Winning ways continue for seniors on senior day

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 13, 2018 in Women's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – Though visiting Dakota Wesleyan entered Saturday (Oct. 13)’s matchup at 2-5 in conference play, it had been allowing its opponents fewer than two goals per game. Goals proved to be hard to come by for the first 65 minutes of senior day inside Bulldog Stadium that resulted in a 4-0 victory. The Concordia University women’s soccer program honored nine seniors prior to kickoff.

An impressive senior class headlined by Maria Deeter has helped the program continue an active 23-game (21-0-2) GPAC regular-season unbeaten streak. Sixth-year head coach Greg Henson’s squad bumped its records to 10-1-3 overall and to 7-0-1 in conference play.

“I wish we had more goals in the first half. We were a little bit sluggish in parts of the game,” Henson said. “In the second half I thought we came out and really controlled tempo well. We were able to get three more to seal the victory. This time of year you’re never going to complain about the way you win. We got three points and we move on to the next one.”

The explosive trio of Deeter, Lauren Martin and Brynn Suddeth had been responsible for much of the offensive production in recent action. In the latest shutout victory, Concordia got a goal apiece from junior Morgan Raska and sophomore Tori Cera before the seniors began getting into the mix. Deeter added her 13th of the season by drilling a penalty kick in the 72nd minute and then Martin curled a corner kick into the goal in the 76th minute.

The four goals were more than enough while up against a Tiger team that has now been shut out four times in conference play. Dakota Wesleyan (4-9, 2-6 GPAC) was held to three shots on goal on Saturday. The overall shot count stood at 21-11 in favor of the Bulldogs. Concordia has gotten on a nice roll defensively, putting together three clean sheets in a row.

The accomplished senior class (now 54-14-10 over its four seasons) knows what it takes to win conference championships. After winning a GPAC tournament title in 2016 and a conference regular-season title in 2017, the Bulldogs will enter the final two weeks of the regular season tied for first in the GPAC standings.

“It’s amazing that we were able to get to this point so far,” Lauren Martin said. “It’s not anywhere near over. We still have some tough battles in front of us. It’s exciting in your one last go to be able say that we’re 7-0-1 in conference. It’s nerve wracking that it’s coming to an end.”

While the likes of Deeter and Martin (NAIA best 14 assists entering Saturday) get plenty of attention, Henson’s teams have proven capable of finding goals from many different sources. Raska effectively scooted the ball across the goal line after being played in behind the defense by Mikeila Martinez. Cera (eight career goals) continues to contribute offensively in her role as a center back.

As Henson stated, it’s on to the next one. The seniors hope to make it a Fairytale ending. Said Henson, “They’ve been vital to our success over the last four years. It’s a big group and a big personality group. They’re great on and off the field. We’re going to miss them when they’re gone, but we still have them for a few more weeks and hopefully we can extend the season into the postseason.”

The Bulldogs will be on the road for their next three games. That road swing begins on Tuesday with a trip to Mount Marty (1-9, 0-7 GPAC) for a 1 p.m. CT kickoff in Yankton, S.D. The Lancers dropped a 7-0 home decision to No. 21 Midland on Saturday evening.