Mussell’s goal leads win over in-state York

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia sophomore midfielder Rachel Mussell wasted little time in putting the Bulldogs in front on Wednesday night. The Buffalo, Minn., native headed in the game’s first goal in the third minute to carry Concordia (2-3) to a 1-0 non-conference victory over in-state York College (2-6-1).

Mussell skillfully played the pass from sophomore forward Melissa Stine over the head of Panthers’ goalkeeper Katy Keefer from about six yards out and into the net at the 2:28 mark of the game. The score gave Mussell her fifth goal of the season, a total that ties her for third in the GPAC. For Stine, it was her second assist and sixth point on the season.

“They did what we asked them to do. From the start, we said score first and we did in two-and-a-half minutes, which was great,” Concordia head coach Lisa White said. “And then we said possess, and we did that. We had loads of chances. I think our team looking back would have liked to have placed more at the corners than at the keeper, but we created more opportunities than we could have asked for.”

The Bulldogs controlled the action throughout much of Wednesday’s contest. York was limited to only one shot the entire first half as the ball lived on Concordia’s attacking half of the field. Junior goalkeeper Jessica Clifford, who earned the shutout by playing all 90 minutes, was not even tested with a shot on goal in the first half. She finished with two saves while playing in her second game of the season.

The biggest threat to Concordia’s tenuous 1-0 lead came in the 54th minute when the Panthers’ Morgan Tackett lined the ball off the cross bar from about 15 yards out. However, that strike was one of the few clean chances York would get all evening. The Panthers tallied only four shots and just two on goal compared to 26 shots and 13 on goal for the Bulldogs.

“We did a really good job this past week-and-a-half or two,” Stine said. “We’ve been working on connecting passes and just holding onto the ball, and we did a really good job of that today. We had a lot of shots and we just played really well as a team.”

The shutout was the first of the year for Concordia, which had not allowed fewer than two goals in a game in 2012. The Bulldogs have now won two straight non-conference games, including their 5-2 victory at Sterling College on Sept. 15.

York fell to 1-3 on the season against GPAC foes, including three-straight 1-0 losses. The Panthers defeated Mount Marty 1-0 on Aug. 28. York also lost 1-0 at the hands of the Bulldogs last season.

Concordia will begin GPAC play on Saturday at 1 p.m. when it travels to Sioux Center, Iowa, to take on Dordt College (1-4-2). The Bulldogs expect a tough test after a 2-0 win over the Defenders a year ago.

“Dordt’s good. They’re always a strong team,” White said. “They look to play a similar style of possessing and keeping the ball. They’re always very strong and they’re usually pretty disciplined. Last year was fun, we got to beat them 2-0 at home. This year we look to have a great match against them.”