In-state rivals CSM, Hastings up next as stretch run intensifies

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 10, 2022 in Women's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – In-state rivals College of Saint Mary and Hastings will make up this week’s schedule for Concordia University Women’s Soccer. The Bulldogs are seeking a return to the win column after two losses last week by one-goal margins – 2-1 at Morningside and 1-0 versus Jamestown. The Bulldogs enter this week at 7-3-2 overall (2-3-2 GPAC) and possess eight points in the conference standings (eighth place). Prior to kickoff of Saturday, Head Coach Thomas Goines’ program will recognize its eight seniors.

This Week

Wednesday, Oct. 12 at College of Saint Mary (7-4-1, 4-2 GPAC), 3 p.m.
--Live Webcast

Saturday, Oct. 15 vs. Hastings (8-2-2, 3-2-2 GPAC), 5:30 p.m.
--Live Webcast/Stats

By the numbers

·        Following the 6-0 start to this season (which featured a win at then 25th-ranked Benedictine College), the Bulldogs have experienced a run of tough luck while still playing a “good brand of soccer,” as Goines termed it after the loss to Jamestown. The last six games have included draws with Dordt and Northwestern, a 3-1 loss at Midland that saw Concordia control much of the action and then last week’s tight defeats. The one victory over that timeframe came by a 5-0 score over Dakota Wesleyan. With eight points in the GPAC standings, the Bulldogs are currently in eighth place as they try to secure a spot in the GPAC tournament.

·        Eight seniors will be recognized prior to Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. kickoff: Aliyah Aldama, Caitlin Davis, Allee Downing, Ellie Eason, Lina Kirst, Kadyn Lane, Lisa McClain and Grace Soenksen. Collectively, the group owns a combined 406 games of collegiate experience and has produced 31 goals and 20 assists since the start of the 2019 season. During that stretch, the program has put up a four-year record of 33-27-8. The highlight of the run was the 2020 GPAC tournament championship that occurred in the spring of 2021. A Sioux City, Iowa, native, Downing has appeared in all 68 Concordia games since the beginning of 2019. Three of her classmates have also played in at least 60 games: Aldama (66), Soenksen (66) and Eason (63). Kirst leads the senior group with eight career goals.

·        It’s never been easy to win at Morningside, a program that typically finishes somewhere near the top of the conference standings. In last week’s meeting in Sioux City, Iowa, Concordia took a 1-0 lead when freshman Savannah Andrews scored on an impressive strike at the 57-minute mark. Unfortunately, the Mustangs (6-5-1, 3-3-1 GPAC) responded by a goal apiece from Sina Freeser and Mia Stoffel for the comeback win. Morningside finished with a slight edge in shots, 13-11, while corners were even, 2-2. In goal, Kalie Ward made six saves while Mustang keeper Megan Messersmith also collected six saves.

·        The Bulldogs were unable to find the back of the net versus Jamestown (8-4-1, 7-0 GPAC), but they made a good run at an opponent that has not dropped a GPAC regular season game since 2020. The Jimmies got a header goal from Aubree Gessel in the 14th minute and then played in the lead the rest of the evening. Offensive opportunities were limited for Concordia, which registered five shots. Defensively, the Bulldogs did an admirable job in limiting Jamestown to 12 shots (four on goal). Earlier this month, the Jimmies defeated Northwestern, 5-1, and Presentation, 7-0.

·        In the most recent official GPAC ratings (Oct. 3), Concordia was placed in a tie for fourth. The top three were Jamestown, Briar Cliff and Hastings. In the NAIA Women’s Soccer Modified Ratings Percentage Index unveiled on Sept. 28, the Bulldogs landed at No. 43. Through 12 games, Concordia has outscored its opponents by a combined total of 28-11. In conference play, the Bulldogs have outscored their foes, 14-7. Freshman Kierstynn Garner remains the team’s top goal scorer with seven goals this season, followed by Eason (four) and Kirst (four).

The opponents

College of Saint Mary is currently holding down fifth place in the GPAC standings with 12 points. The Flames own GPAC wins over Northwestern, Mount Marty, Dakota Wesleyan and Midland. Head Coach Jordan Irsik’s program just missed the GPAC tournament last season when it went 5-7 in conference play. Over 12 games in 2022, CSM has outscored its opponents, 21-14. The team’s top goal scorer is Jimena Estrada Gomez with five goals. The Flames have split keeper duties between Gabby Felker and Alivia Schade.

A perennial power within the league, Hastings is looking to get back to nationals after missing out in 2020 and 2021. Head Coach Jade Ovendale is in her third season at the helm of the Broncos, who enter the week in sixth place with 11 points in the GPAC standings. Hastings is a dangerous attacking team that has put up 44 goals (against nine goals allowed) through 12 games. Dekota Schubert (12) and Naomi Pedroza (10) have both reached double figures in goals. The Broncos have put up four or more goals in a game seven times this season.

Next week

The Bulldogs will host Briar Cliff on Oct. 19 and then travel to play at Presentation on Oct. 22. Only three games will remain on the regular season slate by the conclusion of this week.