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Eric Peterson, Published November 14 2009

College women's soccer: Cobbers hope to end NCAA tourney skid

The Concordia Cobbers have been in this spot before. They just haven’t won in this spot before.

No. 8-ranked Concordia plays Dubuque (Iowa) at

5 p.m. today at Macalester in St. Paul in the first round of the Division III women’s soccer tournament.

“We’re finally at the point where the tournament isn’t so glorified,” said Cobbers coach Dan Weiler, who was named Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference coach of the year. “It has become a little more of just one more game for us. That’s difficult for that to be the case the first and even second time you’re there.”

The Cobbers (16-0-2) are playing in the national tournament for a third time. Concordia lost in the first round in each of those previous two appearances.

Those trips came in 2006 and 2007.

“I think we’re ready to prove that we belong there,” said Cobbers junior forward Sam Johnson, who was named MIAC player of the year earlier this week.

While Concordia hasn’t been tagged with a loss this season, the team was knocked out of the MIAC tournament semifinals after losing a shootout against Carleton. That game was tied at 1-1 after two overtimes and forced the shootout.

“That’s a loss in all of our minds,” Johnson said.

“The MIAC semifinal didn’t go the way we wanted it to,” Weiler added. “It’s kind of lit a fire underneath the girls and they want to go out and perform and just keep playing.”

Junior defender Erik Swenson is expected to return to the lineup after being sidelined with a leg injury. She had missed the past six games.

“Erika Swenson is back in our lineup now, which we weren’t anticipating,” Weiler said.

Even though they didn’t get to host, the Cobbers are happy with their draw and the venue. Macalester has a FieldTurf soccer field.

“With the way that our home field is right now, we’d love to play at home, but it’s still a bit soggy and we’re expected to get weather this weekend,” Weiler said. “So to play on turf is more an advantage for us.”

Johnson agreed.

“We’re not complaining too much,” she said. “It’s not a long drive, just to the cities so we’re kind of used to it.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.