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Home Sports Morningside hands CUNE women’s soccer first GPAC loss

Photo description: Sophomore Kierstynn Garner leads the pack down the pitch

Photo credit: Courtney Wright

Cohen Carpenter

Sower Staff


The Morningside Mustangs were in town Wednesday night and handed the Bulldogs their first Great Plains Athletic Conference loss of the season after a hotly contested 1-0 match. Concordia moves to 8-3-1 overall and 4-1-1 in GPAC play.

The Mustangs came stampeding into Seward with a prolific offense over their past few contests. Boasting a 6-2-3 record, the Mustangs played inspired soccer their last time playing, when they scored two goals on 12 shots against the No. 19 Hastings squad. On the season, Morningside is averaging an impressive 19.7 shots per game, which is the best in the GPAC. They like to make those shots count as well, with the Mustangs having scored 23 goals in their past 10 games coming into Seward Wednesday night.

The Bulldogs’ offense also likes to make the scoreboard operator work for his paycheck, having scored 38 goals in 11 contests coming into the game Wednesday night. The Bulldogs’ bread and butter is accuracy on offense and denying possession on defense. Paired with a tendency towards set pieces, it is easy to see how Concordia has earned an 8-3-1 record. The Bulldogs are scoring on just under 25% of their shots and are averaging 6.45 corner kicks a game — stats that have kept opposing GPAC keepers on their toes all season long.

Fortunately for Morningside, keeper play has been one of their strong suites throughout the season. In the net for the Mustangs Wednesday night was freshman Kyla Syverson, who was making just her second start of the season after their starting keeper, junior Isabel Ter Weeme has been absent in the net ever since the Morningside’s bout with Doane on Sept. 27. Syverson established herself early when she found herself in a one-on-one with Concordia’s sophomore Sierra Springer mere minutes into the match. Charging the ball from the goal box, a dive to the right saved a potential go-ahead goal.

The match then evolved into a competitive and fast-paced grudge match for the remainder of the first frame, with both offenses getting rather comfortable with each other’s penalty box. Unfortunately for Bulldog fans, the first fireworks of the night came off the hoof of a Mustang. With 20:12 remaining before half time sophomore forward Keyera Harmon made her move. Corralling the ball outside of the Bulldog penalty box, Harmon galloped her way past a handful of Concordia defenders, leaving senior goalkeeper Bradi Ore the sole defender ahead of her. A gentle touch to the right of the keeper guided the ball to the back of the net, Harmon connecting for the first goal of the game and the seventh of her season.

Ore bounced back later in the half with a valiant save of her own, this time staring down the barrel of another Morningside forward, junior Lisann Evert. Evert, having bucked a couple of Concordia defenders, came face-to-face with the Bulldog keeper. Ore smartly approached from Evert’s left, leaving the forward with only one direction to go with the ball. Anticipating the shot, Ore was in front of it almost as soon as it came off the cleat — an impressive save to keep the match within striking distance going into halftime just down by a goal.

Ore continued her heroics when she stared down yet another charging Mustang with 31 minutes left in the game. This time her advisory came in the form of junior midfielder Roselynn Bosman. After a whiff by the usually sure-footed senior defender Grace Soenksen, Bosman created yet another one-on-one with the Bulldog keeper. This time, Ore began her charge earlier and with a full head of steam, and the two players collided at the top of the penalty box, with Ore putting her body on the line to save yet another goal.

The rest of the game was full of passion from either side, with the game finishing with a total of 19 fouls and 5 yellow cards, three of which were attributed to the Mustangs. As a result of the constant action, there were plenty of set pieces to be had by either side for the rest of the night, but in that category, Concordia had the edge.

The Bulldogs finished the night with the advantage in corner kicks, as they usually do, with five. However, none of the action resulted in a goal for the Bulldogs, and the early score of 1-0 remained until the final whistle.

Possession ended up being the name of the game for the Bulldogs, as it seemed Morningside made it difficult for the Bulldogs to consistently sustain offensive attacks. The early goal for the Mustangs did not help in this regard, as it forced the Bulldogs to play very aggressively in the final minutes against a very stout Morningside backline.

“It’s a little bit too little, too late,” said head coach Nick Smith about the Bulldogs’ second half, “Most teams that we’ll see now, if they get a goal on us, they’re gonna sit it. At times, [Morningside] had all 10 of their field players sitting behind the ball, and that’s difficult to break down.”

Early goals have proved crucial, as over the past six games going into Wednesday night, the Bulldogs had scored first all six times — winning five and tying one.

The one highlight of the night for Concordia was the stellar play in goal by Bradi Ore. Coach Smith had this to say about his keeper: “Bradi played really well… she made saves tonight that I expected her to save because her form has been quite good.”

Ore only allowed one goal out of five hard-hit shots on goal, netting her four saves on the night. Ore now has 20 total saves in eight games played this season.

The Bulldogs’ next chance to get in the win column will be on Oct. 7 up in Jamestown, North Dakota against the Jamestown Jimmies. The Jimmies had a rough start to their season after playing four straight ranked teams, but they have played better in the conference, where they are 3-1-2. First touch will be at 7 p.m.

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