KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Despite a two-to-one advantage in total shots, the Concordia University women’s soccer team suffered defeat as it opened the 2016 season at Avila University on Friday afternoon. The host Eagles used a goal apiece from Sydney James and Stephanie Lewis on the way to a 2-0 victory in Kansas City, Mo.
Picked third in the GPAC preseason poll, the Bulldogs dropped a season opener for the first time under fourth-year head coach Greg Henson. Avila, a member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference, went 4-11-2 last season.
Henson thought his team responded well from the 19th-minute goal it surrendered, it simply didn’t show on the scoreboard.
“They caught us on our heels early on. After that we really limited their chances,” Henson said. “From that 19th minute on we took control of the game. We just couldn’t find that equalizer. In the second half we came out with better energy and better tempo. We were creating chances, but we couldn’t find the back of the net.”
Concordia got the better of the Eagles in every manner other than the scoreboard. The Bulldogs owned advantages of 18-9 in total shots and 6-0 in corner kicks. Four different Concordia players fired three shots each: Bolin, Jeannelle Condame, Maria Deeter and Esther Soenksen. On one occasion, Soenksen beat the keeper only to miss wide of the goal. Two other quality chances met the crossbar.
Three Bulldogs made their debuts in Concordia blue and white on Friday. That list included freshmen Bolin and Sami Birmingham and sophomore Lauren Martin, a transfer from St. Cloud State. Henson credited Martin with giving the Bulldogs a spark off the bench.
“It was a good learning opportunity,” Henson said. “You have to capitalize on the chances you get. Now we have the opportunity to bounce back tomorrow against a very good team that will be fresh. We know it will be a challenge to get a split on the weekend.”
The Bulldogs will remain in the Kansas City area for a 4 p.m. kickoff versus MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) on Saturday. The site of the game was changed on Friday due to poor play conditions at the arranged location