Bulldog Athletic Association Athletes of the Week
Female: Murphy Sears, Golf
Sears, a native of Crete, Neb., carded an 85 and tied for fifth place at the Midland Fall Invite on Monday (Sept. 11). That score marked a season low for Sears, who earned all-conference recognition last season as a sophomore. Sears has played in 18 rounds in her collegiate golf career.
Male: Tarence Roby, Football
Roby, who hails from Rockford, Ill., accumulated 222 all-purpose yards (100 interception return, 91 kickoff return, 31 punt return) during last week’s 24-6 win over Ottawa University. Roby equaled a college football record with his interception return for a touchdown. In response, he was named the GPAC defensive player of the week.
Previous athletes of the week
Sept. 5 – Jack Bennett (soccer) / Lindsey Carley (soccer)
News and notes:
Homecoming weekend set for Sept. 22-23: Homecoming on the Concordia University campus is quickly approaching. The festivities get started on Friday, Sept. 22 when the Athletic Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony is held. The next day will feature head coach Patrick Daberkow’s football team against Doane. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. CT. For complete details on homecoming weekend, click HERE.
Baseball program hosts home run derby Friday: Head coach Ryan Dupic’s program will host a home run derby fundraising event on Friday (Sept. 16) at Plum Creek Park. The event will get underway at 5 p.m. The cost is $10 for 10 swings. Participants can sign up upon arrival on Friday or by contacting Dupic at email@example.com.
Concordia’s throwback player: Senior Erik Small is a rarity in this age of college football. He’s a two-way starter who lines up at both fullback and nose guard. The native of Los Alamitos, Calif., was likened to a “lumberjack” by head coach Patrick Daberkow. For more on Concordia’s throwback player, click HERE.
Tennis opens 2017-18 season: The bulk of the Concordia tennis seasons will take place this coming spring, however, both Bulldog squads opened a new year with victories last week at Kansas Wesleyan University. Head coach Joel Reckewey’s women won by a final of 6-3 while the women claimed a 5-4 triumph in Salina, Kan. Senior Annie Horn has now won 14-straight singles matches after continuing her streak last week. Both teams will send individuals to this weekend’s (Sept. 15-16) Doane Invitational in Fremont, Neb.
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.
- Patrick Daberkow is on the board with win No. 1 of his head coaching career. Led by the exploits of senior Tarence Roby and a stifling defense, the Bulldogs toppled Ottawa University, 24-6, in the home opener at Bulldog Stadium on Sept. 9. Roby piled up 222 all-purpose yards while the defense limited the Braves to 299 yards and forced three turnovers. Daberkow’s squad now stands a 1-1 heading into conference play. For more information on Concordia football, click HERE.
- Roby’s performance won’t soon be forgotten. He equaled a GPAC and NAIA record by returning an interception 100 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The play even made its way to ESPN’s SportsCenter on Saturday night. Roby also had a 64 yard kickoff return to open the second half and made three tackles from his cornerback spot. The native of Rockford, Ill., has found the end zone five times during his collegiate career.
- The home winning streak continues for the Bulldogs, who went a perfect 5-0 at home during the 2016 season. Concordia also won its final home contest of 2015, meaning the win streak currently stands at seven. Included in that run are five wins over GPAC opponents and two over squads from the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The 2016 squad was the program’s first to complete an undefeated home season since 2000.
- Sophomore Ryan Durdon’s transition from receiver to running back has been seamless. The native of Decatur, Texas, enters the week ranked seventh nationally in rushing yards per game (151) after coming up just shy of the century mark in last week’s victory. In the season opener, Durdon became just the fourth Bulldog to break 200 yards rushing in a game during the GPAC era (2000-present). Against Ottawa, Durdon carried the ball 27 times for 94 yards and a touchdown.
- Andrew Perea rose to the top of the depth chart at quarterback last week after Riley Wiltfong got the nod at Kansas Wesleyan University. Perea went 13-for-21 for 123 yards and a touchdown pass that set up Kiyoshi Brey for a score. Wiltfong is still likely to get looks in certain packages. He ran twice for 19 yards last week. Concordia is still looking to spice up a passing game that has totaled 287 yards through two games. A key ingredient has been missing with star receiver Jared Garcia being sidelined by injury.
- In Garcia’s place, freshman Lane Castaneda emerged as the No. 1 target in week one when he caught eight balls for 89 yards and a touchdown. In week two, Brey was the main man, going for five receptions and 80 yards. On the offense’s third quarter scoring drive, Brey caught three passes. Last season as a junior, Brey hauled in 13 tosses for 143 yards and a pair of scores.
- Concordia’s three turnovers were each caused by different players. The first came on an interception by sophomore safety Nate Gilmore. The second was delivered by senior defensive lineman Kerry Grigsby, who impressively ripped the football right out of the hands of the Ottawa running back. The final turnover was the most memorable. It put the game away as Roby raced 100 yards to the end zone. Concordia also turned a blocked punt by Sebastian Garces into a field goal by Brendan Cremin.
- One area Daberkow wants his team to shore up is in the penalty department. The Bulldogs rank ninth nationally for most penalty yards per game (101.5). After being flagged 12 times for 118 yards in week one, Concordia was penalized 10 times for 85 yards last week at home.
- The final eight games on the schedule will all be played against GPAC foes. The Bulldogs will make the journey to Orange City, Iowa, on Saturday to take on Northwestern (2-0), a squad off to a hot start. The Red Raiders have rolled up wins by scores of 41-16 over Ottawa and 37-3 over No. 15 Dickinson State University. Northwestern is led by second-year head coach Matt McCarty. Last year’s meeting was a defensive battle that resulted in a 9-7 Concordia win.
- The season got started for real last week with the Dordt Classic (Sept. 9) in Sioux Center, Iowa. Excluding the Dordt alumni teams, the Concordia men placed second out of seven teams while the women finished fifth out of the six squads that were scored. Both Emily Deschaine and Thomas Taylor placed inside the top 10 amongst current collegiate competitors at the race. Second-year head coach Matt Beisel believes his teams can improve upon their sixth-place GPAC finishes in 2016. For more information on Bulldog cross country, click HERE.
- Deschaine is the most accomplished runner in the program based upon past accolades. She’s a two-time all-conference performer in cross country and was a 2016 national qualifier thanks to her ninth-place individual finish at the 2016 GPAC championships. Formerly known as Emily Sievert, the native of Frankenmuth, Mich., clocked in at 18:20.96 at last year’s conference meet. In this season’s first race, she ran a solid 19:33.12. That time will likely be cut down as the season goes on.
- Among Bulldogs, Deschaine was followed by sophomore Rebekah Hinrichs (20:25; 27th), freshmen Alyssa Fye (20:29; 29th) and Everett Elder (20:40, 32nd) and sophomore Miranda Rathjen (20:52; 34th) to round out the top five. Concordia was without junior Taylor Grove, a 2017 outdoor track and field national qualifier in the marathon. Grove finished 31st at last year’s GPAC championships, good for third best on the team.
- On the men’s side, five Bulldogs placed between 11th and 21st (based upon official results that included the Dordt alumni team). Leading the way were juniors Thomas Taylor (27:05) and Evan Asche (27:08), placing 11th and 12th, respectively. Next came freshman Jordan Lorenz (27:23; 16th) and seniors Pat Wortmann (27:44, 18th) and Kohlton Gabehart (27:47; 21st). The team’s four best performers following Gabehart were all freshmen: JP Reynolds, Christian Van Cleave, Cody Williams and Patrick Schneeberger.
- At the Dordt Classic, the men beat out the likes of conference schools in Morningside, Dordt, Hastings, Dakota Wesleyan and Mount Marty. The encouraging results appear to be proof that the Bulldogs are ready for a move up the conference. In the official GPAC preseason rating, Concordia was ranked fourth behind Northwestern, Morningside and Midland. On the women’s side, the Bulldogs checked in at No. 6 in the preseason ranking.
- Beisel aspires to bring the program back to the competitive levels that it reached in past years during previous head coach Kregg Einspahr’s tenure. Einspahr oversaw nine combined cross country conference titles (five men, four women) and 32 top 25 national finishes. His teams placed as the national runner up a total of five times. Einspahr also coached 16 individual GPAC champions with Sarah Kortze (2012) and Colin Morrissey (2012) being the most recent Bulldogs to take first at the conference meet.
- This weekend offers a bye in the schedule. Concordia will return to action on Sept. 23 for the Dean White Invite hosted by Doane. The meet is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. CT in Crete. The Bulldogs will run in three more meets prior to the conference championships in Sioux Center on Nov. 4.
- An unbeaten ride continues into this week for the Bulldogs, who played just one time last week. The result was a 2-1 road win over Graceland University, a member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference, on Sept. 9. The victory avenged a 1-0 home defeat to the Yellowjackets in 2016. Tenth-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad now stands at 4-0-1 overall. For more information on Concordia men’s soccer, click HERE.
- The Bulldogs and Morningside (3-0-3) are the lone teams in the GPAC that have yet to suffer a loss. No. 4 Hastings went the entire 2016 season without a loss during a national championship run. However, the Broncos (4-2) have fallen twice this fall to highly-ranked opponents. Concordia is unbeaten after five games for the first time during Weides’ tenure and for the first time in the GPAC era. The Bulldogs are a perfect 4-0 when scoring two goals or more.
- Concordia is off to a successful start despite not having a single player with more than three goals. Marcelo Hernandez took over the team lead with that department when he drilled a game-winning penalty kick at Graceland. Hernandez has now tallied three goals on the year. Toby Down and Lewis Rathbone have notched two goals apiece and three other players have exactly one goal. As a team, the Bulldogs have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 10-4 in 2017.
- Concordia’s 12 shots at Graceland were a season low for a team that has been adept at creating chances. The Bulldogs rank 19th among all NAIA men’s soccer programs in shots per game (20.4). They also rank 32nd nationally in shots on goal per game (9.2). The team’s most active player has been Rathbone, who has been credited with 17 shots. He’s one of four Bulldogs to have taken 10 or more shots this season.
- Weides has used only one goalkeeper, Jack Bennett, for the first 450 minutes of action this season. Bennett has responded well. He has made a total of 19 saves and owns a goals against average of 0.800, which ranks 38th nationally. A native of Oxford, England, Bennett was named the GPAC defensive player of the week on Sept. 5.
- Joao Pedro Verissimo made his collegiate debut last week. He came off the bench at Graceland and fired two shots, including one on goal. A total of 23 players have seen action so far this season. Nine of the 23 have played in all five games. Only six Bulldogs have started each of the five contests.
- Concordia’s string of success looks even more impressive when factoring in the final three games of the 2016 season. That stretch included GPAC postseason victories over Northwestern and No. 14 Midland. The lone defeat was a 3-1 loss at Hastings in the GPAC championship game. In sum, the last eight games for the program have yielded a 6-1-1 record with a victory over a nationally-ranked foe.
- This week the schedule gets back to a more routine Wednesday-Saturday alignment. The Bulldogs will travel to Forest City, Iowa, for a 3:30 p.m. CT kickoff at Waldorf University (4-3) on Wednesday. They will return home on Saturday to host Kansas Wesleyan University (1-3) for another 3:30 p.m. start time. Those two games will lead into the opening of conference play on Sept. 23.
- The Bulldogs had the weekend off following a straight sets loss (25-14, 25-22, 25-17) at No. 9 Midland in the GPAC opener on Sept. 6. Concordia hit .387 during the second set while up against a powerful Warriors squad that is coming off a national semifinal appearance in 2016. Sixth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad now sports records of 5-6 overall and 0-1 in conference play. For more information on the Bulldog volleyball program, click HERE.
- Concordia tested itself over the first few weeks of the season by playing 20th-ranked Bellevue University, two squads that received votes in the NAIA national poll and a trio of NCAA Division II opponents (resulted in wins over Chadron State College and Missouri Southern State University). The Bulldogs are hopeful that the nonconference slate has prepared them for an exceedingly difficult run to begin the GPAC season. Mattera’s team will play each of the GPAC’s six nationally-ranked teams in a row to open up the conference. The challenging run will include a visit from top-ranked Hastings on Sept. 20.
- Senior Jocelyn Garcia added 18 digs in last week’s outing, moving her within striking distance of a career milestone. The native of Brighton, Colo., needs 17 more digs to reach 1,500 in her collegiate career. This season, Garcia is averaging 4.25 digs per set and 3.34 service receptions per set. She has also compiled 935 receptions during her time as a Bulldog. She totaled more than 550 digs as both a sophomore and junior.
- In terms of hitting percentage, junior Kelsey Baarck enjoyed her finest match as a Bulldog last week at Midland. She floored nine kills on 13 swings and made just one error. The outside hitter from Frankenmuth, Mich., is in her first season of action at Concordia. She arrived last fall but redshirted after transferring from Mott Community College. Baarck (98 kills) ranks second behind Alex La Plant for most kills on the team.
- The Bulldogs have been without sophomore middle Emmie Noyd for each of the past four matches. Noyd had gotten off to a great start before being sidelined by injury. She owns a team best .381 hitting percentage (52 kills, 12 errors, 105 attacks) and has totaled 21 blocks. In place of Noyd, freshman Anna Lund has received a heavy dose of playing time. She has posted 45 kills on 113 swings. Also in the middle, senior Annie Friesen is working towards rounding into the all-conference form she showed as a sophomore, prior to the ACL tear last season. She needs four more kills for 500 in her career.
- Mattera is creeping up on 100 career wins as head coach of the Bulldogs. With seven more victories, Mattera will join the likes of past head coaches Vicki Boye (167) and Rachel Miller (107) to reach the century mark. Mattera’s career record now stands at 93-81. In 2015 he became the first head coach to lead the program to the national tournament. That same season, Concordia advanced to the GPAC tournament championship match. The program had endured five straight losing seasons before Mattera guided the 2013 squad to a 17-14 mark.
- The schedule does not relent this week. The Bulldogs will be at No. 16 Doane (8-4, 0-1 GPAC) at 7:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday before hosting No. 14 Northwestern (13-1, 0-0 GPAC) at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday. Concordia is still looking for its first win over a ranked opponent after letting an opportunity slip away against Bellevue on Aug. 30. Northwestern’s lone loss came in five sets against No. 9 Corban University. Meanwhile, Doane has dropped matches exclusively to top 10 ranked squads.
- The level of difficulty ramped up last week when Concordia faced off with Bellevue University (Sept. 6) and Graceland University (Sept. 9). The Bruins knocked in the final four goals of the game while handing the Bulldogs a 4-1 home defeat. Three days later, Concordia dropped a 2-1 overtime decision at Graceland despite owning a significant shots advantage in the second half. Back-to-back losses have slumped fifth-year head coach Greg Henson’s squad to 3-2-1 overall. For more information on Bulldog women’s soccer, click HERE.
- Home losses have been rare during Henson’s tenure. Concordia entered last week with a home mark of 28-5-1 since the start of the 2014 season. During that stretch, Benedictine College and Bellevue are the only nonconference opponents to claim wins inside Bulldog Stadium. Henson’s program is coming off a 2016 season that saw it go 10-2 at home. Bulldog Stadium served as the site of last year’s GPAC tournament championship game.
- The goal scoring well has run dry over the past three games (0-2-1). After piling up 14 goals as part of a 3-0 start, Concordia has put just two goals on the board over its last 270-plus minutes of soccer. Last week’s goals were scored by Lauren Martin versus Bellevue and Jeannelle Condame at Graceland.
- Henson has rotated goalkeepers every other game between Lindsey Carley and Jessica Knedler. Both keepers have made exactly three starts. The duo has combined for 28 saves, a .778 save percentage and a goals against average of 1.33. Until last week, Concordia had not allowed more than one goal in any game. The Bulldogs are adjusting to life without record breaking goalkeeper Chrissy Lind, a four-year starter.
- Eleven Bulldogs have seen action in each of the first six games. Seven of those 11 have started each contest. In the loss at Graceland, three freshmen started: Chelsea Bright, Victoria Cera and Michaela Twito. Junior Taylor Roby has seen her role increase significantly this season. The Omaha native has played in every game while making five starts.
- Even during the program’s most successful stretch (2014-present), the Bulldogs have endured midseason hiccups. The 2014 GPAC tournament championship squad had an unusual four-game run in October when it settled for three draws. The 2015 team that reached the GPAC title match suffered a three-game losing streak in October. Lastly, the 2016 edition that won yet another conference tournament started out 0-2 in conference play.
- The nonconference portion of the schedule will wrap up this week with a road trip to Waldorf University (1-6) in Forest City, Iowa, on Wednesday and then a home tussle with Kansas Wesleyan University (0-3) on Saturday. Both games are scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. CT. The conference season will open up on Sept. 23 at Dakota Wesleyan.
- Both squads have competed at one tournament since last week’s report. The Concordia men are off to a solid start and are fresh off a third-place finish at the Siouxland Invite (Sept. 7-8). The women returned to action on Monday (Sept. 11) and placed in a tie for fourth out of six teams in a small scale event at the Midland Invitational. Both of seventh-year head coach Brett Muller’s squads have competed at two meets this fall. For more information on Bulldog golf: MEN | WOMEN.
- Led by junior Nolan Zikas (73.75 average), the Concordia men own a stellar team 18-hole average of 301.5 through the first four rounds of the season. The Bulldogs have shot 300 or better in three rounds. Each of the five Bulldogs in the lineup on day two of the Siouxland Invite shot 75 or lower. Both sophomore Tylar Samek and freshman Kort Steele carded team low 72s. Both Zikas (71-74–145; 8th) and Samek (74-72–146; 10th) placed inside the top 10 out of a field of 73 players.
- In his second career tournament, Steele (78-72–150) finished 22nd. Rounding out the lineup were seniors Tyler Ehresman (76-75–151; T-23rd) and Russell Otten (79-75–154; T-29th). Another three Bulldogs competed as individuals: junior Grant Suchanek (84-91–175) and freshmen Harrison Helmer (89-83–172) and Jayden Neal (93-92–185). The same eight players have attended both the Midland Fall Invite (Sept. 1-2) and the Siouxland Invite for Concordia.
- In Monday’s action in Fremont, Neb., sophomore Murphy Sears turned in a season low 12-over-par 85. That was an improvement upon the 92-91–183 she carded at the Mount Marty Fall Invite that opened up the 2017-18 campaign. As a freshman last season, Sears earned all-conference honors and had a season average of 86.93 while competing in 15 rounds. She placed 11th in the GPAC. Sears has assumed the No. 1 spot in the lineup after the graduation of GPAC champion Amy Ahlers.
- Sears was followed in the lineup by a pair of freshmen: Rebecca Day (97; T-22nd) and Haley Nolde (99; T-26th). Next in line were sophomore Payton DeMers-Sahling (108; T-39th) and freshman Gabrielle Coviello (119; 44th). Two other Bulldogs competed individually: junior Madison Pitsch (107; 38th) and sophomore Paighton Barbre (108; T-39th). Nolde owns the second best season average (98.33) of any Bulldog.
- The women have another event looming this weekend (Friday and Saturday) when they will be at the Lila Frommelt Invite hosted by Briar Cliff. The two-day meet will be held exclusively at Two Rivers Golf Club in Dakota Dunes, S.D. Meanwhile, the men are idle until next week’s Blue River Classic (Sept. 19-20). Concordia will host the event along with Doane. Action on the first day will take place at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club in Lincoln before shifting to the home of the Bulldogs, Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln, on day two of the classic.