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Eric Peterson, Published November 21 2009

Breaking down the Concordia women's soccer team

1. The Cobbers are one victory away from rare air

The women’s soccer team has never made it to the Elite Eight of an NCAA Division III tournament. The Cobbers hadn’t won an NCAA tournament game in women’s soccer until this season.

The last Concordia team in any sport to make the Elite Eight in an NCAA tournament was the 1991 women’s basketball team.

The Cobbers volleyball team advanced to the Sweet 16 last season.

“It’s a really nice reward for the work that the girls have put in,” Cobbers soccer coach Dan Weiler said. “We don’t necessarily compare ourselves to other sports, and we want all of our sports at Concordia to do well. We’ve had many coaches and many other athletes congratulate us and it feels good. It feels good to get to this point. And we just want to keep moving and see how far we can get.”

2. Sam Johnson is having a season for the ages

The junior forward has 22 goals and 47 points through 20 games. Both season totals rank second in program history.

Morgan Bain holds the school record in both with 24 goals and 53 points in 2004. Bain played in 20 games that season.

Johnson earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American honors earlier this week along with Concordia junior defender Erika Swenson.

“She’s right up there,” Weiler said of Johnson’s season. “She’s having a record-setting season and she deserves it. She’s worked really hard to get to this point. A lot of the things that she’s been working on have kind of come together this year. She’s an outstanding player and she’s an amazing student.”

3. Ali Nelson is a freshman, but doesn’t play like one

The true freshman goalkeeper from Maple Grove, Minn., has a 0.47 goals against average this season, including 10 shutouts.

“She’s the kind of goalie that kind of prevents a lot of problems. So for the untrained I eye it’s not really clear how much of an impact she does have,” Weiler said. “She is the kind of person in behind the back line that really organizes well and doesn’t put her defenders in situations that are really tough for them to get out of, and takes so much pressure off of them. … She’s pretty cool under pressure.”