SEWARD, Neb. – The first game of the Thomas Goines era felt like a late-season match as temperatures hovered in the low 40’s with a steady drizzle across Bulldog Stadium. In a fierce defensive battle on Wednesday (Sept. 9) evening, the Bulldogs lost in a heartbreaker by dropping a 1-0 overtime decision to Bellevue University.
The Concordia-Bellevue matchup marks the second consecutive overtime loss to Bellevue as the Bruins took a 2-1 decision back in 2019. The loss is Concordia’s fifth straight to Bellevue dating back to 2015.
Due to COVID-19 limiting the athletic competition window and inflicting protocols, Goines’ squad did not get any scrimmages before the matchup with the perennial national tournament contender.
“We have been waiting for months to play someone other than ourselves,” said Goines. “All of the returners missed their spring and most of our high school girls missed their senior year. This was their first competitive game for a lot of them in a long time. Not having scrimmages and having this be the first competitive match that any of them have seen in a long time; you can tell in warm-ups we had to slow them down. We told them that it’s alright, but they were all very anxious and excited just to be on the field.”
Concordia was with a limited line-up as they had only seven substitutes during the match. The Bulldogs had a significant absence without first-team All-GPAC performer Tori Cera, who led the Concordia in scoring last season.
“We were definitely short-handed – or more so than we would like to be,” Goines said. We asked a lot of young players to step up and take some roles against a very good team. They stepped up. We had a backline that started two freshmen and a handful of girls who are playing out of position just to be in a shape to be competitive.”
Bellevue (2-0) came into the matchup after blanking Doane 5-0 in their season opener. The Bruins sealed the win on midfielder Marilla Lages’ unassisted goal in the 94th minute of play. Bellevue goalkeeper Sabrina Staufenbiel has yet to allow a goal this season through two matches.
From a defensive standpoint, senior goalkeeper Lindsey Carley was solid as she recorded seven saves during regulation. Overall, the Bruins outshot the Bulldogs 10-6. Bellevue also held the upper hand in corner kicks by a 7-2 margin.
Junior transfer Bethany Fuchs made her Bulldog debut, recording a shot on goal during the match. In addition to Fuchs, freshmen Annika Munch and Sydney Ross also saw their first action in navy and white.
The Bulldogs will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 19, as they open GPAC play on the road at Mount Marty. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. CT in Yankton, S.D.