Bulldog Athletic Association Athletes of the Week
Male: Carlos Ferrer, Soccer / Grady Koch, Football
Ferrer, a native of Chula Vista, Calif., has been of the top attacking players for a men’s soccer team with a 12-1-1 overall record. Last week Ferrer helped the Bulldogs to a pair of GPAC victories while contributing an assist in the win over Morningside.
Koch, who hails from Doniphan, Neb., stands out as one of Concordia’s most physical blockers for an offensive line that paved the way for Ryan Durdon to rush for 266 yards and four touchdowns in the 44-14 win over Midland. Koch earned honorable mention all-conference accolades last season.
Female: Sami Birmingham, Soccer
Birmingham, a native of Johnston, Iowa, earned credit for two game-winning goals last week in victories over Doane and Morningside. Named the GPAC offensive player of the week, Birmingham has totaled four goals over the past four games for the first-place Bulldogs.
Previous athletes of the week
Oct. 10 – Micah Lehenbauer (soccer) / Kaitlyn Radebaugh (soccer)
Oct. 3 – Micah Lehenbauer (soccer) / Maria Deeter (soccer)
September Athletes of the Month: Tarence Roby (football) / Lindsey Carley (soccer)
Sept. 26 – Kordell Glause (football) / Emily Deschaine (cross country)
Sept. 19 – Lewis Rathbone (soccer) / Victoria Cera (soccer)
Sept. 12 – Tarence Roby (football) / Murphy Sears (golf)
Sept. 5 – Jack Bennett (soccer) / Lindsey Carley (soccer)
News and notes:
Martin named football program’s first national player of the week since 2009: On the strength of three first-quarter interceptions in last week’s 44-14 win over Midland, senior D’Mauria Martin collected NAIA national defensive player of the week accolades. He is the first Bulldog to receive such an award since defensive back Ben Klein garnered the same honor in 2009. Martin also earned GPAC defensive player of the week recognition while teammate Ryan Durdon was tabbed the conference’s offensive player of the week.
Baseball fall update: Fresh off a GPAC regular-season title this past spring, members of the Concordia University baseball team returned to action this academic year with its fall practice season. Early indications are that the 2018 Bulldogs will be led by a deep and talented pitching staff. Head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has engaged in several other activities since beginning the new semester. For a fall update on the baseball program, click HERE.
Bulldog Coaches Show airs every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. CT: The Bulldog Coaches Show is underway in its third year of existence. The show airs live for a half hour every Thursday beginning at 5:30 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 Max Country app. Throughout the 2017-18 season, Bulldog football, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball contests will be aired live on Max Country. Tyler Cavalli serves as the host of the coaches’ show as well as the play-by-play voice for football and basketball. Frank Greene is again calling volleyball action.
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.
- Concordia had a bye week to stew over a 38-18 loss at Hastings on Sept. 30. The Bulldogs responded in a big way, following the lead of star sophomore running back Ryan Durdon in a 44-14 thumping of visiting Midland on Oct. 14. Durdon and the ground attack churned out 321 yards as Concordia remained unbeaten when playing at home this season. First-year head coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad evened up its records at 3-3 overall and 2-2 in conference play (tied for third). For more information on Concordia football, click HERE.
- It’s difficult to find the superlatives to describe the day that Durdon enjoyed. He equaled a school single-game record by galloping for 266 rushing yards to go along with four touchdowns on 28 carries. His scores came from distances of 41, 54, three and 20 yards. He burned the Warriors for five separate runs of 30 or more yards. Only five times during the GPAC era (2000-present) has a Concordia player rushed for 200 or more yards in a game. Durdon has done it twice.
- Durdon now shares the program’s single-game rushing record with Randy Pospishil, who totaled 266 rushing yards versus Dana in a contest played in 1972. Durdon broke a GPAC-era best rushing standard previously set by JaMaine Lewis, who blazed to 261 yards in a 2007 win over Dakota Wesleyan. There are eight 200-yard rushing games officially documented in the Bulldog record books. Durdon ranks first and sixth on that list. Additionally, the 266 rushing yards rank as the largest total for any NAIA ball carrier this season.
- A native of Decatur, Texas, Durdon is on pace to become only the sixth player in school history to reach 1,000 yards in a single season. The Bulldogs that have accomplished that feat are: JaMaine Lewis (1,265), Cleve Wester (1,114), Randy Pospishil (1,085), Bryce Collins (1,016) and Jeff Towns (1,002). Durdon is currently averaging 119.8 rushing yards per game (10th best in the nation) and has 719 total rushing yards. With just four games remaining, Durdon would need to average 136.8 rushing yards per game to break Lewis’ single-season record.
- A monster game for safety D’Mauria Martin also pushed him up the national leaderboards. Martin plucked all three of his interceptions during the first quarter of last week’s game. On those picks, he totaled 78 return yards. His five interceptions lead the team and rank as the second most of any player in NAIA football. Prior to this season, the native of Converse, Texas, had made only two career interceptions. He transitioned from cornerback, where he started his first three seasons, to safety this year. Also as part of last week’s game, Martin made a tackle for loss and a pass breakup.
- After missing the previous two games with an ankle injury, junior quarterback Riley Wiltfong made his return last week and got the start. With the way Durdon and the offensive line were dominating, Concordia threw only 13 passes all game. After an early interception, Wiltfong tightened things up and finished 8-for-11 for 107 yards and two touchdown passes. Three receivers (Vincent Beasley, Lane Castaneda and Jackson Hall) were responsible for the eight completions.
- So far, the Bulldogs have been perfect at home (3-0) and imperfect (0-3) on the road. Dating back to the end of the 2015 season, Concordia has won nine-consecutive games played inside Bulldog Stadium. That string includes seven victories over GPAC opponents and two over squads from the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs will have to protect their turf against Dakota Wesleyan (Oct. 28) and No. 4 Morningside (Nov. 11) in order to complete an undefeated home season for the second year in a row.
- It’s been a unique first six games that have seen Concordia look stellar one week and then not-so-stellar the next. In home contests, the Bulldogs have an average victory margin of 19.7 points per game. On the road, they have been defeated by an average of 16.3 points per game. In other words, Concordia has yet to play a game that has come down to the wire.
- Perhaps that first road win of 2017 will come this Saturday when the Bulldogs take on Dordt (4-2, 2-2 GPAC) in Sioux Center, Iowa. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. CT. The Defenders have rapidly improved under the direction of second-year head coach Joel Penner. Dordt is coming off consecutive wins over nationally-ranked teams: No. 12 Doane and No. 19 Hastings. Concordia is 8-1 all-time versus the Defenders.
- The fall season is in the books for both Concordia golf programs. The women concluded their fall slate last week by placing ninth following two rounds of GPAC championship action that took place at The Bluffs Golf Course in Vermillion, S.D., Oct. 9-10. Meanwhile, the men will enter the spring in fourth place in the conference standings. The men finished their fall season by placing ninth at the Nebraska Intercollegiate on Oct. 7. For more information on Bulldog golf: MEN | WOMEN.
- An all-conference performer for head coach Brett Muller’s program as a freshman last season, sophomore Murphy Sears stands a good chance of earning similar honors this season thanks to her efforts last week. Her two-round GPAC score stands at 85-86–171 (+27), putting her in 13th place. By comparison, Sears carded a four-round total of 85-90-89-81–345 during her first run through the GPAC tournament in 2016-17. The Crete native is fully capable of going low, as evidenced by the 78 she shot at the College of Saint Mary Classic on Sept. 27.
- The Bulldog women carded a score of 383-376–759 over two days spent at The Bluffs Golf Course. They were able to distance themselves on Tuesday from 10th-place Dordt (383-390–773) and 11th-place Hastings (397-402–799). Concordia’s 376 in round two is a lower score than three of the four totals it had at last season’s GPAC championships when it placed eighth (386-378-377-368–1,509).
- Looking beyond Sears, everyone else in the five-person lineup either duplicated or improved on day two in Vermillion. Following Sears were freshman Rebecca Day (97-96–193; T-38th), sophomore Payton DeMers-Sahling (101-94–195; 44th), freshman Haley Nolde (100-100–200; T-47th) and sophomore Paighton Barbre (106-105–211; 52nd).
- The men’s team heads into the spring right in the thick of the race atop the conference standings. Concordia carded a two-round total of 288-295–583 (+15) two weeks ago at Willow Run Golf Course in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Bulldogs will enter 2018 just four strokes behind Doane for third place, six strokes behind Northwestern for second place and 12 strokes behind Morningside for first place. Concordia finished in seventh place in 2016-17.
- Junior Nolan Zikas has put himself in position for another all-conference finish. His two-round total of 70-73–143 (+1) leaves him in a tie for fifth place on the individual leaderboard. Zikas claimed a pair of tournament wins as a freshman at two separate GPAC championship rounds. Overall, Zikas placed ninth (79-79-74-70—302) in the conference as a freshman and 24th as a sophomore (76-91-79-77–323). His one-under-par 70 in this season’s opening round equaled a career best for an 18-hole score at a GPAC tournament.
- Senior Russell Otten was a big mover on Oct. 3 (day two of the GPAC championships). After a disappointing 77 on day one, he went low in the second round with a one-under-par 70 and soared up to 15th place on the leaderboard. Freshman Kort Steele improved in similar fashion, rising into a tie for 20th overall by knocking eight strokes off his first-round total (79-71–150). Senior Tyler Ehresman (70-82–152) and sophomore Tylar Samek (71-81–152) are knotted for 26th place. Ehresman carded a career best one-under-par 70 on Oct. 2.
- Otten came in right at his season average with a team low 76 at the Nebraska Intercollegiate. Conditions were not especially conducive to low scoring. Only event champion University of Nebraska-Kearney (299) posted a sub-300 team score. Zikas managed to crack the 70s along with Otten. Zikas’ five-over-par 77 placed him in a tie for 21st. The rest of the lineup included Samek (83; T-50th), Steele (83; T-50th) and Ehresman (84; T-55th).
- Now the team will wait until the spring to get back to action. The final 36 holes of the men’s conference championships will be played at Woodland Hills Golf Course in Eagle, Neb. On the other hand, the women will return to Quail Run Golf Course in Columbus, Neb., for the spring GPAC championships.
- Another week brought two more shutout wins in GPAC play. In a week at home, the Bulldogs defeated both Doane (Oct. 11) and Morningside (Oct. 14) by identical 3-0 scores. Those results mean that Concordia remains unbeaten in conference action and at the top of the GPAC standings. Fifth-year head coach Greg Henson’s squad has moved to 10-2-3 overall and to 6-0-1 in the conference. For more information on Bulldog women’s soccer, click HERE.
- Concordia carries a school record active unbeaten streak of 15 versus conference opponents. During that stretch, the Bulldogs have gone 14-0-1 against the GPAC. The run includes last season’s three GPAC tournament wins. Prior to last week, the program record for longest unbeaten string against GPAC opponents occurred in 2014 and spanned into the 2015 campaign. Those squads put together a streak during which they went 10-0-4 versus the conference.
- Concordia has become one of the most difficult teams in the nation to score upon. It has surrendered just a single goal through the first seven GPAC games. Overall this season, the Bulldogs have allowed 12 goals in 15 games for a per-game average of 0.8 that ranks 31st best among all NAIA women’s soccer teams. The numbers look even better if you throw away the 4-1 loss to Bellevue University. It’s the only time this season that Concordia has allowed more than two goals in a game.
- Sophomore Sami Birmingham has ramped up her production in recent action. She earned credit for the game-winning goal in both of last week’s contest. The native of Johnston, Iowa, has tallied four of her eight goals this season over the past four outings. A reliable source of offense ever since stepping on campus, Birmingham has racked up 28 goals over her first 37 career games.
- The program recognized its five seniors prior to the win over Morningside. The senior class is made up of Jeannelle Condame, Abby Goeckeler, Leigha McConnell, Leah Shohat and Esther Soenksen. Both Condame and Soenksen have earned all-conference recognition during their careers. The class has helped Concordia to a combined record of 55-16-9, two GPAC tournament titles and two national tournament appearances. Soenksen has totaled 29 goals and 21 assists while playing all 78 of the team’s games since 2014.
- Henson used three different goalkeepers last week during 180 minutes of shutout action. Jessica Knedler got the start against Doane. She played more than 81 minutes and recorded two saves. Lindsey Carley then got the start versus Morningside and saw 83 minutes of time. In both contests Goeckeler came in to relieve the starter. All three keepers were kept remarkably clean. Doane and Morningside combined for just four shots on goal.
- Birmingham was the lone Bulldog to score more than one goal last week. Four teammates contributed one goal apiece: Victoria Cera, Condame, Lauren Martin and Soenksen. Balanced scoring has been a theme this season. Six different Concordia players have recorded five goals or more on the year. Maria Deeter is the team leader with nine goals. Deeter and Birmingham both rank inside the top five among the GPAC’s leading goal scorers.
- The Bulldogs have now outscored their conference opponents by a combined total of 24-1 this season. Other than a 0-0 draw with Northwestern, Concordia has scored multiple goals. The Bulldogs have a high-powered attack that ranks 27th nationally in goals per game (3.3). They create plenty of chances, ranking ninth in the NAIA in shots on goal per game (13.0).
- This week will tell whether Concordia is a serious contender for the GPAC regular-season title. The three teams remaining on the regular-season slate are a combined 13-2-3 in conference games. Next up is Wednesday’s trip to No. 18 Midland (10-1-2, 4-0-2) for a 5 p.m. CT kickoff. A longer road trip awaits Saturday when the Bulldogs will play at Dordt (9-5, 4-2) at 1 p.m. Concordia has already clinched a spot in the conference tournament that will begin on Nov. 2.
- Concordia has remained in the hunt near the top of the league standings with the help of last week’s pair of GPAC home victories. In recent action, the Bulldogs held off Doane, 2-1, on Oct. 11 before a crisper performance in a 3-0 win over Morningside on Oct. 14. The lone loss all season remains the defeat suffered in double overtime against Northwestern on Oct. 7. Tenth-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad now sits at 12-1-1 overall and at 5-1 in conference play (tied for second place). For more information on Concordia men’s soccer, click HERE.
- The program continues to raise the bar under Weides. Win No. 12 on the year pulled the 2017 team even for a school single-season record first set in 2000 when Weides played for a Bulldog squad that went 12-7 overall (4-4 GPAC). This year’s squad also broke a program record for longest unbeaten streak by going 10-0-1 to begin the season. The standard was also raised by the 2015 squad that made a surprise GPAC tournament championship run as the conference’s No. 6 seed. In addition, Concordia has been remarkably consistent, winning at least 10 games in each of the past seven seasons.
- A group of seven seniors was honored before kickoff of the win over Morningside. The class has been a big part of the aforementioned success. They will leave Concordia as the winningest class in program history. With the help of four-year standouts such as Micah Lehenbauer, the Bulldogs have gone a combined 44-21-10 since the start of the 2014 season. Concordia won 11 games in both 2015 and 2016.
- Four different Bulldogs notched a goal apiece last week. There was also an own goal that went against Doane. Goals were credited to Toby Down, Marcelo Hernandez, Lehenbauer and Garrett Perry. Hernandez also contributed an assist in the victory over Morningside. The race for the team’s top goal scorer has heated up. Lewis Rathbone has 11 to pace Concordia. Lehenabuer (nine) and Hernandez (eight) come in next.
- The 2017 team could threaten the 2011 squad for the highest goal scoring output during the Weides era. The ’11 Bulldogs tallied 45 goals over 19 games during an 11-5-3 season. This year’s side has found the back of the net 39 times. Other Bulldog editions have gotten near 45 goals. The 2015 national tournament qualifying squad put up 44 goals over 21 games. Last year’s team totaled 42 goals over 20 contests. In terms of goal differential, the 2017 team is Weides’ best. Concordia has outscored its opponents by a combined figure of 39-10 so far.
- The current Bulldogs would also like to match the 2011 team with an undefeated home record. Concordia is now 7-0 this season when playing at Bulldog Stadium. It will need to upset No. 8 Hastings on Oct. 25 in order to duplicate the 8-0 home record produced by the 2011 squad. Dating back to last season, the Bulldogs have won nine home contests in a row. That stretch includes last season’s 2-1 win over Northwestern in the GPAC quarterfinals.
- It was another solid week for Jack Bennett and the Concordia back line. Bennett played all 180 minutes, made seven combined saves and picked up his fifth shutout of the year. A three-time GPAC defensive player of the week this season, Bennett ranks 14th nationally in goals against average (0.750). The native of Oxford, England, has started all 14 games.
- Bennett and company rank as the GPAC’s stingiest defensive team, allowing 0.71 goals per game. The Bulldogs also rank highly within the conference in other key categories, appearing third in each of the following: goals per game (2.79), shots per game (17.3) and shots on goal per game (8.8).
- It’s crunch time. Three regular-season games are that remain on the schedule. The next challenge will come Wednesday when Concordia travels to Midland (8-5, 4-1 GPAC) for a 7:30 p.m. CT kickoff in a rematch of a 2016 GPAC semifinal battle won by the Bulldogs. Then on Saturday, the Bulldogs will play at Dordt (7-8, 1-5 GPAC) in a match set for a 3:15 p.m. start. Concordia has already clinched a spot in the conference tournament set to begin on Oct. 31.
- A more challenging week of action than what Concordia had last week is difficult to imagine. In road trips to No. 4 Hastings and No. 3 Northwestern, the Bulldogs dropped a pair of matches in straight sets last week. It means that Concordia remains winless since defeating York College on Sept. 2. Sixth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad has slipped to 5-16 overall and to 0-11 in conference play. For more information on the Bulldog volleyball program, click HERE.
- A clear drop off exists in the GPAC standings following seventh-place Doane. As it relates to Concordia’s postseason chances, there’s good news. The teams directly in front of the Bulldogs, Dakota Wesleyan (1-9), College of Saint Mary (1-9) and Mount Marty (1-10), all have just one GPAC victory apiece. In addition, each of those three teams will be making trips to Walz Arena this week. A good week of play could help Concordia sew up a spot in the eight-team GPAC tournament that is set to begin on Nov. 4.
- This year’s squad has not quite grown to the level it needs to reach in order to pull off a road win over a highly-rated opponent. The Bulldogs pushed Northwestern in the opening set (25-23), but could not overcome the Red Raider firepower. Hastings outhit Concordia, .289 to .028. Three days later, Northwestern outhit the Bulldogs, .363 to -.036. In conference matches only, Concordia has been out-attacked, .256 to .155.
- A late-season run of success could help spring a young team into 2018. The makeup of the roster is decidedly youthful. The team leader in kills is a sophomore in Alex La Plant (190). The team leader in assists is a freshman in Tara Callahan (650). While the digs leader is a senior in Jocelyn Garcia (214), three first- or second-year players have collected more than 100 digs: freshmen Marissa Hoerman (133) and Callahan (125) and sophomore Emma Brand (125).
- Not to be a broken record, but the schedule through 21 matches has been a bear. According to Massey Ratings, the Bulldogs entered this week having played the 10th most difficult schedule among NAIA volleyball programs. Concordia has played 12 times against squads that were either ranked or receiving votes at the time matches were played. It has also gone up against three NCAA Division II opponents, claiming wins in two of those contests.
- Perhaps a break away from playing ranked foes will help the Bulldogs climb up the GPAC leaderboards. Among conference teams, Concordia ranks ninth in hitting percentage (.171), ninth in blocks per set (1.8), 10th in kills per set (11.3) and 11th in digs per set (13.0). The Bulldogs last broke the .300 hitting percentage threshold in their win over York on Sept. 2.
- Five of the final six regular-season matches are slated to be played in Seward. The home cooking will begin Wednesday when College of Saint Mary (8-13, 1-9 GPAC) visits Walz Arena for a 7 p.m. CT first serve. Concordia will also host Dakota Wesleyan (14-14, 1-9 GPAC) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Mount Marty (8-13, 1-10 GPAC) at 3 p.m. on Saturday. A clean sweep would put the Bulldogs in the driver’s seat for the No. 8 seed in the conference tournament.
- Three official meets are in the books for head coach Matt Beisel’s squads, which have clearly established themselves as top half of the GPAC competitors. At the muddy Briar Cliff Invitational (Oct. 7), Concordia placed fifth out of 13 teams on the women’s side and seventh out of 14 squads on the men’s side. The Bulldogs men also finished second at the Dordt College Classic (Sept. 9) and fifth at the Dean White Invite (Sept. 23). Meanwhile, the women placed sixth at the Dordt Classic and third at the Dean White meet. For more information on Concordia cross country, click HERE.
- Ten GPAC female and nine GPAC male institutions sent teams to the Briar Cliff Invite, which was staged at Adams Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, S.D. On the women’s side, the Bulldogs beat out Midland, Doane, College of Saint Mary, Mount Marty and Briar Cliff. On the men’s side, Concordia outran Midland, Hastings, Briar Cliff and Mount Marty. Beisel’s squads finished about where they were expected to, based upon the official GPAC rankings that have the Bulldogs ranked fifth in the conference on both sides.
- Emily Deschaine, a 2016 individual national qualifier, has placed inside the top 15 of each of the first three meets this season. On the course that measured in at approximately 200 meters longer than a 5k at Adams Nature Preserve, Deschaine clocked in at 20:07.83, placing her 14th out of 162 female runners. Her 5k time was measured at 19:24. She also crossed the finish line in sixth place at the Dean White Invite and eighth at the Dordt Classic.
- Next in line behind Deschaine on the women’s side were freshman Alyssa Fye (20:19.05; 21st), sophomore Rebekah Hinrichs (20:34.67; 34th), freshman Everett Elder (21:16.23; 46th) and junior Jacy Johnston (21:19.15; 50th). Eighteen females represented the Bulldogs at the meet. Concordia is still awaiting the return of junior Taylor Grove, a 2017 NAIA outdoor track and field national qualifier in the marathon. Fye and Hinrichs posted 5k times under 20 minutes while sophomore Miranda Rathjen (21:32.79; 55th) continues to make big gains.
- On the heels of 10th-place finishes at the first two meets, junior Thomas Taylor checked in at 19th on Oct. 7. He navigated the 8k distance in a time of 26:55.69 for a season best by roughly 10 seconds. The rest of the team’s top five included senior Kohlton Gabehart (27:21.10; 30th), junior Evan Asche (27:55.93; 48th) and freshmen JP Reynolds (28:00.16; 50th) and Jordan Lorenz (28:11.18; 53rd). The men’s field featured 153 runners.
- According to Beisel, 21 Bulldogs recorded either personal or season bests at the Briar Cliff Invite. Beisel also made special mention of Emily Boyer, a freshman from Mullen, Neb. Boyer did not run cross country during high school and dealt with surgery during her senior year. The Briar Cliff Invite marked her first ever 5k race. She registered a 5k time of 23:01 in North Sioux City.
- Concordia had last week off from competition. One final tune-up remains before the GPAC championships are held on Nov. 4. Next up is the Mount Marty College Invite in Yankton, S.D., on Saturday. The first race is set to get underway at 10 a.m. CT. Both Bulldogs squads are aiming to move up the conference pecking order after sixth-place GPAC finishes in 2016.