SEWARD, Neb. – Despite late adjustments made on the coaching staff, expectations will remain high for a Concordia University women’s soccer program that has made five-straight appearances in the GPAC tournament championship game. On Wednesday (Aug. 7), the GPAC announced a preseason women’s soccer poll that placed Concordia third (114 points) behind rivals Midland and Hastings. The Bulldogs also placed third in the league standings in 2018 in what turned out to be the final season of Greg Henson’s head coaching tenure at Concordia.
In Henson’s place steps Chris Luther, who assisted Henson in 2018. Luther possesses a combined 13 years of experience as a collegiate soccer head coach. Luther’s resume includes stints as head men’s and women’s soccer coach at his alma mater, York College, and as a high school coach in both Texas and Nebraska.
From a personnel standpoint, the Bulldogs remain on solid footing with the return of past all-conference performers such as Tori Cera and Lindsey Carley (2017 GPAC Defensive Player of the Year). Concordia will have to replace the leadership of the 2018-19 senior class that was headlined by honorable mention All-American Maria Deeter. Under Henson’s guidance, the Bulldogs won 13 or more games in each of the past five seasons.
Says Carley, “We were definitely all disappointed when we found out that we wouldn’t have Coach Henson with us this fall. I think we built a really solid foundation in the spring and we have a lot to build off going into this fall. Obviously we’ll miss having Coach here, but I’m confident that Coach Luther will do a good job. I think our team has really come together. We have a lot of high standards for ourselves this fall.”
Concordia will open up the new season by hosting Missouri Valley College on Saturday, Aug. 24. The following weekend the Bulldogs will be headed to Arkansas for a challenging pair of contests in Siloam Springs.
2019 GPAC Preseason Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Poll
*First-place votes in parentheses
1. Midland – 142 (10)
2. Hastings – 131 (3)
3. Concordia – 114
4. Briar Cliff – 107
5. Jamestown – 105
6. Morningside – 90
7. Dordt – 73
8. College of Saint Mary – 68
9. Northwestern – 67
10. Dakota Wesleyan – 46
11. Doane – 27
12. Presentation – 26
13. Mount Marty – 18