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Concordia dons first-ever NAIA crown

Hannah Scott scores winning goal as Cavs end string of second-place finishes


by: COURTESY OF CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY - Concordia soccer players swarm forward Hannah Scott after her goal in Saturdays national championship game against Westmont. The Cavaliers went on to win 1-0 to claim their first NAIA title.Been there before, hadn’t done that.

Until now.

The Concordia University women’s soccer team, a perennial power, achieved its loftiest goal last week. The Cavaliers captured their first NAIA championship in the sport, winning four games in six days at the national tournament.

Concordia placed second in 2004, 2008 and 2011. On Saturday, the Cavs beat Westmont College 1-0 at Orange Beach, Ala., to secure the trophy.

“It’s very emotional,” coach Grant Landy says. “To get over the hump means a lot to our current team, but also to the alumni that had put us in position before. I’ve heard from 30 to 40 alums already.”

The Northeast Portland school owns one other national title, in the 2011 women’s outdoor track and field.

The 2013 women’s soccer team wears its crown in style, having won its last 18 games to finish 22-1-1.

In the finals, forward Hannah Scott’s 65th-minute strike, from just beyond the penalty area into the top left-hand corner of the goal, gave the Cavaliers all the scoring they needed. The Cavs’ staunch defense delivered again, helping Concordia outshoot Westmont 24-4.

It was the 12th shutout for goalkeeper Olivia Brock, who needed to make only one save in the championship game.

“We were good at both attacking and defending this year,” Landy says. “It was a very complete team.”

The Cavaliers outscored their 24 opponents 70-7. They went to overtime only twice, drawing 0-0 Aug. 30 with Westmont, of Santa Barbara, Calif., and beating Lindsey Wilson of Columbia, Ky., 2-1 in Friday’s NAIA semifinals.

It was a young team, too, with just four seniors — Scott, midfielder Hannah Kimsey, defender Samantha Johnson and forward Alex Blalock.

The national tournament

by: COURTESY OF CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY - Hannah Scott (right) gets a hug from teammate Jasmin Ayala after Concordias NAIA title game victory. Scott was voted the most outstanding offensive player at the national tournament, and Ayala was named tourney MVP.MVP, Concordia right back Jasmin Ayala, is a junior. Brock is a freshman.

Other underclassmen who started this season: defenders Kellie Skofstad and Becca Long, midfielder McKayla Madison and forwards Erin Hulsingh and Ashley Ames.

The bench depth included defenders Shannon McMahon, Hannah Smith and Morgan Rooney, midfielders Annika Hayman, Maddie Aldrich and Ariel Kanable, forwards Alicia Alarcon-Evans and Alicia Kolter and goalie Nicole Franklin.

“When you have 26 players, not everybody can play, and the whole team did an incredible job accepting whatever role I gave them,” Landy says.

The graduation of Scott, Kimsey and Blalock will take away three of the team’s leading scorers (the trio totaled 22 goals and 26 assists this season).

“Those four seniors were steady all year, provided great leadership and were very, very good at the national tournament,” Landy says. “We’re going to miss them.”

But the Cavs will return top scorer Bobbi Eckler, who had eight goals and three assists for 19 points as a freshman midfielder.

Scott, Kimsey, Johnston and Ayala made the all-tournament team, with Scott named the outstanding offensive player.

Landy has guided the Cavs to 14 consecutive Cascade Collegiate Conference championships (15 in all) and 13 straight NAIA national tourney berths since taking over as coach in 1997.

“I’m still trying to take it all in,” he says. “I think it’s going to be a couple of weeks till we figure out what we’ve accomplished.”