right back to action on Saturday at 12 p.m. when they host another squad from the state of Kansas in Sterling College. The Warriors played to a 2-2 draw with GPAC foe Midland on Friday afternoon. Last season Concordia defeated Sterling 5-2 on the road.