2013 Women's Soccer schedule/results

10-9-1 Overall, 5-5 GPAC - Season Stats

*Note: Due to the use of an ineligible player, Briar Cliff forfeited the game played on Nov. 7.


Aug. 24 Univ. of Nebraska-Kearney (scrimmage) Kearney, Neb. 5 p.m.
Aug. 28  Bethel College (Kan.) Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. W, 4-1
Aug. 30 (19) Benedictine College (Kan.) Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. L, 0-2


Sept. 2 University of Jamestown (N.D.) Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. W, 3-2
Sept. 10 Iowa Western CC (scrimmage) Council Bluffs, Iowa 5 p.m.
Sept. 13 Friends University (Kan.) Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. W, 3-1
Sept. 14 Sterling College (Kan.) Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. L, 0-2
Sept. 18 Bellevue University (Neb.) Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. L, 1-2
Sept. 21  * Mount Marty College Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb.  W, 2-1
Sept. 25 Grace University (at Morrison Stadium) Omaha, Neb. W, 7-0
Sept. 29 * Morningside College Sioux City, Iowa L, 0-1


Oct. 2 College of Saint Mary Omaha, Neb.  T, 2-2
Oct. 5 * Dordt College Webcast Scheduled
Seward, Neb. W, 3-0
Oct. 9 * Doane College Webcast Scheduled Crete, Neb. L, 1-3
Oct. 12 * Nebraska Wesleyan University Webcast Scheduled
Seward, Neb. L, 1-2
Oct. 19 * Northwestern College Webcast Scheduled Orange City, Iowa L, 0-2
Oct. 23 * Midland University Webcast Scheduled
Seward, Neb. W, 1-0
Oct. 26 * Briar Cliff University (Senior Day) Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. W, 3-1
Oct. 30 * Hastings College Hastings, Neb. L, 0-1 (2 OT)


Nov. 2 * Dakota Wesleyan University Mitchell, S.D. W, 2-1
GPAC Tournament:  Nov. 7, 12, 15
Nov. 7 Briar Cliff (GPAC Quarterfinals) Webcast Scheduled Sioux City, Iowa T, 0-0 (2 OT)
Concordia advances 3-1 on PK shootout
Nov. 12 Hastings (GPAC Semifinals) Webcast Scheduled Hastings, Neb.
L, 0-3
Nov. 15 GPAC Championship TBD TBD
NAIA Tournament: Nov. 23 - Dec. 7
Nov. 23 NAIA Tournament  Opening Round TBD

All Home Games in BOLD
*Great Plains Athletic Conference Games

2013 Women's Soccer Roster







Previous School


Elyse Muhle




Richland, Neb.

Schuyler Central


Taylor Wolf




St. Charles, Mo.

St. Charles


Sarah Winningham




Uniontown, Mo.

Lincoln Northeast


Emily Fleming




Gretna, Neb.



Louisa Mehl




Concordia, Mo.

St. Paul Lutheran


Marcie Sindt




Scottsbluff, Neb. 



Meredith Hein




Lincoln, Neb.

Lincoln Lutheran


Jory Schweers




Castle Rock, Colo.

Colorado State University


Kayla Asche




Lincoln, Neb.

Lincoln Lutheran


Ashlie Sklenicka




Lincoln, Neb.

Lincoln Northeast


Taylor Johnson




Wichita, Kan.

Trinity Academy


Jordan McCoy




Arvada, Colo.



Annalisa Condame




Winter Springs, Fla.

Winter Springs 


Jaimi Stelk




Grand Island, Neb.



Rachel Brandt




Loveland, Colo.



Emmalynn Rodriguez




Kansas City, Mo.



Kristin Manley




Omaha, Neb.



Jordan Donohoue




Manhattan, Kan. 



Katrina Muther 




Rockford, Ill.

Rockford Lutheran 


Melissa Stine



Omaha, Neb. 



Madison Hawkins




Omaha, Neb.

Concordia Lutheran   


Christine Young




Lisle, Ill.



Megan Brunssen




Omaha, Neb.

Millard North  


Rachel Mussell



Buffalo, Minn.



Chrissy Lind




Colorado Springs, Colo. 

Classical Academy

Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Greg Henson

Assistant Coach: Annika Uden

Graduate Assistant: Kim Uetrecht

Henson chosen to head women's soccer program

19 JUN 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia University has named Gregory Henson head women’s soccer coach, the school announced Wednesday (June 19). Henson relocates to Concordia from his position as head girls’ varsity soccer coach at Lutheran High School in St. Charles, Mo. The 2011 and 2013 Archdiocesan Athletic Association Coach of the Year replaces Lisa White, who resigned after three seasons as head coach.

Henson is eager to get started.

"I am extremely grateful to Devin Smith, Scott Seevers and President Brian Friedrich for this wonderful opportunity to lead the women's soccer program at Concordia University, Nebraska,” Henson said. “During the entire interview process I felt an immediate connection to the campus community and believe that the administration shares in my vision for the program. I'm excited to get on campus and begin preparing for the fall season. My goal for the program is to continue to build on past success and elevate Concordia to the upper ranks of the GPAC standings."

Henson emerged from the field of candidates in part due to his significant accomplishment over 12 years coaching soccer at the collegiate, high school and club levels. Henson intricately understands the collegiate recruiting scene and is described as a tactician and superb instructor of the game.

“Greg’s array of experiences at different levels of soccer give him a unique understanding of how to mentor and build relationships with both collegiate student-athletes and prospective recruits,” Director of Athletics Devin Smith said. “He has demonstrated an exceptional ability to teach the game and make necessary coaching adjustments throughout the flow of a match. We know Greg will be an excellent representative of this athletic department and university.”

As head women’s coach at Lutheran High School, Henson guided the Lady Cougars to the state tournament quarterfinals and the school’s second most victories in program history this past season during a 17-7 campaign that included Lutheran’s first-ever Class 1 District 7 championship and first AAA Conference championship. For its remarkable season, Henson was named Class 1 Central Region Coach of the Year. He has served as head coach at Lutheran in each of the last three seasons.

In addition, Henson worked as an assistant women’s coach at Lindenwood University in St. Charles for the past two seasons. In this role he contributed in virtually all aspects of the program, including training, game planning and recruiting. He also instructed Freshman Orientation, a two-credit course at Lindenwood.

Prior to his time at Lutheran and Lindenwood, Henson enjoyed a successful tenure as head men’s soccer coach at St. Louis Community College in 2009 and 2010. He directed the Highlanders to the 2010 Midwest Community College Athletic Conference title and was named the league’s Coach of the Year.

Henson holds a United States Soccer Federation National “B” License and Level I Goalkeeping Badge from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. He coached at the club level in the St. Louis area from 2001 – 2010 and has, in recent years, held positions as staff coach for the Missouri Olympic Development Program, assistant coach for the St. Louis Lions of the Premier Development League, assistant tournament director for the St. Louis College Showcase and tournament director for the annual Highlander Futsal Classic.

Henson will begin his duties as head women’s soccer coach on July 12. He will also serve as Coordinator of Intramurals and will teach classes within the health and human performance department at Concordia.

Henson holds a bachelor of arts in human resource management from Webster University (1998) and will finish his master of arts in sports management from Lindenwood this summer.


Concordia women's soccer picked seventh in GPAC preseason poll

13 AUG 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – In the midst of an offseason coaching change, Bulldog women’s soccer has been picked to finish seventh among the conference’s 11 members in the 2013 GPAC Women’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Concordia picked up 48 points in the poll.

First-year head coach Greg Henson inherits a Bulldog program that finished eighth in the league with a 4-5-1 conference record in 2012 under previous head coach Lisa White. Under White, Concordia placed in a tie for fourth in 2011 when it went 6-4 in league play.

The Bulldogs return all three players who earned all-conference recognition last season, including prolific goal scorer Rachel Mussell (first team) who tallied far and away a team high with 14 goals in 2012. Midfielder Emily Fleming (second team) and forward Jordan Donohoue (honorable mention) are also back.

Henson will debut as head coach on Aug. 28 when Bethel College (Kan.) invades Bulldog Stadium for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

Bulldogs women's soccer: 2013 season preview

22 AUG 2013

Head Coach: Greg Henson (first year)
2012 Record: 6-9-1 overall; 4-5-1 GPAC (8th)
Returning Starters: 8
Key Returners: Kayla Asche (D), Jordan Donohoue (MF), Emily Fleming (MF), Meredith Hein (MF), Rachel Mussell (F), Marcie Sindt (MF), Ashlie Sklenicka (MF), Melissa Stine (F)
Key Losses: Kyleah Bowder (D), Kelsie Elder (MF), Katie Janis (D)
2012 GPAC All-Conference: Rachel Mussell (first team), Emily Fleming (second team), Jordan Donohoue (honorable mention)

With only two seniors occupying the 2012 Concordia women’s soccer roster, many familiar faces return to the program in 2013. The most obvious change comes at the top, where longtime St. Louis-area coach Greg Henson replaces three-year head coach Lisa White.

Officially on the job since only mid-July, Henson is tasked with familiarizing himself with the roster he inherits while trying to get everyone on the same page at an accelerated rate. He is in the midst of a 12-day stretch between the date athletes reported to campus (Aug. 16) and the season-opening game (Aug. 28).

“We have a limited amount of time,” Henson said. “We want to get our fitness base as strong as possible during that time period. Also just an organizational piece – we want to get players familiar with the things we want to do, familiar with me, my coaching style and the things I’m going to bring to the table that might be a little bit different than years past.

“So we have a lot of work to do but I think we’ll be able to get it done in the time allotted.”

Henson brings confidence and tactical expertise along with a track record of winning. This past season he led the Lutheran High School girl’s team of St. Charles, Mo., to its first-ever Class 1 District 7 championship and first AAA Conference championship and was named Class 1 Central Region Coach of the Year.

Under his guidance, Lutheran High School punished opponents with its fan-friendly attacking style – something he plans to instill in his Bulldog squads.

“I think most of the time people that come out to watch a team that I’ve coached in the past or in the future are going to notice a hardworking group of individuals,” Henson said. “I want my players and teams to go out and work hard from the opening whistle to the final whistle.

“The high school team I just left set a record for the most goals scored in a season. I hope I can translate some of that success to Concordia.”

Much of the goal scoring load in 2012 fell upon the shoulders of junior Rachel Mussell, who enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign. The Buffalo, Minn., native’s 14 goals were exactly half of the team’s season total and ranked second in the GPAC. After tallying only two goals as a freshman, Mussell emerged in a big way, putting up a hat trick in last season’s home opener and never looking back.

Mussell rarely missed the mark on prime goal scoring opportunities, serving as a model of efficiency. Of course, she couldn’t do it alone. The presence of an elite goal scorer is also the sign of complimentary talent to set her up for goals.

“To have a player who can put the ball in the back of the net is huge,” Henson said. “For a team it can alleviate some pressure from the other players on the team. It also demonstrates that there’s a good bit of success and talent around her to put her in position to put the ball in the back of the net.”

Mussell headlines the group of returners that also includes a much larger senior class for Henson to lean upon for leadership. Among them are 2012 all-conference honorees in midfielder Emily Fleming (second team) and forward Jordan Donohoue (honorable mention).

Fleming, who thrived last season as she transitioned from center back to center midfielder during the 2012 campaign, is eager to get started under Henson. She understands that a new coach means that even experienced and accomplished players must reassert themselves to claim the key roles they have held down in the past.

Says Fleming, “I think that the knowledge of having a new coaching staff and knowing that we do have to prove ourselves again allows us to come into preseason highly motivated which I think will create a good competitive atmosphere that we can carry throughout the season.”

Henson expects a similarly competitive climate during preseason practice. It’s a climate in which the newcomers stand on almost equal footing with established veterans.

“I had one of the freshmen here the other day,” Henson said. I said, ‘you’re in a unique position this year in that everyone’s going to be nervous on day one because it’s really a fresh start and a new start.’”

While the stylistic and philosophical differences that come with a coaching change may take time to sink in, Fleming and her teammates are both excited and open-minded about Henson’s visions for the program.

“I'm really excited to see what Coach Henson will bring to Concordia,” Fleming said. “I met him during the interview process and he expressed a lot interest in our goals and what we wanted out of this next season. He also described himself as a ‘soccer junkie’ so I'm hoping he'll bring a passion and strong knowledge of soccer to the program.”

Fleming and the rest of the squad may still be getting used to Henson and his coaching style, but Bulldog women’s soccer will feature a roster of players largely familiar with each other’s characteristics and talents. Fleming is one of five returners who started all 16 games together. Plus several Bulldogs, Fleming and even some incoming freshmen included, have played this summer in a nine-versus-nine league.

Along with Mussell, Fleming (six assists, one goal in 2012) and Donohoue (five assists, two goals), Concordia has starters in midfielders Meredith Hein, Marcie Sindt, Ashlie Sklenicka and forward Melissa Stine back in the fold. Stine finished second on the team with four goals.

In goal, Elyse Muhle is back after starting nine games as a freshman last season. Another sophomore – Taylor Wolf – got a taste of collegiate soccer, appearing in one game.

Considering the coaching change coming off of last season’s 6-9-1 overall record and eighth place GPAC finish, it’s difficult to pinpoint what’s in store for 2013. However, Henson aims to take the program to great heights down the road.

“The goal of any program at the collegiate level should be to get to the national tournament so that’s what we’re going to set for ourselves every year,” Henson said. “Obviously that’s not going to be necessarily realistic right off the bat, but that’s something that we’re always going to strive for, year in and year out.”

Henson will kick off his Concordia coaching career on Wednesday, Aug. 28 when Bethel College (Kan.) visits Seward for a 6 p.m. contest.

Balanced Bulldog attack leads to victory in Henson's debut

28 AUG 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – First-year head coach Greg Henson earned his first victory at the helm of Bulldog women’s soccer as Concordia shook off an early penalty kick goal. Concordia (1-0) stormed back for a 4-1 victory inside Bulldog Stadium on Wednesday evening in the 2013 season opener.

“Very, very pleased with the effort today from the ladies,” Henson said. “I thought we came out strong out of the gate and put a lot of pressure on Bethel. We created a lot of good goal-scoring opportunities.

“I was really impressed with their ability to bounce back and put the assault on and put the ball in the back of the net three times in the first half.”

The Bulldogs evened things up when Ashlie Sklenika of Lincoln, Neb., struck for a score in the 26th minute. A balanced Bulldog attack was just getting started.

Last year’s breakout star, Rachel Mussell, found the back of the net to make it 2-1 in the 31st minute. The Buffalo, Minn., native scored easily after maneuvering right down the middle of the field and tucking the ball into the left side of the goal.

The junior picked up where she left off last season when she scored 14 goals and earned first team all-conference honors. However, on Wednesday night she did not have to do it alone as four different Bulldogs racked up a goal apiece.

Concordia’s most impressive goal came in the 40th minute to close the scoring in a great offensive half. Senior forward Jordan Donohoue controlled the ball near the right corner and crossed a pass into the box. Junior Meredith Hein was on the receiving end and, after using her body to plant the ball in front of her, poked the ball past keeper Madison Wiles.

For Hein, it was her first collegiate goal.

“It was a little goofy feeling,” Hein said. “But once I dropped it, then I just kicked it into the corner of the net and it felt really good.”

The barrage of goals in the first half seemed inevitable with the way Concordia controlled play and kept Bethel on the defensive. The Bulldogs out-numbered the Threshers, 22-5, in total shots and even forced Bethel to make a change at keeper in the second half.

Henson’s squad coasted in the second half on the strength of another strong defensive half. After a little bit of a lull to begin the half, Concordia regained its aggressiveness to put away the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference foe.

Another Bulldog notched her first career goal as sophomore midfielder Jaimi Stelk put away the final tally off a beautiful assist from junior forward Melissa Stine. Stelk’s goal in the 87th minute gave Henson and company a comfortable lead down the stretch.

“It feels great because it was our home turf,” Hein said. “We got our first win in our first game of the season and we put it away – we beat them at half and kept improving during the second half.”

Wednesday’s performance was especially impressive considering the short time period between the start of fall camp (Aug. 16) and the opening game of the season. Henson is pleased with the team’s progress.

“I’m happy with where we’re at right now,” Henson said. “I think we’ve done a good job coming in. We didn’t have a whole lot of time in camp but I thought we used the time wisely and got some things we needed to get done out of it. We had a good effort against a (NCAA) Division II opponent in UNK (Nebraska-Kearney) on Saturday and I think that really helped us out today.”

Concordia will face a huge challenge on Friday when No. 19 Benedictine College (Kan.) visits Seward for a 5 p.m. kickoff. The Bulldog men will follow with a 7:30 p.m. match, also against Benedictine, in the season opener for head coach Jason Weides’ club.

Feisty Bulldogs hang tough with No. 19 Benedictine

30 AUG 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Head coach Greg Henson’s Concordia women’s soccer team entered Friday evening’s contest a decided underdog against No. 19 Benedictine College (Kan.). A feisty Bulldog squad played the powerful Ravens to a scoreless draw through the first half, but Benedictine finally found the back of the net midway through the second stanza on the way to a 2-0 victory at Bulldog Stadium.

While Benedictine created most of the goal scoring chances, it failed to get on the board until the 67th minute. Thanks to several exceptional diving saves by Concordia keeper Elyse Muhle and some scrappy play by the Bulldogs in the opposition’s offensive half of the field, Concordia hung tough.

“Very pleased with the effort today,” Henson said. “We were organized in the back. We wanted to counterattack out of the back. I thought we did a really nice job of that in the first half. We created some goal-scoring opportunities of our own, we just weren’t able to convert.”

Benedictine’s Ashley Washburn broke the tie by sneaking the ball into the top right corner of the net at roughly the midpoint of the second half.

The Bulldogs then adjusted to more of an attacking lineup which aided the Ravens in adding an 81st-minute goal by Colleen O’Connor.

That put the game out of reach for a Bulldog squad that mustered only two shot attempts the entire evening. Junior forwards Ashlie Sklenika and Melissa Stine each had one shot apiece, while Benedictine piled up 22 shots as a team, including 12 on goal.

That made for a busy day for Muhle, who ended up with 10 saves. She made several impressive denials, such as the two diving saves she made to her left. She also thwarted a penalty kick attempt in the second half that was grounded to the left of the goal.

“It was tough but my defense did a great job,” Muhle said. “We communicated better than I think we ever have. We kept girls marked and we didn’t let anyone have too wide open of shots, and we kept them down.”

Concordia’s competitive play with Benedictine proved especially impressive considering the Ravens dismantled defending GPAC Tournament champion Doane, 10-0, on Aug. 24. The effort was also a huge improvement from last season’s meeting when the Ravens defeated the Bulldogs, 9-1.

“Coach didn’t tell us until after the game that they beat Doane 10-0,” Muhle said. “To know that we played with a team that last year beat us bad, it felt so good. We played so well. We believed in ourselves and it felt good to know that we can really play with anyone.”

On the heels of a 4-1 season-opening victory over Bethel College (Kan.) on Wednesday, the Bulldogs’ latest performance was another positive sign that things are clicking quickly under Henson’s direction.

“Wednesday was a great result for us,” Henson said. “It was a much different caliber of opponent that we played today. Benedictine is probably going to be one of the top teams on our schedule this year. So I’m happy with the effort but we’ve got to get the result as well.”

The Bulldogs remain at home on Monday when Jamestown College (N.D.) invades Bulldog Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. on Labor Day.

Hawkins' late goal lifts Bulldogs past Jimmies

2 SEP 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Visiting Jamestown (N.D.) rallied back from a 2-0 deficit only to have Concordia’s Madison Hawkins deliver the game-winning goal in the 78th minute to propel the Bulldogs to a 3-2 victory on Labor Day. Concordia improved to 2-1 in finishing up its three games in six days stretch.

“Unfortunately we gave up the conceding goal to allow them back in to it, but then answered right off the kickoff to go back up 3-2,” Henson said. “I’m real happy with their intensity there and their no-quit attitude.”

Hawkins’ game-winning tally came 51 seconds after the Jimmies’ Elyse Stewart knotted the score at 2-2 at the end of the 77th minute. The Bulldogs regained the lead when Hawkins, a Omaha native, drilled the back of the net from just outside the right corner of the 18-yard box. The shot beat goalkeeper Nicole Ladoucer to the left edge of the goal with just over 12 minutes remaining.

“No, not really,” Hawkins responded when asked if she knew the ball was ticketed for the goal when it left her foot. “I was just thinking to myself, ‘we definitely need to shoot and get some shots on the goal.’ I shot on frame and it went in.”

While Jamestown (0-4) put nine shots on target on Monday, no serious attempts came after Hawkins’ strike as midfielder Jordan Donohoue and company kept the Jimmie attackers at bay down the stretch.

Concordia built a 2-0 lead just 13 minutes into the action thanks to goals by juniors Katrina Muther and Ashlie Sklenicka. Muther became the fifth different Bulldog already to score this season (Hawkins later became the sixth) when she found herself in the right place after a Concordia shot caromed off the post. The junior midfielder from Rockford, Ill., corralled the ball and poked it to the left of Ladoucer for a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute.

Not long after, junior Ashlie Sklenicka dribbled past a couple of defenders and tapped in her second goal of the season to provide a 2-0 advantage early in the 14th minute.

Jamestown closed the gap with a 21st-minute score from Hannah Langseth, who picked up her first goal of the season. That got the Jimmies within a single tally.

Both teams had several opportunities to register additional notches on the scoreboard. Concordia survived a few close calls off corner kicks and Jamestown narrowly escaped shots by Muther, Sklenicka and junior Melissa Stine. Ladoucer made a fine diving stab to her right off a Sklenicka penalty kick.

Concordia sophomore keeper Elyse Muhle made seven saves with six coming in the first half.

The Bulldogs now have 11 days until their next official match on Friday, Sept. 13 when they host Friends University (Kan.) at 12 p.m. Concordia will scrimmage at Iowa Western Community College on Sept. 10.

The layoff gives Henson’s team some time for a little rest but also time for plenty of conditioning and prep work on upcoming opponents.

“It’s going to be a little bit different,” Henson said. “We’ll get some more time on the practice pitch and a little time to get some legs underneath us. It will give us a little recovery before we get after it fitness-wise and start preparing for the next two matches.”

Mussell propels Concordia to victory, 3-1 start

13 SEP 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – There were very few chances on goal after nearly 30 of minutes of play on Friday afternoon – that is until Concordia junior forward Rachel Mussell went off. Mussell scored twice in a span of less than three minutes in the first half to spur a 3-1 victory over Friends University (Kan.).

Bulldog head coach Greg Henson came away pleased with the performance, especially considering the team had 10 days off between regular-season games.

“Ten days between games in the middle of the season is a long time,” Henson said. “It gave us an opportunity to work on some of the things that we needed to focus on. Coming out, I think the girls were ready to play against somebody else again. It’s kind of like coming out of preseason.”

Mussell, a first team all-GPAC performer last season, tallied the game’s first goal when she played a couple of touches off a tap pass from  freshman Jordan McCoy and thumped a shot across the field that hit the right post and went in from about 15 yards out in the 28th minute.

“That hole was there a lot of the game,” Mussell said. “So it was good that we found it. Once you look up and realize you’re on the edge of 18 (yard box) and it’s you and the goalie, it’s just (about being) calm, cool and collected after that and if you can put it in. I was able to on that and the glory goes to God.”

Friends (3-3) quickly tied the score with a goal by Sarah Stucky just 2:19 later. It was the only shot on goal the entire game for the Falcons, who were stymied the rest of the way by a dominant Bulldog effort led by senior Jordan Donohoue in the midfield.

A response came immediately from the Bulldogs as Mussell notched her second goal of the game and third of the season. Mussell scooted the ball past keeper Shea Poynter only 31 seconds after Stucky’s goal.

“We moved her out wide. She was playing in the middle of the park,” Henson said of Mussell. “It was a little bit of a tactical change and she scored two goals right away. It’s good to get her back in the scoring touch.”

The game went scoreless over the next 46 minutes until McCoy struck for her first career goal in the 77th minute, providing the game’s final score. She received a short pass from Mussell right up the middle of the field. McCoy’s first shot went off the post but kicked right back to her, allowing her to punch in the rebound for a two-goal advantage.

For Mussell, a native of Buffalo, Minn., it was her fourth career multi-goal effort. She posted three games with two or more goals last season, including a hat trick in a loss to the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

The Bulldogs (3-1) had opportunities to put more goals on the board, narrowly missing out on a couple close chances. Mussell nearly notched a hat trick in the first half when she was one-on-one with the keeper. The ball got away from her just enough for Poynter to dive on top to end the threat.

Poynter also made a highlight reel save of a well-struck shot off the right foot of McCoy in the 38th minute to keep the Falcons within a goal at the half.

The Bulldogs get right back to action on Saturday at 12 p.m. when they host another squad from the state of Kansas in Sterling College. The Warriors played to a 2-2 draw with GPAC foe Midland on Friday afternoon. Last season Concordia defeated Sterling 5-2 on the road.

Sterling blanks Bulldogs

14 SEP 2013

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

SEWARD, Neb. – Struggling to find an offensive rhythm, yet playing stiff defense throughout the game, the Concordia women’s soccer squad suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Sterling College on Saturday afternoon inside Bulldog Stadium.

“I felt like the majority of the game was a midfield battle,” head coach Greg Henson said. “I thought we possessed the ball pretty well at times, we were able to limit their possession at times as well.”

Concordia was able to get off just six total shots to Sterling’s 11 and only one corner kick while Sterling attempted five.

Sterling opened things up with the first goal of the game when they knocked in a corner kick at the 59:17 mark, also marking just the second time this season the Bulldogs have seen themselves fall behind in a ball game. In the 65th minute, Sterling netted another goal from significant distance to make it 2-0.

Although the Bulldogs fell short, Henson had positive things to say about what he saw on the field.

“We had a good effort today from the girls. We played a good, solid 90 minutes,” Henson said. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to score any goals which is the name of the game in college soccer, but we played well at times, played very well at times and we’ve just got to put 90 minutes together and once we start to do that, these games are going to turn in our favor rather than the other short end.”

Senior Jordan Donahue and freshman Jordan McCoy came the closest to scoring for the Bulldogs with one shot on goal apiece. Defensively, goalkeeper Elyse Muhle finished the night with two saves.

As the Bulldogs progress through the young season and prepare for conference play, Henson noted that he believes his team is headed in the right direction, although there is still room to improve.

“We’ve got one more non-conference game before we start the conference season and we’re just looking for a little more consistency,” Henson said. “We play really well at times, we’ve just got to look to be more consistent to where there’s more series and more strings of solid play and fewer areas that need improvement.”

With the majority of the season still yet to be played, Henson has confidence that his team will continue to grow and get better.

“We’ll get there, we’ve just got to keep working and keep plugging away,” Henson said.

Concordia next plays host to Bellevue on Wednesday, Sept. 18. The opening kick is set to start at 7:15 p.m.

Late goal edges Bellevue past Concordia

18 SEP 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Visiting Bellevue University held the lead for almost 70 minutes of action on the way to a 2-1 victory over Concordia inside Bulldog Stadium on Wednesday night. Bookend goals early and late in the contest made the difference for a Bruin squad that had received votes in the preseason NAIA top 25 poll.

“We were off to a little bit of a sluggish start,” Bulldog head coach Greg Henson said. “We gave up a foul right around midfield. They took a free kick. We weren’t ready for it – we weren’t organized – and they took advantage of it. Bellevue’s a good team and if you give them an opening, they’re going to finish.

“I thought we battled back well. I thought we played very well through the end of the first half and through the end of the second half.”

The Bulldogs (3-3) knotted the match up at one goal apiece with just over 24 minutes to play when junior Melissa Stine lofted a shot over the head of Bruin goalkeeper Sammy Sinecio from about 25 yards out. That gave Stine her first goal of the season and made her the eighth different Bulldog to score this season.

The Bruins (2-3-3) got on the scoreboard immediately with Mercy Darkoah’s goal after only 1:08 elapsed. For Darkoah it was her team-leading fourth goal of the season, but she wasn’t done yet. Her score with 2:31 left in the game lifted the Bruins to the road victory.

“We were attacking, they countered us and were able to break our back for the game-winning goal,” Henson said.

One of the Bulldogs’ best opportunities to tie the score prior to Stine’s goal came with just under 27 minutes left in the game. Junior Rachel Mussell’s corner kick found senior Emily Fleming, who headed the ball off the post. Concordia then controlled the rebound, allowing freshman Jordan McCoy to fire off a shot off the post.

Henson switched keepers after the halftime break, going with freshman Chrissy Lind for the final 45 minutes. Sophomore Elyse Muhle has started each of the team’s first six contests in goal. Both Lind and Muhle will compete for playing time throughout the season.

Lind, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., helped her cause with a beautiful save with roughly 11 minutes remaining in the game. She dove to her left to deny a strong strike from the Bruins’ Yaritza Estrada, preserving a 1-1 tie at the time. Lind finished with five saves.

Bellevue ended up with a shot advantage of 12-9 and a shots-on-goal edge of 9-4. For Concordia, the 1-0 halftime deficit marked the first time this season that the Bulldogs trailed after 45 minutes of play.

Concordia will kick off the 2013 GPAC slate on Saturday when Mount Marty comes to town for a 1 p.m. contest. Last season Concordia edged the Lancers, 2-1, in the only meeting between the two sides.

Henson says that now is the time to step up and accelerate the learning curve heading into the most important part of the schedule.

“I told the girls after that game that we’ve had a lot of learning examples and opportunities throughout the course of the nonconference season,” Henson said. “The lessons have to stop now. Now that we’re getting into conference play on Saturday, we’ve got to start winning these games and not having these good lessons to learn.”

Goals from Mussell, Skenicka lead to GPAC-opening victory

21 SEP 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – The women’s soccer team opened up the conference season with a 2-1 victory over Mount Marty College, notching its fourth win of the season in the process. The Bulldogs (4-3, 1-0 GPAC) dominated the action throughout much of Saturday afternoon’s victory inside Bulldog Stadium.

Junior Rachel Mussel got things started with a goal off a corner kick in the 15th minute, which was followed by an unassisted goal by junior Ashlie Sklenicka in the 40th minute.

Going into the game, the Bulldogs were focused and determined to set the stage right for conference play.

“It was a goal coming into the game to come out of it 1-0 in conference play and we achieved that goal today,” head coach Greg Henson said.

“There’s not really an easy game in the GPAC conference. Mount Marty is a quality opponent and they weren’t going to make things easy on us. We played better in the first half and we had a lot of opportunities but their goal keeper played outstanding.”

Sklenicka stayed busy throughout the game, getting off eight shots in the game.

“I couldn’t do it without the 10 players behind me tonight,” Sklenicka said. “They did an awesome job playing me the ball and giving me the opportunity to get in front of the goal.”

Although they narrowly missed a shutout, Henson was pleased with his team’s play.

“We were able to find two openings when Rachel Mussell and Ashlie Sklenicka got on the scoring board and we went in 2-0,” Henson said. “Unfortunately, (we had) a little bit of a defensive lapse in the second half but we came away with a 2-1 victory, so we’re pleased.”

Defensively, the Bulldogs had a new face in front of the goal, as freshman Chrissy Lind was called on to get the start.

“She did a great job,” Henson said. “She brings athleticism, plays the ball well with her feet, so it makes us a little more dynamic out of the back. She did a great job back there. We’re looking for big things from her for her four-year career.”

Sklenicka noted that after six straight home games, the team has put in quality hours on the field to improve and work on their strategies and techniques, something that has really benefited them.

“We’ve had six games before us and we’ve been able to practice everything that we’ve needed to work on and I think that has given us an opportunity to fix the problems that we have and get comfortable with each other playing,” Sklenicka said.

The Bulldogs will face their next three opponents on the road, and after a home-field advantaged opening to the season, Concordia will be looking to maintain their momentum in foreign territory.

“It’ll be something new,” Henson said. “A little change of scenery, a little fresh breath of air, so hopefully we’re ready to go and we can keep things going in the GPAC conference.”

Concordia will square off against Grace University in Omaha, Neb. on Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. 

Mussell turns in hat trick in route of Grace at Morrison Stadium

25 SEP 2013

OMAHA, Neb. – Wednesday night’s contest versus Grace University (Neb.) offered Concordia women’s soccer a unique opportunity to play at Creighton University’s Morrison Stadium in Omaha, Neb. For Bulldog junior forward Rachel Mussell, it was business as usual. The Buffalo, Minn., native knocked in three goals to lead a 7-0 rout of the Royals (1-6).

“It was really a matter of well-timed runs,” Concordia head coach Greg Henson said of Mussell’s big night. “She made some good runs and players found her. All of those goals really were team efforts.”

Concordia improved to 5-3 overall after winning its first game of the season played outside of Bulldog Stadium.

Mussell needed just over 13 minutes to pull off her second career hat trick. She scored barely a minute into play, then again at about the three-minute mark and yet again 13 minutes into play. That gave Mussell goal Nos. 5, 6 and 7 on the season and her fifth career multi-goal game.

Plenty of other Bulldogs got in on the fun as seniors Jordan Donohoue and Louisa Mehl, freshman Rachel Brandt and junior Emmalynn Rodriguez each found the back of the net once. Sophomore Sarah Winningham dished out two assists and Donohoue and juniors Meredith Hein and Taylor Johnson recorded one assist apiece.

For all goal scorers not named Mussell, it was their first scores of the 2013 season. For Brandt and Rodriguez, their goals were the first of their collegiate careers.

Concordia dominated play throughout the match, finishing with a 35-2 advantage in shots while firing 19 shots on goal. The goalkeeping duo of freshman Chrissy Lind and sophomore Taylor Wolf were kept clean and did not face a single shot on goal as Concordia dominated possession.

“We played well and did a lot of the things we needed to do,” Henson said. “We had the tempo we wanted. We had a three-goal lead less than 15 minutes into play. We outplayed them deep into the back and did the things we wanted to do.”

Mussell’s first career hat trick came on Aug. 23 of last year in a 5-4 loss to NCAA Division II University of Nebraska-Kearney.

The Bulldogs’ seven goals were the most for the program since defeating Briar Cliff, 7-0, on Oct. 30, 2010. The team’s previous season high for goals came in a 4-1 victory over Bethel College (Kan.) on Aug. 28. The shutout was Concordia’s first of the season and first since a 1-0 victory over York on Sept. 19, 2012.

“Their reaction was great,” Henson said of how the team responded to playing at Morrison Stadium. “They were ready to go. It’s a great facility and Creighton was a great host. Our players were excited and it showed in their play.”

Grace’s women’s soccer program is in the first year of existence for a school that is in the process of transitioning into the NAIA. The Royals lost their most recent contest prior to Wednesday, 7-0, at Waldorf College (Iowa). Grace is led by head coach Tanya Benning.

The Bulldogs return to conference play on Sunday when they travel to Sioux City, Iowa, to challenge Morningside at 5 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday but was moved due to a conflict. The Mustangs (5-2-2, 1-0 GPAC) received votes in the latest national poll.

Bulldogs come up just short at GPAC-leading Morningside

29 SEP 2013

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Concordia women’s soccer played its first true road game of the 2013 season on Sunday  evening and fell, 1-0, to a solid Morningside squad. The Mustangs (7-2-2, 3-0 GPAC) entered play riding high after consecutive wins to open conference play, including a 1-0 double overtime victory over a Hastings team that had not lost a GPAC match since 2009. With Sunday’s loss, Concordia sits at 5-4 overall and 1-1 in conference action.

“It was a situation where they were a little better than us in the first half and we had the better of play in the second half,” Bulldog head coach Greg Henson said. “On their goal we gave up a ball in the midfield. We let it get into our backfield and we weren’t able to recover. They capitalized on our mistake and weren’t able to capitalize on their mistake.”

The Bulldogs had an opportunity to equalize at about the 70-minute mark when junior forward Rachel Mussell drew a penalty kick. But her shot went off the post, preserving Morningside’s 1-0 lead.

The Mustangs’ Kelsey Niles knocked in the game’s only goal in the 13th minute, taking advantage of a wide-open opportunity. That would prove to be all Morningside would need on this night as Felicia Reimann earned the shutout with five saves over the entire 90 minutes in goal.

Concordia went toe-to-toe with the Mustangs throughout the contest. GPAC-leading Morningside edged the Bulldogs 13-12 in shots and 6-5 in shots on goal.

“The effort’s there,” Henson said. “We outplayed them in the second half. We created opportunities, we just didn’t finish. When you don’t put the ball in the back of the net you walk away with an empty feeling. Hopefully we can use that feeling as motivation for our next match.”

Mussell, who turned in her second career hat trick in Wednesday’s win over Grace University, was limited to two shots – one on goal. Freshman midfielder Jordan McCoy was most active on the attack as she fired four total shots with three of them placed on frame.

“Jordan McCoy had a big game off the bench,” Henson said. “She created a spark in the second half. The majority of our opportunities came from her.”

Junior midfielder Melissa Stine and freshman goalkeeper Chrissy Lind also provided quality minutes. Lind notched five saves, including a difficult one down the stretch that kept the Bulldogs close. Meanwhile, Stine produced some goal-scoring chances.

Sunday’s game was originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon but was moved due to a scheduling conflict at Morningside’s Elwood Olsen Stadium.

The Mustangs received votes in the latest national poll following their win over Hastings. Morningside has exceeded expectations so far after being picked fifth in the GPAC preseason poll.

The Bulldogs will play their final nonconference regular season game of 2013 when they battle College of Saint Mary (8-2) in Omaha, Neb., at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The two teams met in a scrimmage match last season but have not played each other during the regular season since the Flames captured a 2-1 victory over Concordia on Sept. 12, 2009, in Omaha.

Concordia plays to 2-2 draw at College of Saint Mary

2 OCT 2013

OMAHA, Neb. –Visiting Concordia women’s soccer settled for a 2-2 tie with host College of Saint Mary (8-2-1) on Wednesday evening in Omaha, Neb. The tie is the first for the Bulldogs (5-4-1) since a 1-1 draw at Nebraska Wesleyan last season.

Wednesday’s game was called after 90 minutes of play due to darkness at College of Saint Mary’s Heritage Park, which does not have lighting.

Concordia tied the game up at 2-2 in the 57th minute when freshman defender Megan Brunssen knocked in her first career goal, capitalizing on a penalty kick. That would end all scoring as both offensive attacks went silent over the final 33 minutes.

The Bulldogs took an early lead just 2:12 into the match. That’s when senior midfielder Emily Fleming drilled her first goal of the season and third in her career off the assist from sophomore midfielder Sarah Winningham.

The score remained 1-0 until the Flames’ Abby Zach connected on her 10th goal of the campaign in the 36th minute. Saint Mary then broke the 1-1 tie with a 48th-minute goal from Christa Manning.

The Flames held a 21-15 advantage for the game in total shots and a 9-8 edge in shots on goal. Concordia freshman midfielder Jordan McCoy, who got the nod in Wednesday’s starting lineup, was most active on the attack once again with four shots – all on frame. Junior Melissa Stine also fired four shots.

College of Saint Mary entered Wednesday night’s game with three wins already over GPAC opponents – Dordt, Mount Marty and Northwestern. The Flames’ only losses this season have come to the University of South Dakota and to Calumet College of St. Joseph (Ind.).

Concordia remains unbeaten when scoring two or more goals at 5-0-1. On the flip side, the Bulldogs are 0-4 when scoring one or no goals.

Concordia returns to GPAC play on Saturday when Dordt (0-10, 0-2 GPAC) visits Seward for a 1 p.m. battle. Last season Concordia defeated Dordt 3-2 in Sioux Center, Iowa, in the only matchup between the two sides.

Three first-half goals lead Bulldogs over Dordt

5 OCT 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Working with a 20-mile-per-hour wind at its back, the Concordia attack struck for three goals in the first 30 minutes of play en route to a 3-0 victory over visiting Dordt on a blustery and cold Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs jumped back above .500 in conference play with the win and now sit at 6-4-1 overall and 2-1 in the GPAC.

“Both teams had to deal with some blistery wind conditions so I think that had a little bit to do with how the game went,” Concordia head coach Greg Henson said. “In the first half we were able to get the ball and keep good possession of it and create a lot of opportunities. We scored two goals off of corner kicks or set pieces, which is something we haven’t done a lot this year.”

Concordia got on the board quickly with a beautifully executed corner kick from sophomore Sarah Winningham that resulted in junior Rachel Mussell heading in her team-leading eighth goal of the season. That made it 1-0 less than 13 minutes into action.

Mussell also had a hand in the next two goals as she recorded a pair of assists. She found junior Melisssa Stine, who headed the ball into the back of the net, in the 22nd minute to make it 2-0. Then at the 30-minute mark, freshman Jordan McCoy received a cross from Mussell and scooted the ball past the diving goalkeeper for a 3-0 lead.

McCoy, a native of Arvada, Colo., has emerged as a nice compliment to Mussell and junior Ashlie Sklenicka on the attacking end.

“It was just a really good cross from Rachel Mussell and it was pretty easy to finish it in the back of the net,” McCoy said. “It was mostly all her.”

Using an aggressive offensive attack, Concordia controlled possession and piled up 17 shots (nine on goal). The majority of those shots came during a great first-half performance from the Bulldogs.

Mussell, a native of Buffalo, Minn., entered play tied for third in the conference in goals. She narrowly missed additional tallies in the first half, having one shot hit off the crossbar and one hit the right post.

Junior Emmalyn Rodriguez also just missed on her second goal of the season when her attempt from more than 40 yards out went wide left with the goalkeeper out of the box.

Freshman goalkeeper Chrissy Lind earned the shutout but saw little action as Dordt failed to get off a single shot. The shutout was the second of the season for the Bulldog defensive unit keyed by senior midfielders Jordan Donohoue and Emily Fleming.

“We’re working really well as a team and staying positive,” McCoy said. “There’s not really anyone we can’t beat if we’re at our best.”

Saturday’s win gave Henson’s squad its sixth of the season – equaling the season total from 2012 when Concordia went 6-9-1.

The Bulldogs have seven regular-season games remaining, starting with a road contest at Doane (2-7, 1-3 GPAC) on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Last season the Tigers got the best of Concordia in both meetings, including a 2-1 decision in the first round of the GPAC Tournament.

“I think the players, coming off last year’s results, are pretty hungry to get out there and get a good result against Doane,” Henson said. “There’s not an easy game in the GPAC.”

Doane standout records hat trick to down Bulldogs

9 OCT 2013

CRETE, Neb. – Doane’s star player got loose on Wednesday night and Concordia women’s soccer had no answer. The host Tigers (3-7, 2-3 GPAC) came from behind for a 3-1 victory in Crete, Neb. The Bulldogs dropped to 6-5-1 overall and 2-2 in GPAC action.
“They were the better team,” Concordia head coach Greg Henson said. “We just got outplayed today. Doane is a good team and all the credit goes to them. Their record doesn’t reflect how good they are.”
Concordia got on the board first as junior Ashlie Sklenicka drilled her fourth goal of the season early in the 11th minute. Things looked good considering the Bulldogs entered play with a record of 5-0-1 when scoring first.
However, Doane equalized soon after as standout sophomore forward Sara Cushing struck for her first of two first-half goals in the 17th minute. Cushing, who led the GPAC with 22 goals last season, added another goal in the 32nd minute to put the Tigers in front for good.
Cushing completed the hat trick with a dagger of a goal with 7:25 left in the game, providing the final tally of the contest as Concordia focused more numbers into the offensive attack. That pushed the Papillion, Neb., native’s season goal count to 11.
“We made a few mistakes and when you’re up against a player like that, you can’t make mistakes,” Henson said. “She’ll punish you. She’s a good player.”
Junior Melissa Stine gave the Bulldogs a great chance on goal midway through the second half when she fired a strong shot. However, Doane keeper Kelsey Stark made a nifty save, knocking the ball away with one hand.
The Tigers finished with 17 shots to Concordia’s 14. Doane also held a slight 8-7 advantage in shots on goal.
“They stifled a few of our good chances,” Henson said. “We played much better in the second half, we just weren’t able to equalize. There are definitely some things we can improve upon but there are also some positives as we move forward to Nebraska Wesleyan.”
Wednesday’s game marked the third-straight time that Henson has used four freshmen in the starting lineup. Freshman defender Megan Brunssen has started each of the first 12 games, Kristin Manley has started nine, first-year goalkeeper Chrissy Lind has started six times and rookie Jordan McCoy has three starts.
Sklenicka finished with four shots – all on goal – to lead Concordia. Junior forward Rachel Mussell fired off three shots.
Doane has won four-straight decisions against Concordia, including two wins last year over the Bulldogs. The two teams met in the quarterfinals of last year’s GPAC Tournament.
The Bulldogs will play host on Saturday for homecoming when Nebraska Wesleyan (6-2-3, 3-1-1 GPAC) visits Seward for a 5 p.m. kickoff. Concordia women’s soccer is sandwiched between home football at 1 p.m. and home men’s soccer at 7:30 p.m.  Bulldog women’s soccer carries a four-game unbeaten streak against the Prairie Wolves. Last season the two teams played to a 1-1 draw in Lincoln.

NWU edges Bulldogs in a game of near misses

12 OCT 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – A stingy Nebraska Wesleyan defense held the Concordia strikers at bay for much of Saturday evening’s homecoming match inside Bulldog Stadium. The Bulldogs were limited to just six shots as the Prairie Wolves (7-2-3, 4-1-1 GPAC) snagged a 2-0 road victory. Concordia dropped to 6-6-1 overall and 2-3 in GPAC action.

“Unfortunately they jumped out right out of the gate and got a goal on us 30 or 45 seconds into the game,” Bulldog head coach Greg Henson said. “That kind of changed the momentum from what we were wanting to do early.”

Trailing 2-0, Concordia finally cracked the scoreboard in the final minute of the contest when senior Jordan Donohoue headed in a goal off a corner kick from sophomore Sarah Winningham. That came right after Donohoue hit the post with a shot less than a minute earlier as part of a frustrating sequence of shots that narrowly missed landing in the back of the net.

“The game changed a little bit in the second half,” Henson said. “We were able to get a lot more chances. We were able to push more numbers forward to create those chances. I think, if I counted correctly, we hit the crossbar or the post about four times or so.”

Similarly, Bulldog junior forward Ashlie Sklenicka just missed on an equalizer early in the second half when her free kick hit the post with Concordia trailing 1-0. Just a few minutes later, Wesleyan added a second goal as Concordia keeper Chrissy Lind laid on the ground after getting taken out. That allowed Shannon Surber to tap the ball into the net for the 2-0 advantage.

Freshman Kristin Manley came mere inches from knocking in a goal with three minutes to go as the ball hit the cross bar and dropped to the turf outside the goal.

Most of the Bulldogs’ prime chances came in the final minutes as Henson concentrated his team’s efforts on the attacking end. Concordia’s six shots were only one fewer than Wesleyan’s seven. Both teams had three shots on frame.

Donohoue and Sklenicka both got off two shots apiece to lead Concordia. Winningham and Manley both shot once.

Halfway through the conference season, Henson has seen that his team is capable of competing with anyone in the conference – there just isn’t much margin for error.

“The GPAC is a tough conference and we’re starting to get into the meat of the schedule,” Henson said. “Every game is going to be difficult and there are no easy games from here on out for us. It’s a matter of us doing the little things right. The little things sometimes make for the difference in the game.”

The Bulldogs do not play again until next Saturday when they take to the road and play Northwestern (6-6-2, 3-2-1) in Orange City, Iowa, at 3 p.m. The Red Raiders spoiled Concordia’s senior day last season by nabbing a 4-0 victory in Seward. Henson says the break in the schedule will be used in part to get some rest for a lineup that logs heavy minutes.

Steady play from Donohue not enough

19 OCT 2013

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Despite outplaying their competition for much of the game, the Bulldogs fell short in a grueling, cold and windy soccer match at Northwestern College. Concordia dropped its third-straight game in a 2-0 defeat in Orange City, Iowa, on Saturday.

Shut out for just the fourth time this season, the Bulldogs’ road trip struggles continued as they were not able to capitalize on opportunities to put the ball in the net, missing on 20 shots to Northwestern’s 12.The loss moved Concordia (6-7-1, 2-4 GPAC) to eighth place in the conference. It was the second-straight loss to Northwestern.

The Bulldogs played an even match and controlled much of the action throughout the game despite falling behind 1-0 in the 21st minute of the game. It was not until the tail end of the game, when Concordia was playing with just 10 players that Northwestern sealed the deal with a goal in the 89th minute.

“I thought we had the better of play in both halves,” head coach Gregg Henson said. “We just were not able to get quite enough shots on frame. It was a physical game. Northwestern’s a good squad.”

A red card in the 58th minute made things more difficult as the Bulldogs tried to put the equalizer on the board. Despite being down a player, the Bulldogs outplayed the Red Raiders for much of the second half.

“Some positives that we were still fighting and playing hard at the end of the game,” Henson said. “We definitely did not quit. Even going down a player things didn’t change. We continued to dominate most of the play.”

Senior Jordan Donahue stayed busy throughout the game, moving into more of an attacking role and getting off a game-high seven shots on the day.

“Jordan (Donohoue) had a great game,” Henson said. “We changed things up a bit and had her playing more at forward. She touched the ball more than anyone else and led us with seven shots. She did a lot of good things.”

Although starting four freshmen was nothing new for the Bulldogs, Henson noted that they still make mistakes at times due to their inexperience.

Henson also noted that senior Louisa Mehl, who started for the first time this season, had a solid performance.

The Bulldogs will return home for their next game when they host Midland (6-5-3, 4-2 GPAC) on Wednesday at 5 p.m. as Concordia looks to end its three-game skid. The Warriors won last year’s meeting by a 3-0 score.

Bulldogs top Warriors in defensive battle 

23 OCT 2013

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

SEWARD, Neb. – In a game few offensive opportunities, Concordia women’s soccer notched its seventh victory of the season, defeating visiting Midland, 1-0, inside Bulldog Stadium on Wednesday evening.

“It was huge,” junior Melissa Stine said of the victory. “Every day, (coach Greg Henson) says we need these three points to be able to go on in the conference and guarantee a spot in the playoffs, so tonight’s win was really big for us.”

Concordia (7-7-1, 3-4 GPAC) needed just an early second half corner kick from junior Rachel Mussell to Stine who headed the ball past the goalkeeper from just a few yards away.

“It was a really good corner by Rachel Mussell and we’ve been working on set plays throughout the season and as it’s gone on, we’ve been able to put them in the back of the net. I was right there at the right time,” Stine said.

Midland would come close to evening things up, however, when midway through the second half, they were able to get past the Bulldog defense on a couple of occasions. Freshman goalkeeper Chrissy Lind earned the shutout with five saves, some coming in situations that appeared dicey.

It may not have been the prettiest win of the season, but Henson was happy with his team’s performance on the field.

“I’m really pleased with the effort today,” Henson said. “It’s been a tough stretch for us. We’ve been on a three game losing streak – three games we played well and could have easily have had a different result. I’m really happy that we were able to get out there and get after it and come away with a win. It wasn’t pretty at times but like I told the girls, ugly wins are still wins and we’ll take them whichever way we can get them.”

Scoring opportunities were not easy to come by either, as Concordia was able to get off just six shots, three of which were on goal.

With numerous injuries haunting the Bulldogs and not many substitutions coming off the bench, Stine noted that a focused mind-set was crucial for the team’s success.

“We’ve been practicing every day and making sure we keep our fitness up but along with that we also expect everybody on the bench to be ready at all times to come in and step up when they need to,” said Stine, who is battling the flu.

Seniors Emily Fleming and Jordan Donohoue came up big in the back. After playing in an attacking role and getting off seven shots on Saturday, Donohoue starred in a defensive role on Wednesday.

“We had to make a little bit of a switch,” Henson said. “We got a little bit of an injury match after our last match up at Northwestern. A couple key players weren’t available for us today. We had another couple that were battling injuries but were able to play. We had to switch things up a little bit and move Jordan a little bit further back than I’d like to have her in the game. We had two of our better players in the backfield but they did a great job back there and really held Midland at bay.”

No matter the differences from one game to the next, Henson commented that the grit that his players have was a big role in the outcome of the game.

“Our bench is shorter than I’d like to see it,” Henson said. “I really think it’s a testament to the players to be able to overcome adversity and go out there and battle. We’ve got a lot of players playing 90 minutes, there was kind of a gut check at the end of the match and they came through with flying colors. (I’m) very pleased with them and their performance today.”

The Bulldogs will play their final home game of the season Saturday, Oct. 26 when they host Briar Cliff at 5 p.m. Concordia’s five seniors, including Kayla Asche, Donohoue, Fleming, Louisa Mehl and Jory Schweers, will be honored.

Sklenicka catches fire to lead senior day victory

26 OCT 2013

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.

Concordia nipped by GPAC title contender Hastings in double OT

30 OCT 2013

HASTINGS, Neb. – A gritty Concordia defensive performance held host Hastings scoreless for more than 100 minutes until finally cracking in double overtime. Amanda Olson knocked home the golden goal in the first minute of the second overtime to allow the host Broncos (12-4-1, 8-1 GPAC) to escape with a 1-0 victory on Wednesday evening.

The tough loss dropped the Bulldogs to 8-8-1 overall and 4-5 in GPAC play, ending the team’s hopes of hosting in the quarterfinals of the GPAC tournament.

“It’s a heartbreaking loss,” Concordia head coach Greg Henson said. “We played a team who should be nationally ranked into double overtime and we had opportunities to win. We’re definitely coming along. We’re playing good soccer at the right time.”

Bulldog juniors Rachel Mussell and Melissa Stine both had shots on goal in the first overtime that were thwarted by Bronco keeper Brittany Toth. Concordia threatened to end the game during several tense moments in the first overtime.

“We played our best soccer in the first overtime,” Henson said. “We had some legitimate opportunities to win it. It was a situation where they had the bulk of the possession throughout the game. We were able to contain and counter. We just weren’t able to finish.”

Henson commended freshman Chrissy Lind on her stellar effort that held the conference’s most prolific scoring team off the board until the game winner. Lind ended up with nine saves, including several impressive ones that kept the Bulldogs knotted.

“Chrissy played the best game of her college career,” Henson said. “It was unfortunate how it came to an end, but hats off to her for keeping us in the game. She played near flawless.”

While Hastings ended up with a significant 23-9 shots advantage (10-4 in shots on goal), Concordia solidly executed its plan of countering Hastings’ aggressive attack. Senior Jordan Donohoue organized the team’s defense from the center back position for the third-straight game. During that time, the Bulldogs have allowed only two goals overall with just one coming in regulation.

The game got off to an especially slow offensive start as Hastings took only two shots in the first 20-plus minutes while holding Concordia without a shot during the same stretch. The Bulldogs fired their first shot with 19:17 left in the first half when Stine missed wide.

Concordia last defeated Hastings in October 2009 when it upset the then No. 20 Broncos, 2-0. Hastings has won the last five meetings since then. Wednesday’s game marked the Bulldogs’ first overtime contest of the season. Their 2-2 tie at College of Saint Mary on Oct. 2 ended after 90 minutes due to darkness.

The Bulldogs play for the final time in the regular season when they take the field against Dakota Wesleyan (4-11-2, 1-7-1 GPAC) at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Depending on this weekend’s outcomes, Concordia could be seeded anywhere from No. 5 to No. 7 entering the GPAC tournament, which begins Nov. 7. Last season the Bulldogs defeated the Tigers 3-1 in Seward on Sept. 29.

“I told the girls that Saturday’s game is like a playoff game,” said Henson, who now hopes his team can clinch the No. 5 seed in the GPAC tournament.

Mussell repeats as Capital One Academic All-District honoree

31 OCT 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia leading goal scorer Rachel Mussell has collected another honor from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). On Thursday the junior from Buffalo, Minn., was named to the Capital One Academic All-District® 3 Women’s Soccer Team of the College Division, as selected by CoSIDA.

Mussell was also a 2012 Capital One Academic All-District® 6 honoree of the College Division after breaking loose with 14 goals as a sophomore.

CoSIDA: “The 2013-14 Capital One Academic All-District® Men’s and Women’s Soccer Teams have been released to recognize the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. Capital One has been the entitlement rights holder to CoSIDA’s Academic All-America teams programs since 2011.”

Mussell, studying secondary education (physical science), consistently achieves excellent grades in the classroom while serving as a force on the pitch. She tops the Bulldogs with nine goals this season, giving her 23 tallies over the last two years. She also has dished out three assists in 2013.

Among all GPAC players, Mussell is tied for seventh in goals and tied for eighth in points (21).

District 3 of the College Division covers the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

As an all-district honoree, Mussell will automatically be placed on the ballot for All-America consideration. All-America voting begins on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Concordia closes regular season with road win

2 NOV 2013

MITCHELL, S.D. – Head coach Greg Henson’s Bulldogs concluded the 2013 regular season by taking care of business at Dakota Wesleyan in Mitchell, S.D., on Saturday afternoon. Despite getting the better of the action most of the day, Concordia won by a narrow 2-1 decision over the host Tigers. The Bulldogs (9-8-1 overall, 5-5 GPAC) will now move on to play at Briar Cliff in the GPAC tournament quarterfinals at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

“It was good to see us come back and take the lead before halftime after getting down early,” Henson said. “The second half was about managing the game and making sure we got the win. We really were not threatened.”

Concordia got a couple of monkeys off its back with Saturday’s triumph as it marked the team’s first win of the season on the road and first on a natural grass surface. Henson’s crew also broke a trend by winning a game in which the opponent scored first. The Bulldogs had entered play with a mark of 1-7 in such contests.

The Bulldogs got the equalizer midway through the first half when junior Ashlie Sklenicka found the back of the net on a free kick. It was Sklenicka’s seven goal of the season and her third over the past three matches.

Freshman defender Kristin Manley notched the game-winning score with her first career goal later in the half. She received the corner kick from junior Rachel Mussell and beat the Tiger keeper. Both teams then went scoreless over the final 60 minutes of play.

Needing a win or tie to get into the GPAC tournament, Dakota Wesleyan gave the Bulldogs its best shot.

“They were playing for their season so it was a playoff game type of feel,” Henson said. “Fortunately we were able to regain control after they got on the board first.”

While a defensive breakdown allowed Dakota Wesleyan (4-12-2, 1-8-1 GPAC) to get the upper hand early on, Henson came away pleased with his team’s overall defensive play.

The dynamic duo of Jordan Donohoue and Emily Fleming in the back has continued to produce great results. The Bulldogs are 3-1 since making the change with the only loss being the 1-0 double overtime defeat at GPAC runner up Hastings.

Concordia last reached the semifinals of the GPAC tournament in 2011. Concordia squeaked past Dakota Wesleyan in the quarterfinals in a match that came down to penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw.

Lind, Stine play heroes in PK shootout; Bulldogs advance to GPAC semis

7 NOV 2013

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – For the second time in three seasons, Concordia women’s soccer has advanced to the GPAC semifinals by winning a penalty kick shootout. Ultimately, junior Melissa Stine ended the contest when her penalty-kick strike clinched the shootout advantage to send the Concordia sideline into a state of jubilation on Thursday afternoon in Sioux City, Iowa.

The Bulldogs (9-8-2) will play the winner between second-seeded Hastings (13-4-1) and No. 7 seed Doane (7-10) on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Should Doane pull the upset, Concordia will host its semifinal game.

“I told (goalkeeper) Chrissy (Lind) that we just needed one save and we would win (the shootout),” Bulldog head coach Greg Henson said moments after Thursday’s match ended. “When we missed two penalty kicks in a row I started to get that sinking-gut feeling. Chrissy really stepped to the plate huge for us.

“Unfortunately that’s the only way to end soccer games like that. It’s not a great way to win or lose, but we’re much happier to be on the winning end.”

Sixth-seeded Concordia and third-seeded Briar Cliff (10-7-2) went scoreless after 90 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods in Thursday’s GPAC quarterfinal battle. That set the stage for the dramatic and rarely seen soccer shootout.

With the game hanging in the balance, the freshman Lind (third career shutout) made a pair of terrific saves, diving to her left and then her to her right to keep the shootout tied at 1-1 after three attempts by both teams.

“Those were two huge saves,” Henson said. “If you make one (in a shootout), you’re a hero. If you make two, you’re on top of the world. It was a big day for Chrissy.

“It was such an emotional swing. We missed two PK’s in a row and that’s when you start to think you’re in trouble.”

Leading goal scorer Rachel Mussell followed Lind’s two saves by burying the ball into the back of the net for a 2-1 edge, putting the pressure squarely on the host Chargers. Briar Cliff’s Bridget Lyons delivered a shot off the crossbar on the ensuing kick, providing Stine the opportunity to clinch the shootout.

The Omaha, Neb., native, cool under duress, stepped up and nailed the penalty kick to goalkeeper Kalynn Sortino’s right. Sortino got her hands on the ball, but it trickled past her and into the goal to set off the Concordia celebration.

It was the culmination of a stellar day for Stine.

“Stine had a tremendous game, especially in the first half,” Henson said. “She was up and down the wing all day. One of the things we wanted to do was get Stine and Moose (Mussell) up and down the wings on the attack.”

Of course, Concordia’s stingy defense has been a big key in its late-season run. Since star senior Jordan Donohoue has made a permanent move to the backline, Concordia women’s soccer has been doubly tough to score upon. The Bulldogs have allowed only three goals over the past five games, with just two coming in regulation.

The team’s 3-1-1 record (Thursday’s game officially counts as a tie) over the past five matches is even more impressive considering the Bulldogs’ 11 starters have covered the vast majority of the minutes with injuries limiting their depth.

“Our starting 11 went out and were warriors today,” Henson said.

Thursday’s game was reminiscent of Concordia’s 2011 GPAC quarterfinal in which it advanced on a 4-3 penalty kick triumph over Dakota Wesleyan. That particular game, played in Seward, went to a shootout after a 1-1 double overtime draw. The Bulldogs were defeated 3-1 at Hastings in the next round.

Concordia had a couple of promising chances to score in the first half. One such opportunity came about 35 minutes in when freshman Jordan McCoy hoisted a shot off the crossbar. The ball then bounded towards Mussell, whose attempt was blocked by a defender.

The Bulldogs outshot the Chargers 15-10 on the afternoon. Concordia also had a 10-6 advantage in shots on goal.

Sophomore Madison Hawkins (Omaha, Neb.) made the first of the Bulldogs’ three successful penalty kicks. Henson called her the team’s “unsung hero.”

Lind named GPAC Defensive Player of the Week

12 NOV 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Following a heroic effort that allowed Concordia women’s soccer to advance to the GPAC semifinals, freshman goalkeeper Chrissy Lind has been tabbed the GPAC Defensive Player of the Week, as announced by league on Tuesday. Lind is the first Bulldog women’s soccer player to earn the distinction this season.

Lind receives the award on the strength of her performance in sixth-seeded Concordia’s GPAC quarterfinal with third-seeded Briar Cliff on Nov. 7. The native of Colorado Springs, Colo., made two impressive saves on penalty kicks to help lift the Bulldogs to the 3-1 advantage in the penalty kick shootout.

Prior to the shootout, Lind earned the third shutout of her career and of the season, making six saves as the game remained scoreless through 90 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods.

On the season, Lind has made 13 starts while playing more than 1,230 minutes in goal. She has piled up 51 saves (.773 save percentage) and carries a goals against average of 1.10.

Lind and the Bulldogs will try to pull the upset of No. 2 seed Hastings on Tuesday (tonight) and advance to the GPAC title game. Kickoff from Hastings is set for 6 p.m. 

GPAC tournament run ends in semifinals

12 NOV 2013

HASTINGS, Neb. – The Bulldog women’s soccer team’s bid to pull another upset and advance to the GPAC championship game fell short on Tuesday night in Hastings. The Broncos showed why they are receiving votes in the national poll in bouncing Concordia from the GPAC tournament by a 3-0 decision. Head coach Greg Henson’s bunch ends its season with a record of 9-9-2 overall, including a 5-5 GPAC mark.

Even on a blistering cold night in Hastings, the second-seeded Broncos simply had too much firepower.

“Hastings is a very good team and a very powerful offensive team,” Henson said. “They lead the league in goals scored so our decisions going in were to play with a defensive strategy to make sure we limited the amount of quality chances we gave them. We were very successful with that in the last game (at Hastings on Oct. 30) and we were successful with that again in the first half tonight.”

Concordia’s tactical approach allowed it to push Hastings (15-4-2) to the limit in a double overtime loss during the regular season and again in the early-going on Tuesday night. With Concordia sagging numbers back into the defensive half, Hastings could not crack the scoreboard until the 34th minute when a Megan Kruse goal made it 1-0.

Henson felt like his team still had a chance, but the margin for error had been slashed razor thin. Bronco top goal scorer Amanda Olson stepped up and drilled a bomb in the 46th minute that forced Concordia to change its approach down 2-0.

“We lost track of her and you can’t do that,” Henson said. “She scored a great goal. The game changed from there and we had to start pushing.”

The Broncos put the game out of reach with a 50th-minute from Maddie Michalek as Hastings equaled its season average of 3.0 goals per game.

The Bulldogs only mustered two shots on frame and both were denied by Hastings’ goalkeeper Brittany Toth. The Broncos ended up with a 25-9 advantage in shots.

Concordia freshman keeper Chrissy Lind, named the GPAC Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday afternoon, faced significant pressure and came through with nine saves.

For the second time in the past three seasons, the Bulldogs’ campaign comes to an end in the semifinals at the hands of league heavyweight Hastings. Considering the transformation under the direction of a new coach and the dearth of injuries suffered early in the year, the Bulldogs produced a solid season.

“When I walked into Concordia in July this year, I really had no idea what to expect from the team that I inherited,” Henson said. “I inherited 100 percent of the roster. At the end of the game I told them sincerely that I was extremely proud of their efforts this year and that they need to be proud of their efforts.

“If you looked at the team that we walked out in the first game of the year to the team that we walked out in the last game of the year, you’d see a lot of growth. And that’s going to continue here. The Concordia women’s soccer program is going to move forward from here.”

The Bulldogs will say goodbye to a group of five seniors, including standouts Jordan Donohoue and Emily Fleming – who were major reasons for the team’s late-season run. However, several key figures will be back in the fold, including their top goal scorer (Rachel Mussell) and goalkeeper (Lind). In addition the freshman trio of Megan Brunssen, Kristin Manley and Jordan McCoy combined for 57 games played and 41 starts in 2013.

Donohue, Sklenicka highlight Bulldog women's soccer all-conference picks

18 NOV 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – A stellar senior season has placed Concordia’s Jordan Donohoue on the league’s first team all-conference list, as announced by the GPAC on Monday. Donohoue is joined by junior Ashlie Sklenicka as an all-conference selection. Sklenicka was a second-team choice. Meanwhile, senior Emily Fleming and juniors Rachel Mussell and Melissa Stine received honorable mention.

While she did not accumulate a lot of statistics, Donohoue thrived in any role head coach Greg Henson placed her in. The native of Manhattan, Kan., played all over the field throughout the season in serving as a virtual Swiss army knife. She tallied two goals and two assists, but her biggest contributions did not show up in the stats. The Bulldogs made a late-season run to the GPAC semifinals after Donohoue moved to the back line. In her four seasons, Donohoue missed only one of a possible 73 games.

Sklenicka, who hails from Lincoln, served as one of the team’s most active and productive strikers. She broke out in 2013 with a career best seven goals. Sklenicka started all 20 games at forward and hoisted 48 shots.

Fleming and Mussell also started all 20 games. Mussell (Buffalo, Minn.) led the Bulldogs in goals for the second-straight year, finding the back of the net nine times in 2013. Fleming (Gretna, Neb.) anchored the back line all season and added a goal and an assist. Meanwhile, Stine (Omaha, Neb.) played in 19 games and registered three goals and one assist.

Last season Mussell was a first team choice while Fleming garnered second team honors. Donohoue earned honorable mention status.

Bulldog women's soccer claims most Scholar-Athletes nationally

6 DEC 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – No other women’s soccer program in the nation garnered more Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes than Concordia University’s hard-working group. Eleven Bulldogs, including four repeat honorees, were named scholar-athletes on Friday, as announced by the NAIA.

In order to be nominated by an institution’s head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status.

Concordia women’s soccer players earning scholar-athlete recognition for the second-straight year were seniors Kayla Asche, Jordan Donohoue, Emily Fleming and Louisa Mehl.

Concordia ranks as the NAIA’s all-time leader in number of Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes with 942 and counting. During the 2012-13 academic year, Concordia had 71 Scholar-Athletes and 17 NAIA Scholar-Teams.

A total of 507 women’s soccer student-athletes across the nation were named scholar-athletes by the NAIA.

Concordia University, Nebraska, founded in 1894, is a fully accredited, coeducational university located in Seward, Neb., that currently serves over 2,200 students. Concordia offers more than 50 professional and liberal arts programs in an excellent academic and Christ-centered community that equips men and women for lives of learning, service and leadership in the church and world.

2013 Concordia women’s soccer scholar-athletes

  • Kayla Asche, Sr. | Lincoln, Neb. | Gerontology and Community health
  • Annalisa Condame, Jr. | Winter Springs, Fla. | Director of Christian Education/Psychology
  • Jordan Donohoue, Sr. | Manhattan, Kan. | Biology
  • Emily Fleming, Sr. | Gretna, Neb. | Biology and Psychology; Pre-Med
  • Meredith Hein, Jr. | Lincoln, Neb. | Exercise Science
  • Taylor Johnson, Jr. | Wichita, Kan. | Elementary Education
  • Louisa Mehl, Sr. | Concordia, Mo. | Elementary Education
  • Rachel Mussell, Jr. | Buffalo, Minn. | Secondary Education – Physical Science
  • Emmalynn Rodriguez, Jr. | Kansas City, Mo. | Early Childhood Education
  • Marcie Sindt, Jr. | Scottsbluff, Neb. | Exercise Science
  • Melissa Stine, Jr. | Omaha, Neb. | Biology

A story of family, faith, strong will and how to perservere

16 DEC 2013

By Jake Knabel, Sports Information Director
Chrissy Lind will never forget July 17, 2013. It’s the day a seemingly simple left turn ended in injury, bloodshed and tragedy. Just south of Rochester, Minn., two vehicles rested in shambles as the noon hour approached. More consequentially, the physical and emotional states of six people hung in the balance.
Just seconds earlier, Bill Fisher, Chrissy’s grandfather, steered the family’s beige Dodge Caravan left across a single lane of traffic on Highway 52 in the community of Marion, Minn. Chrissy braced herself as an oncoming Chevy Tahoe from the other lane closed in. Evelyn “Yvonne” Fisher, Chrissy’s grandma, sat in the front passenger seat and frantically yelled out “Bill!” Chrissy, sitting directly behind Bill, shrieked.
It was too late.
The front of the oncoming car collided almost head on with the minivan, ushering it into a ditch off the shoulder of the highway before coming to a stop. The obliterated Caravan, with its front end almost completely crumpled, lie in ruins. The Chevy Tahoe halted in the middle of the highway, where debris surrounded the battered SUV.
A man who had been mowing his grass nearby described the accident to a local TV station, saying, “I saw the two vehicles hit almost head on. When they hit, they went straight up in the air, and how they got the way they are, I don't know.”
Chrissy, her sandals separated from her feet by the impact, did not want to look to her right where her younger sister Catherine sat as the fourth passenger in the van. Chrissy feared the worst. She could see her grandparents in front, both lying unconscious.
Instinctively, Chrissy, 18 at the time, pointedly instructed Catherine, 16, to get out of the car. The sisters, bloodied and dazed but neither critically impaired, maneuvered out of the vehicle.
“I was having a hard time staying conscious. I was on my hands and knees,” Chrissy said. “I could feel and grasp it. Everything was like faded gray. When you stand up too quick and get light headed, it was kind of like that.”
Reporting for camp
Less than a month later, on Aug. 16, Chrissy reported to Concordia University on time for her freshman year with the rest of her women’s soccer teammates. Despite the magnetic-like pull of being close to her hometown of Colorado Springs, Colo., in the aftermath of the accident, Chrissy moved away from her family for the first time. She felt determined to honor her commitment.
“I kind of felt like I had to go,” she said. “I thought it would be good for me to start out on my own.”
However, Chrissy admits it was not easy to say goodbye. “I felt like was leaving my sister,” she says.
Concordia first-year head coach Greg Henson, officially named to his post on June 19, had barely started on the job when he learned of the accident. Henson figured he would be moving on without Chrissy, whom he had met in person only once – five days prior to the car wreck.
“Being in a unique situation that I was in at that time and not really knowing any of the 25 players on the roster, my first thought was that we’re at 24,” Henson said. “Here’s a freshman getting ready to go away to college for the first time. It’s probably her final family vacation and something tragic happens.”
Lynn Lind, Chrissy’s mother and the daughter of Bill and Yvonne, knew it was important for Chrissy to keep her plans of attending Concordia. It was all part of the process in the road to recovery.
“We’re very close and we talked about whether she needed to hang around home and be with me and be with her little sister,” Lynn said. “I appreciated that she was willing to stay, but she needed to go. I believed that God wanted her to be at Concordia. It was the next step for her.”
Due to a lacerated liver and a significant back injury that resulted from the accident, Chrissy had to be relegated to watching preseason practices. Not surprisingly, her teammates had questions.
Why aren’t you playing? How did you get a lacerated liver? You were involved in a car accident? Is everything OK?
Still very much in the recovery phase both mentally and physically, Chrissy kept most of the painful details to herself and a few select others. She appreciated the support of new companions, most of whom she knew little of or about upon her arrival, but the time wasn’t right to divulge everything that occurred on July 17.
She wasn’t ready to talk about the collision that played over and over in her head, nor the images of that tragic day that filled her dreams. She wasn’t ready. Until now.
Tragedy sets in
“I think we’re OK,” Chrissy told her mother during a phone conversation while paramedics tended to her and others at the scene of the accident. “We seem like we’re fine,” she said on behalf of her and Catherine. “We’ll be OK.
While reassuring and calming in her tone, Chrissy still had to deliver some grim news. “Then I told her that I didn’t think my grandma was going to make it.”
Immersed in a scene you expect to hear about only on the five o’clock news, Chrissy acted incredibly strong and collected. After exiting the van, she sat dizzied while working to assess the situation. She heard her sister call out from up the small embankment where the tattered minivan rested. She also heard the cries of a woman who had been a passenger in the other car.
Amidst the chaos she was able to comprehend that everyone involved seemed to be physically functional, except for her grandparents who remained lodged in the van, entangled in a mess of twisted metal and broken glass.
“It took me a while to even want to look at the car,” Chrissy said. “Then I saw that grandpa was talking to people – really out of it – but he was conscious. My grandma still wasn’t conscious. Just from how the car looked, I told my mom I didn’t think she was going to make it.”
Yvonne Fisher, 76, died soon after at nearby Saint Marys Hospital – her injuries too severe to overcome.
Chrissy returns to the pitch
It was less than two months after the death of her grandmother that Chrissy played her first career collegiate soccer game. Walking onto the field, she wondered whether her grandma might have attended the match had it not been for the accident.
Emotions flowed and so did the tears. The events of July 17 had been tragic but Sept. 21, the day Chrissy made her first start as a Bulldog, was a day to celebrate how far Chrissy had come and a day to admire a strong-willed family.
On that day, the Lind family came to Seward to watch Chrissy play. Chrissy and her mother embraced for what seemed like five minutes according to Lynn.
“I gave her a huge hug and we both just cried,” Lynn said. “We hugged knowing that we had grown from what had happened. You don’t get over it, but you work through it.”
Chrissy brushed back the tears and donned her red goalkeeping jersey. She made four saves as Concordia defeated Mount Marty 2-1. She couldn’t do everything she used to do. She could not cover from post to post with the same aptitude and diving as well as contact with other players still caused pain to her liver and back.
In the larger picture, those were minor details. Chrissy was back where she belonged, playing the sport she loved.
“It was a lot of fun,” Chrissy said. “I missed it even just for the couple months I couldn’t play. Soccer’s really helped me get through it.”
It wasn’t hard for Chrissy’s mother to see a deeper meaning in her daughter’s return to the playing field. Says Lynn, “Soccer has helped her work through the accident. Naturally there were thoughts like why am I still alive? Why am I not more seriously injured?” As if speaking directly to Chrissy, she continued, “It wasn’t your time. God needs you to be where you are.”
The aftermath
Lynn had dropped Chrissy and Catherine off with their grandparents before heading to Sioux Falls, S.D. That’s where Lynn would meet up with her husband Brad, who was away from their Colorado Springs home on business. Chrissy and Catherine were to spend a few days of their summer vacation with their grandparents in Chatfield, Minn.
Lynn was roughly a two-hour drive away from the scene of the accident when she checked her voicemail. She had a message from an unfamiliar number. It was Chrissy, whose soft and warm voice relayed the shocking facts by way of a cell phone provided by a helpful bystander. At the time, Chrissy’s phone had yet to be found because of the impact that dispersed contents of the two cars around the scene.
Lynn called back immediately just as both daughters were being prepared to be sped by ambulances to Saint Marys Hospital.
Lynn arrived at Saint Marys not much more than two hours after the time of the accident – 11:55 a.m. central.
She came to find her loved ones battered and hurting. But they still had each other.
“I was very thankful they were not severely injured,” Lynn said. “I got to the hospital and there were all kinds of doctors and nurses around them, taking care of them. It was so good to see them and to talk to them.”
Catherine suffered surprisingly minor injuries. She needed four stitches to her thigh and one to her hand. She also had whiplash as well as a multitude of bruises and soreness.
Bill Fisher, who drove the minivan, dislocated his elbow and chipped his collarbone. He arrived at the hospital in serious condition and has since recovered almost to the point of his pre-accident physical state.
On the other hand, Yvonne had not been so fortunate. She had been closest to the point of the collision and was badly injured, virtually from head to toe. Responders used the jaws of life to tear open the van and peal her from the scene. Doctors discovered only faint brain activity once she reached the hospital, roughly a 20 minute drive from the accident. She could not be saved.
As far as the two occupants of the white Chevy Tahoe involved in the collision, the male driver went basically unscathed and the female passenger was treated and then released from Saint Marys.
All six people had been wearing seatbelts.
Coping with tragedy
Yvonne Fisher was cremated and laid to rest a week later. It was the first stage in the grieving process for the Lind and Fisher families.
A degree of comfort came in the image of the spiritually strong grandmother of Chrissy, Catherine and older brother Trace. Yvonne had been dealing with cancer but it was hard to tell by her outgoing personality and caring nature. She was 76 but never seemed that old, according to Chrissy. Yvonne still took dance class and was described by one person, who commented on an online news story about the accident, as a “wonderful woman.”
Yvonne did not fear death. She told her family that she would be ready to go whenever the Lord called her. That call was placed on July 17 – sooner than anyone could have imagined.
The family began healing by talking about what Yvonne had meant. They prayed and they leaned upon their faith. They knew their beloved grandmother was in God’s hands.
The sisters, Chrissy and Catherine shared a bond, each knowing exactly what the other was going through.
“I definitely wouldn’t have wanted my sister in there with me but since she was there was someone else who knows what you’re going through,” Chrissy said. “The first couple days we just sat by each other when we couldn’t sleep and we would be there for each other whenever one of us woke up with a nightmare.”
Both sisters eventually took sanctuary in playing sports and surrounding themselves with teammates and friends. Catherine got back to playing volleyball while Chrissy proceeded through her first collegiate soccer season while making plenty of new friends.
Many of those friends did not know the exact circumstances that have weighed on her. A sensitive person, Chrissy kept a lot of her emotions inside.
Staff at Concordia worked to protect those emotions and allow Chrissy to share only what she felt comfortable detailing. Chrissy’s mother praised Henson and the women’s soccer program for their handling of the situation.
“My focus on her was, was she doing OK and how was everything going to go,” Henson said. “We wanted to make sure that some of the older players and assistant coaches kept an eye on her. As long as everything seemed OK we moved forward.”
Chrissy has moved forward remarkably well. There are still painful reminders of what happened. The date July 17 even randomly surfaced in a conversation with friends at Concordia. It immediately sent Chrissy’s mind racing back to the accident.
There will still be times when it hurts. She will still replay the deadly collision that occurred on Highway 52. Then she will think about why her life was spared and how thankful she is for all those who responded to the scene on that day.
Through it all, Lynn hopes that Chrissy and the family come out the other side with a greater feeling of compassion and togetherness.
“I definitely think I’ve grown a lot spiritually and with trusting God more,” Chrissy said. “I feel a lot closer to him. Afterwards I felt more like he’s looking out for me, just with all the circumstances.”
Says Chrissy’s mother: “We’re all believers. Things happen for a reason even if you don’t always understand why they happen.”

Five Bulldogs represent Concordia women's soccer on OWH list

26 DEC 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia senior Jordan Donohoue has been chosen as a 2013 Omaha World-Herald NAIA/NCAA Division II All-Nebraska Women’s Soccer selection, as announced on Christmas day. In addition, Emily Fleming, Rachel Mussell, Ashlie Sklenicka and Melissa Stine were placed on the honorable mention list.

All five honorees also received some form of recognition on the GPAC all-conference teams.

Donohoue thrived in any role head coach Greg Henson placed her in. The native of Manhattan, Kan., played all over the field throughout the season in serving as a virtual Swiss army knife. She tallied two goals and two assists, but her biggest contributions did not show up in the stats. The Bulldogs made a late-season run to the GPAC semifinals after Donohoue moved to the back line. In her four seasons, Donohoue missed only one of a possible 73 games.

Sklenicka, who hails from Lincoln, served as one of the team’s most active and productive strikers. She broke out in 2013 with a career best seven goals. Sklenicka started all 20 games at forward and hoisted 48 shots.

Fleming and Mussell also started all 20 games. Mussell (Buffalo, Minn.) led the Bulldogs in goals for the second-straight year, finding the back of the net nine times in 2013. Fleming (Gretna, Neb.) anchored the back line all season and added a goal and an assist. Meanwhile, Stine (Omaha, Neb.) played in 19 games and registered three goals and one assist.

2013 Omaha World-Herald NAIA/NCAA Division II All-Nebraska Women’s Soccer Team

F: Amanda Olson, Hastings, Sr.
F: Sara Cushing, Doane, So.
F: Megan Kruse, Hastings, Fr.
F: Abby Zach, College of St. Mary, Jr.
F: Becka Talcott, Nebraska-Kearney, Sr.
F: Macy Hagen, Wayne State, Sr.
M: Jenn Lerner, Hastings, Sr.
M: Maddie Michalek, Hastings, Sr.
M: Kelsie Schmitz, Midland, Sr.
M: Yari Estrada, Bellevue, Jr.
M: Montanna Hosterman, Neb.-Kearney, So.
D: Madison Boettcher, Hastings, So.
D: Cheryl Sullivan, Midland, Sr.
D: Jordan Donohoue, Concordia, Sr.
D: Kate Petersen, Bellevue, So.
D: Sarah Talcott, UNK, Sr.
G: Brittany Toth, Hastings, Sr.
G: Megan Manley, Midland, So.

Honorary captain: Amanda Olson, Hastings

Honorable mention: Mercy Darkoah, Sammy Sinecio, Bellevue; Sarah McGuire, Abby Schlater, College of St. Mary; Emily Fleming, Rachel Mussell, Ashlie Sklenicka, Melissa Stine, Concordia; Morgan Karloff, Mia Juarez, Courtney Richards, Kelsey Stark, Doane; Kelly Poland, Hastings; Lauren Gray, Celia Williams, Midland; Rachel Gordon, Nebraska Wesleyan; Missy Everson, Kirsti Rehler, McKinzie Rieber, Lauren Hoeft, UNK; Kylie Comba, Jordan Hobza, Alex Mathers, Kelly Voigt, Wayne State; Amber Parker, Arielle Thomas, York.