SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – Through 180 minutes of GPAC action, the Concordia University Women’s Soccer team has yet to allow a goal. A second-straight clean sheet and a 62nd-minute goal from Cheyenne Smith propelled the Bulldogs to a 1-0 victory at Dordt on Wednesday (Sept. 23) evening. Three days earlier, Concordia pummeled Mount Marty, 12-0.
Head Coach Thomas Goines has his side out to a 2-0 mark in conference play (2-1 overall). For the most part, the Bulldogs again had their way in terms of possession.
“Obviously today was a night and day difference from our last conference match,” Goines said. “Dordt came out with a solid and organized defense. It took us about 45-50 minutes to figure out and be able to consistently break it down. Of course we changed lineups a little bit. I thought in the second half we grew into the game and were able to manage it and control it at that point.”
Concordia is beginning to build confidence while Goines learns more about the group of players he inherited. The Bulldogs had chances to make this one a bit more comfortable, considering their advantage of 21-8 in the shot count (11-4 in shots on goal). On the other hand, the Defenders had a great chance at grabbing the lead just before halftime, but a header attempt was saved on a quick reaction by goalkeeper Lindsey Carley (four saves on the night).
You can’t miss Smith on the field. She’s the one with the bright pink hair. Her third career goal resulted from her being in the right place at the right time. Off a rebound, Smith tapped the ball into a wide-open goal. Madeline Haugen was credited with the assist. Dordt did not produce much in the way of a scoring threat the rest of the way.
“It’s a process,” Goines said of the lineup and positional tinkering. “We’re three games in at this point. We’re getting there. The girls have taken it in stride and have gone through the process with me. I was just really proud of how they responded through a physical and tough first half and came out and really controlled play in the second half.”
Goines has veterans such as Carley, Haugen, Mikeila Martinez Smith and Michaela Twito to rely upon. Twito continues to supply all-conference level play in the middle of the park. Twito plays in front of a rebuilt back line that includes freshman Annika Munch. So far things have worked out well from a defensive standpoint. The only goal the team has allowed this season was an overtime score by Bellevue in the season opener.
Dordt (1-3-1, 0-2-1 GPAC) had come off of a 2-2 draw at College of Saint Mary four days earlier. On the attack, the most active Defender was Alaina VanZalen (four shots, two on goal). Jaiden Beecher, Haugen and Martinez each fired four shots for Concordia.
The Bulldogs now look forward to returning home for the first time since the 2020 opener back on Sept. 9. Concordia will host Northwestern (0-2-1, 0-2 GPAC) at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday. Last year’s meeting in Seward resulted in a 1-0 Bulldog victory with the lone goal supplied by Beecher.