SEWARD, Neb. – After a run of close games, the Concordia University Women’s Soccer team broke out on Saturday (Sept. 18) afternoon with a six-goal, first-half explosion in its GPAC opener. Lisa McClain found the back of the net twice while Michaela Twito broke a program record in highlighting a 7-0 win over visiting Mount Marty. The Bulldogs had handed the Lancers a 12-0 defeat last season.
It was an encouraging week of results for Head Coach Thomas Goines’ squad, which also celebrated a 2-1 double overtime win at Bellevue University on Wednesday. Concordia has won three in a row to improve to 4-2 (1-0 GPAC).
“It was about focusing and getting a job done,” Goines said. “Every GPAC game we play is a conference championship game. We have to take every game like it means something very important, because it does. We wanted to take control of the game early and they responded well to the challenge.”
Twito has now appeared in more games (85) than any other player in the history of the Bulldog Women’s Soccer program, which held its first season as a varsity sport in 1996. Twito and company dominated possession on Saturday as the ball lived on Concordia’s attacking end. Less than 28 minutes into the game, the Bulldogs owned a 4-0 advantage. McClain drilled a goal apiece in the 25th and 28th minutes.
The hero in Wednesday’s win over Bellevue, Lina Kirst opened up the goal scoring in the sixth minute and Aliyah Aldama followed with a goal in the 14th minute after poking the ball away from the keeper. Just before halftime, the Bulldogs padded the lead when Senna McMullen (first career goal; 44’) and Madeline Haugen (45’) joined in the goal scoring onslaught. Haugen’s goal was particularly noteworthy in how impressively she struck a free kick from roughly 35 yards out. The game’s final goal came thanks to a Lancer miscue, resulting in an own goal in the 68th minute.
Afterwards, Twito was emotional in thinking about all the memories that come with her career games played record. She has played for two GPAC championship teams at Concordia.
Said Twito, “It’s really special – just really special. I’m a big fan of the Bulldog family. I’m proud to be part of it for as long as I have been. I was wondering if I should come back this year or not. It’s been such a God thing. I’m so thankful for this opportunity and the coaches I’ve had. I just have a really grateful heart right now.”
Depending on the opponent, the Bulldogs have switched up their formations in significant ways. Saturday’s match was expected to lead to more attacking options – and it did. Concordia held a shot advantage of 19-5 (12-2 in shots on goal) and outnumbered Mount Marty (1-5, 0-2 GPAC) in corner kicks, 11-0.
“We’ve had to change shape and do some different things to try to find out what works best for this team,” Goines said. “I think we’ve started to come around and figure out what that’s going to look like. Some of the passing patterns and run of play we had were very clean. We were able to press the field more in this game than we have in previous matches.”
The Bulldogs will remain at home and welcome Dordt (5-3, 0-2 GPAC) to Bulldog Stadium for a 5:30 p.m. CT kickoff on Wednesday. Concordia edged the Defenders, 1-0, last season in Sioux Center, Iowa. The lone goal was produced by Cheyenne Smith.