Concordia's women carry Oregon's soccer hopes

They’re ready to thaw out, the players on the Concordia women’s soccer team.

That’s what you would have gotten from their final practice before the trip to Decatur, Alabama that starts Friday.

The Cavaliers, ranked No. 1, will be chasing the university’s first national championship in a team sport when they arrive for the NAIA National Championship tournament at the Jack Allen Recreation Complex.

Concordia, 19-0-2, plays Hastings, Neb. College, Monday in the 16-team tournament. No. 2 Lee University of Cleveland, Tenn., plays Monday as well.

The Cavaliers won’t meet Lee until the final if the two continue to win. If it happens, it’ll be the third straight year the teams will have met either in the final or the semifinal. Lee won both, in the final two years ago and the semifinals last year.

The wins have put that school on another level in women’s soccer.

The Lee roster includes an international cast with two freshmen from South Africa, and one each from England, Scotland, Denmark and Norway.

Katrine Korsgaard, the freshman from Denmark, scored two goals Saturday, and two other international players also started Saturday.

The team’s top player, though, Jamie Achten, is a junior from Franklin, Tenn.

Concordia’s answer to their Southern/international rival is a roster of West Coast players led by senior midfielder Kaitlyn Tebbs, from Bend High, and Alex Thomas, from Camas, Wash. None of Concordia’s players are from towns East of the Rockies.

Tebbs scored 11 goals and dished out eight assists, while Thomas has eight goals and four assists. In 21 games, the Cavs have scored 55 goals.

The team’s real strength, though, is defense, having given up just five goals all season. Opposing teams converted just five of 60 shots on goal against goalkeeper Tori Talbutt and Marie Burn, and had a combined 27 corner kicks.

Lee plays conference rival Mobile, it the beat just 2-1 two weeks ago, in its first game in Decatur.

Azusa Pacific, which handed Lee one of its two losses back in September, is also in the Lee half of the 16-team bracket. Lee’s side has five teams with two or fewer losses.

On Concordia’s side, there’s just one team with fewer than three losses: William Jewell of Missouri, and it gave up four goals in an 8-4 win Saturday. Martin-Methodist of Tennessee, which has won two titles in the past five years, is in Concordia’s side.

Those facts are just meaningless points of interest, though, especially for a team that needed to rally from behind to win its first-round playoff game, 2-1, against Simon Fraser Saturday.

They won’t just have the opposition to worry about, but the rain and mud, something with came up as a big factor from last year’s drive to the semifinals.