Bulldog Athletic Association Athletes of the Week
Female: Dani Andersen, Basketball
Andersen, a native of Lincoln, Neb., totaled 26 points and made 6-of-9 shots from 3-point range over last week’s GPAC victories over Briar Cliff and Dordt. A transfer from Midland, the junior guard is averaging 10.4 points and is shooting 38.9 percent from beyond the arc this season.
Male: Giovanni Castillo, Wrestling / Eli Ziegler, Basketball
Castillo, who hails from Ontario, Calif., defeated Indiana Tech’s eighth-ranked Sawyer Miller by major decision, 15-7, at 125 pounds as part of action at the National Duals. Ranked No. 12 in his weight class, Castillo owns a record of 5-2 on the year.
Ziegler, who calls Littleton, Colo., home, averaged 18.0 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds over last week’s trio of Bulldog victories. While going for 27 points in the win at Dordt, Ziegler became the 29th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. Ziegler is averaging 18.1 points and is shooting 48.1 percent from 3-point range this season.
Bulldogs set to host 2017 Concordia Invitational Tournament: The Concordia Invitational Tournament makes its return to Seward in 2017. Defending champions of both the men’s and women’s 2016 events, the Bulldogs will welcome Concordia-Ann Arbor, Concordia-Chicago and Concordia-Wisconsin to Walz Arena, which will host a total of eight basketball games Jan. 27-28. For more information on #CIT2017, click HERE.
Indoor track and field opens 2017 season this week: The first season of indoor track and field under head coach Matt Beisel will officially get started this weekend. The Bulldogs will compete at the University of Nebraska Holiday Inn Invitational (Jan. 13-14) and the Nisely Invitational (Jan. 14) hosted by Doane University. Concordia will put on its first home meet of 2017 when the annual Concordia Indoor Classic takes place on Jan. 29. Both Bulldog squads recorded top-five national finishes at both the 2016 indoor and outdoor national championships with the highlight being the women’s team national title at the outdoor event last May. To read an indoor season preview, click HERE.
Born to play hoops, Ziegler reaches career milestone: Last week senior guard Eli Ziegler became the 29th player in Concordia men’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career points. A native of Littleton, Colo., Ziegler is enjoying his best season as a Bulldog. Says Ziegler, “There are such good people at Concordia that truly care about you. I’ll have that for the rest of my life.” Check out our feature piece on Ziegler HERE.
Tucson Invitational slate announced for softball: Last week the schedule for the 2017 Tucson Invitational was announced. Fourth-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s softball squad will play nine games in Tucson, Ariz., between March 5 – 10. The Bulldogs have made the trip to Tucson each spring during LaVelle’s tenure. Concordia has gone 25-7 at the Tucson Invitational over the past three seasons. The entire 2017 softball schedule can be viewed HERE.
How to purchase Cultivating Men of Faith and Character: The book, Cultivating Men of Faith and Character: The History of Concordia Nebraska Football, remains available for purchase online HERE. For more than 90 years, the Concordia football program has cultivated men of faith and character. This journey through the program’s entire history takes a narrative, coach-by-coach approach in bringing back to life the memorable plays, players and moments in Bulldog football history. Win or lose, Christian character has guided a storied football tradition in Seward, home to the “college in the cornfield.”
Bulldog Coaches Show airs every Thursday at 6 p.m. CT: The Bulldog Coaches Show is in its second year of existence. The show airs live for a half hour every Thursday beginning at 6 p.m. CT on KTMX-FM 104.9 Max Country. The weekly feature can also be heard live via 104.9 Max Country’s website or by downloading the TuneIn Radio app and searching “Max Country.” Throughout the 2016-17 season, Bulldog football, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball contests will be aired live on Max Country.
Concordia Sports Network: Live webcasts for most home varsity contests can be accessed by visiting http://www.cune.edu/csn at game time. Check team schedules/results pages for webcast dates. Scrimmages, exhibitions and junior varsity events are not broadcasted.
- The win streak carries on for Concordia, which went 3-0 during last week’s action. The Bulldogs passed every test over a grueling three-games-in-four-days stretch that saw them defeat defending GPAC champion Briar Cliff, 87-79, Dordt, 100-91, and Oglala Lakota College (S.D.), 108-70. Fourth-year head coach Ben Limback’s red hot squad has now won five-consecutive games to improve to 12-6 overall and to 4-5 in conference play (seventh place). For more information on Bulldog men’s basketball, click HERE.
- For a program that Limback has built up following a 6-22 record (prior to Limback’s arrival) in 2012-13, Concordia had not had a winning streak of more than four games in any of the previous five seasons. One must go back to the beginning of the 2010-11 campaign for a win streak of five or more. Last season’s squad that finished 18-12 overall strung together two streaks of four-straight wins and went on a run of seven victories in eight games late in the year.
- In the final seconds of the win at Dordt, senior guard Eli Ziegler became the 29th member of the program’s 1,000-point club. The native of Littleton, Colo., has elevated his game to new heights in his final collegiate season. Over his four years as a Bulldog, Ziegler’s scoring averages have gone from 3.8 to 8.7 to 10.3 to 18.1. He’s also one of the nation’s top 3-point shooters, ranking 11th nationally in 3-point field goals per game (3.6) and 17th among all NAIA Division II players in 3-point percentage (.481). Last week Ziegler went off for 21 points versus Briar Cliff and 27 at Dordt.
- Had there been a top 25 poll released last week by the NAIA, Briar Cliff likely would have been included. It took a five-game win streak into action at Walz Arena, where it became yet another victim. The Bulldogs are 8-1 at home. Concordia has also gone 4-3 against ranked teams (Briar Cliff was listed as receiving votes entering last week). The contest versus Briar Cliff marked the Bulldogs’ sixth-straight outing going up against a team either ranked or receiving votes. Concordia went 4-2 during that stretch.
- Chandler Folkerts, No. 4 on the program’s all-time scoring list, continued to do his thing last week. He needed only 61 minutes of action over the three wins to pile up 54 points, 25 rebounds, five steals and three blocked shots. He also went 19-for-25 (.760) from the field and 15-for-17 (.882) from the free throw line. He even surprised Dordt by draining a critical trey late in the game. The native of Milford, Neb., ranks third among all NAIA Division II players in field goal percentage (.691). He’s averaging 19.1 points and 7.6 rebounds on the year.
- Sophomore guard Chris Johnstone, a transfer from Chaminade University, returned to the court last week to provide a boost. He had been sidelined since suffering an ankle injury at Morningside on Dec. 7. In the victories over Dordt and Oglala Lakota, Johnstone went a combined 9-for-12 from the field and 5-for-7 from beyond the arc. He totaled 16 points at Dordt. After starting the first 12 games of the season, Johnstone was used off the bench last week. He ranks fourth on the team with an average of 10.7 points per game.
- Incredibly, Concordia’s shooting percentages keep soaring. The Bulldogs turned in respective shooting clips of 54.2, 58.6 and 56.6 over last week’s three games. Concordia also hurled in 31 more 3-point makes. Nationally, the Bulldogs rank first in 3-point field goal percentage (.438), first in field goal percentage (.530), ninth in 3-point field goals per game (10.7), 13th in free throw percentage (.762) and 15th in scoring offense (89.5). Concordia has now reached 100 points in a game five times this season.
- Concordia’s top three scorers in the win over Oglala Lakota all achieved career high point totals: freshman Brevin Sloup (21), senior Justin Damme (19) and freshman Clay Reimers (15). Reimers also recorded his first career double-double while amassing a personal best 11 rebounds. Sloup went 8-for-9 from the field, including 5-for-6 shooting from 3-point range. All three aforementioned Bulldogs came off the bench. The reserves accounted for 80 points in the weekend home win.
- A challenging week lies ahead. The Bulldogs will host No. 20 Midland (13-5, 6-2 GPAC) at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Then on Sunday, they will take a road trip to No. 12 Dakota Wesleyan (15-5, 6-2 GPAC) for a 4 p.m. CT tipoff inside the Corn Palace. Concordia will try to avenge a Nov. 16 loss at Midland and earn a regular-season sweep of Dakota Wesleyan.
- Another week brought two more lopsided conference victories for the second-ranked Bulldogs, who opened up the new year by walloping both Briar Cliff, 86-63, and Dordt, 81-43. In the process of blowing out Dordt on Jan. 6, Concordia remained a perfect 5-0 in true road games. Eleventh-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad has won 17-straight games and stands at 17-1 overall and at 10-0 in conference play (first place). For more information on Bulldog women’s basketball, click HERE.
- Concordia is 10-0 in conference action for the first time since the 2002-03 season. The 02-03 squad, coached by Todd Voss, went a perfect 16-0 in GPAC regular-season play in the process of claiming the conference championship. That team finished 36-2 overall and advanced to the national semifinals. During Olson’s tenure, Concordia’s previous longest unbeaten run to begin conference play was an 8-0 start in 2012-13 when the team held the No. 1 national ranking. The 12-13 squad ended up 16-4 in the GPAC for a second-place finish. Olson has led the program to GPAC regular-season titles in 2011-12 and 2013-14.
- Olson used the layoff between the Hoop N Surf Classic (Dec. 19-20) and the home matchup with Briar Cliff (Jan. 4) to reinvigorate the team’s pressure defense. It worked. After forcing 41 combined turnovers in wins over No. 17 Indiana Tech and No. 8 College of the Ozarks (Mo.) in Hawaii, Concordia turned up the heat last week. The Bulldogs suffocated Briar Cliff, which turned it over 32 times and shot only 33.9 percent from the field. Two days later, Dordt committed 38 turnovers and shot a lowly 28.3 percent. Concordia opponents are averaging 27.8 turnovers per game.
- Junior Dani Andersen went through a recent shooting lull, but she broke out of it in a big way last week. She nailed 6-of-9 shots from beyond the arc while averaging 13.0 points over the two runaway wins. The Midland transfer and product of Lincoln Christian High School represents the Bulldogs’ most lethal threat from the outside. She’s knocked down 44-of-113 (.389) shots from beyond the arc this season. During her two years as a Warrior, Andersen shot 35.6 percent (103-for-289) from 3-point range. Her current scoring average of 10.4 is a career high.
- Off the bench, Erin Vieselmeyer had a big week on the boards. She grabbed a season high 10 rebounds in the win over Briar Cliff and then pulled in six more at Dordt. In addition to her 10 boards versus Briar Cliff, she also contributed seven points and three blocked shots. After playing junior varsity her first two seasons, Vieselmeyer worked her herself into a prominent role off the bench. The senior from Holyoke, Colo., is averaging 4.3 points and 3.2 rebounds this season for a balanced team.
- Olson used an array of lineup combinations at Dordt. In that contest, Concordia played the entire game without all-conference guard Mary Janovich and nearly the entire game without point guard Shelby Quinn, who had to receive stitches after suffering a cut above the eye. Freshman Riley Sibbel wore Janovich’s customary No. 20. Wearing No. 54, sophomore Shelby Pollman saw the first varsity action of her career. Of the 15 Bulldogs to play at Dordt, 13 registered in the scoring column.
- Freshmen contributed 26 points in the win at Dordt. The usual suspect in rookie standout Philly Lammers posted a game high 13 points. A role player in her first collegiate season, Colby Duvel turned in a career high nine points to go with her four rebounds. Additionally, Sibbel added four points. Freshman Maggie Goltz also saw 10 minutes of action.
- Concordia maintains lofty national rankings in many key statistical categories: second in steals per game (17.2), second in turnover margin (plus-10.1), fourth in scoring margin (plus-26.0), fifth in scoring offense (84.2), sixth in free throw percentage (.770), seventh in 3-point field goals per game (9.2), 13th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.271), 14th in assist-to-turnover ratio (plus-1.07), 17th in scoring defense (58.2), 18th in field goal percentage (.437), 21st in field goal percentage defense (.361) and 26th in blocks per game (3.6).
- The Bulldogs will put their unbeaten conference mark on the line this week with a pair of GPAC contests. They will host Midland (11-6, 4-5 GPAC) at 6 p.m. CT on Wednesday. They will then shift their focus to a Sunday matinee with eighth-ranked Dakota Wesleyan (15-2, 6-2 GPAC). Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. CT from the Corn Palace. Concordia will attempt to complete regular-season sweeps of both opponents.
- Following another break in the schedule, the 11th-ranked Bulldogs ventured to Fort Wayne, Ind., the hometown of first-year head coach Andrew Nicola, for last week’s NWCA NAIA National Duals (Jan. 5-6) held at the War Coliseum. Seeded 10th in the 16-team bracket, Concordia dominated seventh-seeded Wayland Baptist University (Texas), 36-7, but was then eliminated from the tournament due to losses to No. 2 Indiana Tech, 31-18, and to No. 9 Missouri Valley College, 21-18. The Bulldogs are now 6-4 overall and 2-0 in conference duals. For more information on the Concordia wrestling program, click HERE.
- Each of the Bulldogs’ last eight duals have come against teams with national rankings. Concordia has gone 4-4 in those duals, claiming wins over No. 8 Campbellsville University (Ky.), No. 11 Wayland Baptist (twice) and No. 17 (NJCAA) Northwest Kansas Technical College. Three of the Bulldogs’ four losses this season have come at the hands of NAIA top-10 ranked squads while the other defeat was handed out by the 14th-ranked team in NCAA Division II, University of Central Oklahoma.
- From an individual perspective, second-ranked 197-pounder Ken Burkhardt Jr. and fourth-ranked heavyweight Ceron Francisco again shined for Concordia. Burkhardt Jr. (22-5) ran his personal winning streak to 12 while going 3-0 at the National Duals where he earned victories over Wayland Baptist’s eighth-ranked Riley Williams and Indiana Tech’s 10th-ranked Oscar Martinez. The Milford native also squeaked by Missouri Valley’s Alex Destra, 5-4. Burkhardt Jr.’s career record now stands at 108-53.
- Francisco appears to be next in line to join Burkhardt Jr. as the only wrestlers in program history to achieve 100 career wins. The native of Fayetteville, N.C., ran his career mark to 87-51 by also going 3-0 at the National Duals. Francisco added a win over a ranked foe to his ledger when he defeated No. 16 Justin Smith (Missouri Valley), 4-1. Francisco is 13-1 overall this season with his lone loss coming at the Oklahoma City Duals. He is 5-1 in duals.
- Also at the National Duals, 15th-ranked 125-pounder Dmitri Smith went 2-0, No. 12 Giovanni Castillo won his only bout at 125, No. 9 Kodie Cole went 2-1 at 133 and Jon Lado went 2-1 at 157. Collectively, the Bulldogs won 17 of 30 individual bouts. In Fort Wayne, one pin apiece was notched by both Francisco and Lado. Of the 11 Bulldogs to compete at the National Duals, 10 of them turned in at least one victory on the day. Castillo’s win came by major decision over Indiana Tech’s eighth-ranked Sawyer Miller.
- Four Bulldogs also took part in last week’s NUWAY College Open in Fort Wayne. Three of the four recorded place finishes: Kolton Larsen (second at 157), DJ McIntyre (fourth at 285) and Cooper Bailey (sixth at 133). Sophomore Alexander Reimers did not place, but went 3-2 in the 197-pound bracket. Collectively, the quartet of Bulldogs went 14-7. Bailey and Larsen both won four bouts and McIntyre and Reimers secured three victories apiece.
- Nine Bulldogs have piled up at least 10 wins this season (see list below). Concordia is topped by the 22 from Burkhardt Jr. Francisco (13-1) boasts the team’s top winning percentage. Burkhardt Jr. has placed at all four tournaments that he has competed in. He took first at both the Doane and Grand View Opens, fourth at the Dakota Wesleyan Open and sixth at the UNK Open. Francisco (two), Burkhardt Jr. (two) and Nate Bennett (one) have each won at least one tournament title. Five different Bulldogs now own nine wins: Deandre Chery, Gabe Crawford, Walker Fisher, Lado and Smith.
- Ken Burkhardt Jr. (197): 22-5
- Kolton Larsen (157): 15-10
- Ceron Francisco (285): 13-1
- Kodie Cole (133): 13-5
- Alexander Reimers (197): 13-9
- DJ McIntyre (285): 12-8
- Darrin Miller (174): 10-10
- Kirk Kaliszewski (165): 10-11
- Josh Nelsen (184): 10-13
- Concordia will have this week off from competition. Next up on the schedule is the Missouri Valley College Invite on Jan. 20-21. The Bulldogs will have three GPAC duals on Jan. 28 in Orange City, Iowa. Their next home appearance is set for Feb. 2 when Briar Cliff visits Walz Arena.