"I think the seniors have bought in to what we're trying to do here," said Concordia director of soccer Chris Gould. "Last year was frustrating for us. We didn't lose to a team outside the top 10 in either the NAIA or NCAA. But we were 11-6, which was misleading. We had a good team. These kids have returned motivated to get to nationals."
Gould said the fast start doesn't mean his team is playing at its best, at least not yet.
"In the beginning we weren't punished for mistakes we made and not playing at our best; we had some luck," Gould admitted. "We are where we are (No. 7 in nation) because of the Concordia-Portland game. That really was a turning point for our kids, knowing that they can play at a high level. It generated momentum and got the kids excited that they could do it."
The Eagles' only loss came in a 2-1 overtime setback at No. 14 Embry-Riddle on Sept. 9.
"To fly across the country (Florida) and do all that, it gave the kids an idea of what the national tournament will be like," Gould said. "Our kids were disappointed with how that game ended. It's not that Embry-Riddle played poorly; I thought they played well. It was a learning lesson for the kids. In the long run I'm hoping it'll be a positive experience. It was a good college soccer game.
"Good teams learn lessons from a loss, bad teams make the same mistakes."
In their only game since the loss, the Eagles routed Warner Southern, 7-0. It was their fifth shutout in their seven wins this season, defense being the key to the Eagles' success.
"(Goalkeeper) Bekah (Garvin) is going to end up setting all sorts of records at the school," Gould said. "We have a good goalkeeper and a good defensive unit, we're a strong defensive team. We don't like being without the ball and if we lose it we get it back as soon as possible.