SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University women’s soccer program may have come up short of defending its 2017 GPAC regular-season title, but the conference postseason tournament offers a fresh start. The Bulldogs will enter the GPAC tournament as the No. 3 seed, which means they have drawn sixth-seeded Morningside in a quarterfinal clash that will kick off at 7 p.m. CT in Seward on Wednesday. Pairings were set on Sunday with the close of the regular season.
Wednesday’s game can be streamed live via the Concordia Sports Network.
The hope is that sixth-year head coach Greg Henson’s squad can quickly brush off the 3-2 loss suffered in Saturday’s regular-season finale and recapture the conference tournament magic it has displayed in recent years. Concordia has advanced to the GPAC tournament final four years running with titles coming in 2014 and 2016. The only chance the Bulldogs have left to make their third NAIA national tournament appearance in five seasons is to win the GPAC tournament. Concordia is officially 9-1-2 in conference postseason action since the start of the 2014 campaign.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs have been without senior captain Maria Deeter since she went down with an injury in the draw at Jamestown on Oct. 20. Without her, Concordia played to a 1-1 double overtime draw at No. 18 Midland prior to the home loss to Briar Cliff. That defeat snapped a run of 26-straight GPAC regular-season contests without a loss (22-0-4). In the loss, Lauren Martin notched a pair of goals while concluding a big senior regular season.
The Bulldogs became more of an offensive-minded team this fall. They have outscored their 12 conference opponents by a combined total of 47-11 after outscoring 10 GPAC regular-season foes 27-1 in 2017. Deeter (14), Brynn Suddeth (12) and Martin (nine) are the top goal scorers for a team that has found the back of the net 63 times (third most in a single season in school history). Martin leads all GPAC players with her program single season record of 16 assists.
A quarterfinal win is unlikely to come easy against Morningside. The Bulldogs and Mustangs battled into two overtimes when they met in Sioux City, Iowa, back on Sept. 26. Deeter’s golden goal in the 108th minute lifted Concordia to a 3-2 win. The Mustangs also competed closely with the league’s top two seeds, suffering 1-0 defeats to both Hastings and Midland. The Bulldogs will have to be able to contain Merle Bublitz, who ranks in a tie for first among GPAC players with 16 goals this season.
Wednesday’s winner will advance to play against either second-seeded Midland or seventh-seeded Dordt in the GPAC semifinals on Saturday. The highest seeds host in each round.
2018 GPAC Women’s Soccer Tournament
Wednesday, Oct. 31 – Quarterfinals
No. 8 College of Saint Mary (4-13-1, 4-7-1) at No. 1 Hastings (13-0-3, 10-0-2), 7 p.m.
No. 5 Briar Cliff (9-8-1, 8-4) at No. 4 Jamestown (11-5-2, 8-2-2), 6:30 p.m.
No. 6 Morningside (10-7-1, 8-4) at No. 3 Concordia (11-2-5, 8-1-3), 7 p.m.
No. 7 Dordt (7-11, 5-7) at No. 2 Midland (12-1-3, 9-0-3), 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 3 – Semifinals
No. 1/8 vs. No. 4/5, time TBA
No. 3/6 vs. No. 2/7, time TBA
Thursday, Nov. 8 – Championship