Freshman forward Sarah Rounds fights off a Dubuque defender in the Cobbers' 2-0 win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament .
|Third Time Is The Charm!|
ST. PAUL, Minn. (11/14/09)-- Concordia made the most of their third NCAA Tournament first round game in the past four years on Saturday. After dropping opening round national tournament games in 2006 and 2007, the Cobbers scored a pair of second-half goals and blanked the University of Dubuque (Iowa) 2-0 at Macalester.
The win keeps Concordia unbeaten on the year and moves their overall record to 17-0-2. The 17 wins sets a school record for victories in a single season. The old record of 16 was set in 2007. The Spartans, the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament champion, end their season with a 15-6-1 mark.
Concordia tried to steal the game in the first 10 minutes of play. The Cobbers were determined not to drop their third straight first round game as they started by putting heavy pressure on the Dubuque penalty area. CC had five shots and two corner kicks in the first 12:07 of play. Unfortunately none of their shots found the back of the net and the Spartans started to get their playoff legs back. Playing in their first-ever NCAA Tournament, Dubuque started to control play in the middle of the field and took the attack to the CC end for the next 15 minutes. During that time they had their only realistic scoring chance of the game when they had a point-blank shot blocked by a Cobber defender inside of 10 yards out.
For the first half, Concordia held an 8-3 advantage in shots and a 5-1 edge in shots on goal.
Cobber head coach Dan Weiler made a key change in the lineup at the start of the second half when he pushed wing midfielder Sue Obermiller up to forward and dropped freshman front-runner Sarah Rounds into the midfield. This allowed Concordia to win possession of the ball in the middle of the park and have a different offensive look. The change started to wear down the Spartans attacking players and CC started to get more quality chances.
The first golden opportunity came in the 59th minute when the Cobber offense combined on a nifty passing sequence at the top of the Dubuque penalty area. The subsequent cross on the ground found a wide open Megan Rice who pushed her doorstep shot just wide right.
Concordia was not about to let that chance go a-begging as four minutes later Rounds got on the end of a dead ball cross and headed the ball past UD goalie Natalie Baker. Rounds goal at 61:27 was her eighth of the season. It lifted some of the increasing tension off of Concordia and put Dubuque into a more attacking mode.
The Cobbers were able to step up defensively and not allow any serious chances for the next 15 minutes. The CC defense was carried by the return of central defender Erika Swenson who returned to the lineup after missing six games with an injury. Swenson was back in top form and played the entire 90 minutes to help Concordia post their 10th shutout of the season.
Concordia pushed for the goal that would put the game out of reach and was rewarded for their effort in the 82nd minute. Rounds struck again when she collected a goal kick off the foot of Baker and then hammered a shot into the upper part of the net from 25 yards out. Her second goal of the game at 81:26 gave CC a little breathing room and made the final eight minutes of the game to be played at a calmer pace.
In the end, the Cobbers outshot the Spartans 15-5 in total shots and 10-1 in shots on goal. Concordia had five corner kicks to just two for UD - which all came in the first half.
Cobber goalie Ali Nelson made the one key save in the first half to pick up her 10th shutout of the year. Baker stopped eight shots in goal for Dubuque.
Concordia will face a familiar foe in the second round of the national playoffs. The Cobbers will square off against conference rival Macalester on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m.