SEWARD, Neb. – Buoyed by junior Ashlie Sklenicka’s two first-half goals, Concordia women’s soccer completed a perfect week at home by knocking off fourth-place Briar Cliff, 3-1, on Saturday evening as part of senior night. The Bulldogs, who also defeated Midland 1-0 on Wednesday, evened their conference mark up at 4-4 while improving to 8-7-1 overall with their second-straight win.
“I told the players in the locker room – the greatest way to honor our senior class is to go out and get a victory today,” Concordia head coach Greg Henson said. “We wanted to come out and put pressure on them early and I think we did that pretty well.”
The victory sent seniors like Jordan Donohoue and Emily Fleming out on a high note as they were honored on senior night. The duo has combined to play in 136 games while forming the program’s nucleus over the past four years.
“Jordan and I started a bond since freshman year,” Fleming said. “It’s really been fun. Last year and this year we’ve played in the same area. I’ve been playing center back more than she has and now that she’s back there it's really been fun because we have a good chemistry going on.”
Sklenicka drilled her first score of the game on a free kick in the 15th minute from roughly 30 yards out, pushing her season goal total to five. The missile launched by the Lincoln native gave the Briar Cliff keeper little chance.
Showing her versatility on the attack, Sklenicka later scored from in close, finding herself in the right place at the right time. After junior Melissa Stine’s attempt at a header bounded away, Sklenicka nailed the back of the net before Charger goalkeeper Kalynn Sortino could react.
Fellow junior Rachel Mussell added her ninth goal of the season in the 86th minute to put the game out of reach at 3-0. The Buffalo, Minn., native dribbled down the right side and buried a line drive into the net from near the corner of the 18-yard box.
Mussell, Sklenicka and freshman Jordan McCoy got plenty of chances to score as the ball made a living on the Bulldogs’ attacking end. Concordia outshot Briar Cliff 17-3.
For the second-straight game, Donohoue played in the center of the defensive backfield to form a great combo with Fleming. Donohoue and company kept goalkeeper Chrissy Lind clean for the bulk of the night.
“Switching from center mid to center defender has been pretty easy,” said Donohoue, “because Flem’s back there, Megan (Brunssen)’s back there, Sarah (Winningham)’s back there – they all know what they’re doing. It’s just a little bit more talking and a little bit more seeing the field. I like it.”
With 12 points in the league standings, Concordia has clinched a spot in the eight-team GPAC tournament. Now it’s just a matter of seeding as the Bulldogs look forward to a pair of GPAC road games, beginning with Hastings (11-4-1, 7-1 GPAC) at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, to close the regular season.
“It would be nice to come out with two wins,” Fleming said. “Hastings is a really good team and Dakota Wesleyan always gives us a challenge. If we stay focused, stay together as a team and keep communicating we have a good shot.”
Seniors Kayla Asche, Louisa Mehl and Jory Schweers were recognized along with Donohoue and Fleming.