Soenksen finds the net four times in road rout of York

YORK, Neb. – Up against a York College team bullish on defending its own goal, sophomore Esther Soenksen continued her prolific run of early-season goal scoring for the 21st-ranked Concordia University women’s soccer team. Behind four goals from Soenksen, the Bulldogs pummeled the host Panthers, 7-0, at Cornerstone Soccer Complex on Tuesday evening.

Third-year head coach Greg Henson’s squad has racked up 14 goals as part of a hot 3-0 start to the 2015 season. Despite the loss of three first or second team all-conference players from last year’s national tournament squad, the Bulldogs have hardly missed a beat thus far.

“It’s just a matter of setting that (winning) mindset and for us to continue to do the things that have made us successful in the past and will make us successful in the future,” Henson said. “That’s just the work ethic and the team working together on and off the field. It’s just the little things that really put us over the hump.

“The preseason ranking that we received is based off last season’s accolades and last season’s results. We wanted to go out early and prove that we still deserve that honor.”

Now in a forward role after playing in the midfield last season, Soenksen tallied her goals in the 12th, 13th, 51st and 55th minutes to run her season goal count to seven – already three more than her total from 2014. Entering the day, the NAIA national lead for most goals stood at five.

Soenksen is clearly thriving in her new role. No player shined brighter on Tuesday.

“It was really exciting,” Soenksen said. “I’m not usually a goal scorer. I usually don’t play forward. I’ve had more opportunities to score.”

Freshman Maria Deeter also provided scoring punch with her first career multi-goal game. The Seward native received credit for a header off a corner kick from Jeannelle Condame in the 18th minute. Then in the 50th minute Deeter, again assisted by Condame, found an unprotected net after blowing past a defender.

The other tally came courtesy of sophomore Jessica Skerston, who expertly dribbled around a Panther and then fired a shot from inside the box. Last season Skerston topped the Bulldogs with 17 goals.

The scoreboard accurately reflected a game dominated by nationally-ranked Concordia. Henson’s squad held a 27-2 shot advantage. York managed to put only one shot on frame all night. The lopsided score allowed the Bulldogs to use three different keepers – starter Chrissy Lind as well as seniors Elyse Muhle and Taylor Wolf. A total of 26 players saw action for Concordia.

Never afraid to shuffle the deck, Henson moved former leading goal scorer Rachel Mussell to center back last season only to see the move pay off considerably. This season’s tinkering involved shifting Soenksen forward and adjusting fifth-year senior Katrina Muther from outside back to center back.

“We definitely made an effort to move Esther a little bit more forward,” Henson said. “She has the ability to do well up there and score goals for us. She showcased that today.

“It’s always a matter of looking at who are starting 11 is and how we get the most out of that group.”

Soenksen is the first Bulldog to pile up three or more goals in a game since Mussell’s hat trick versus the University of Nebraska-Kearney on Aug. 23, 2012.

The Bulldogs will not play another official game until they host sixth-ranked Benedictine College (Kan.) (3-0) on Sept. 12. This Saturday Concordia will hold an alumni game with kickoff slated for 3 p.m. from Bulldog Stadium.