Bulldog Weekly Report (Dec. 23)

Bulldog Weekly Report

NOTE: Bulldog Booster Club Athletes of the Week will return on Jan. 7. The booster club will not meet this week or next due to the holiday break.

*The next Bulldog Weekly Report will also be released on Jan. 7.

News and Notes:

Darnell Woods tears up D2 vs. NAIA Challenge: Concordia senior safety Darnell Woods has a big day at the D2 vs. NAIA Challenge all-star football game held in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Dec. 21. The native of Phoenix, Ariz., blocked a kick and intercepted two passes to lead the NAIA to a 26-20 victory. The game is designed to showcase some of the best players nationally at the NAIA and NCAA Division II levels. All participants were seniors who used up their collegiate eligibility. For more information on the game, click HERE.

Seven football players named scholar-athletes: Concordia football placed seven student-athletes on the 2013 list of Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes. Repeat selections include seniors Mitchell Cherney, Dylan Heithoff and Spencer Zysset. For the complete list, click HERE.

2014-15 softball recruiting class takes shape: First-year Concordia head softball coach Todd LaVelle has secured a class of 13 recruits for the 2014-15 school year. Eleven of those 13 hail from the state of Nebraska. For more details on the class, click HERE.

Spring golf schedule available: The 2014 spring golf schedule is now available online HERE. Head coach Brett Muller’s Bulldog men return to action on March 29-30 for the Bethel Invite in Kansas.

Chrissy Lind perseveres through tragic circumstances: Freshman goalkeeper experienced tragedy prior to her arrival at Concordia for women’s soccer preseason. Lind survived a violent car crash and eventually became the team’s starting goalkeeper upon her return to the field. Read more about her story HERE.

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.

Wrestling

  • The Bulldogs traveled west for the 2013 Desert Duals in Las Vegas, Nev., on Saturday. As part of an event held in the ballroom of the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, Concordia went 2-2 in its four duals, including three against teams rated in the NAIA’s top 25. The Bulldogs notched wins over No. 23 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Ariz.) and over NCAA Division III member Pacific University (Ore.). The losses came to highly ranked foes in No. 5 University of Great Falls (Mont.) and No. 14 Menlo College (Calif.). Concordia is 3-3 overall.
  • Milford High School product Ken Burkhardt Jr. enjoyed his best day as a collegiate wrestler, falling just short of a perfect day in Vegas. The 197-pounder won his first three matches of the day, including a dominant 18-7 major decision over 14th-ranked Ian Mac Ineirghe of Menlo. Burkhardt Jr. also majored Embry-Riddle’s Troy Kilgore by a 14-5 count. Burkhardt Jr.’s 3-1 day improved his overall mark to 8-8 and his dual record to 4-2.
  • Bulldog heavyweight Ceron Francisco may have pulled off the biggest surprise of the Desert Duals when he wiped out fourth-ranked David Lopez of Great Falls via fall in 1:53. Reminiscent of Francisco’s move earlier this season when he was penalized, the native of Fayetteville, N.C., caught Lopez and took him down hard to the mat just before getting the pin. Francisco went 3-1 in Vegas (two wins by forfeit) to bump his season mark to 9-8.
  • Concordia’s third individual victory over a ranked foe came at 149 where No. 9 Enrique Barajas held off Embry-Riddle’s 14th-ranked Colin Merkely, 3-1, in a sudden victory. It was the highlight of the day for Barajas who would go on to drop his next three matches, all by decision, in Vegas.
  • All 15 Concordia wrestlers who made the trip had the opportunity to compete in at least one match. Those 15 combined for a record of 16-24 with three pins. Eleven of the 15 came away with at least one win, including three apiece by Burkhardt Jr. and Francisco and two by Tommy Bailey (157).
  • While freshman Austin Fehlhafer went 1-3 in Vegas, his one win came by way of a pin and extended his team-leading fall count to 12. In his fourth fastest pin of the season, the Seward native finished off Pacific’s Jacob Richards in 1:34. Fehlhafer remains the team’s wins leader with a record of 16-7.
  • The Bulldogs arrived in Vegas early in the afternoon on Dec. 19 and spent the large majority of its weekend focused on wrestling as part of a trip that Vote called “strictly business.” The Bulldogs stayed at the Flamingo Hotel, the same place in which they wrestled. Some members of the team did have the opportunity to visit the Hoover Dam.
  • Vote came away from the Desert Duals believing that his team is beginning to close the gap between itself and the top NAIA squads. “It was good for us. We got to see nationally-ranked guys from other parts of the country,” Vote said. “We got an idea of where we’re at. We saw some good things and we also had some disappointments. The biggest thing we learned is that we are not far away.”
  • Thus far, four Bulldogs have reached double figures in wins: Fehlhafer (16-7), Emilio Rivera (13-6), Foster Bunce (11-7) and Austin Mogg (10-5). Meanwhile, Kodie Cole (9-7), Francisco (9-8), Barajas (8-8), Burkhardt Jr. (8-8) and Alex Stepanek (8-7) are closing in on double digit wins.
  • The conclusion of the Desert Duals began a stretch of 17-straight days without a competition. The Bulldogs will enjoy Christmas break before focusing their attention on a dual at Briar Cliff (1-2) on Wednesday, Jan. 8. The Bulldogs will dual seven GPAC opponents after the holidays. The remaining slate also includes two open tournaments and a rematch with rival York (Jan. 23) at the Freeman Center.

Women’s Basketball

  • The seventh-ranked Bulldogs continued their winning streak by dismantling Dakota Wesleyan, 85-66, on Dec. 20 in last week’s only game. Concordia has won six games in a row and is 6-0 in the month of December. It has won those six games by an average margin of 23.5 points. Nearing the halfway point of the GPAC schedule, the Bulldogs are 12-2 overall and 7-1 in conference play (second place – one-half game behind second-ranked Northwestern).
  • Junior guard Bailey Morris became the 22nd player in program history to reach 1,000 career points during Friday’s victory. Morris equaled that number with a pair of free throws midway through the second half. She led all scorers with 17 points and is now averaging 16.3 per game on the season and nearly 20 per contest over the past four games. The Roseland, Neb., native figures to soon climb into the top 20 of the school’s scoring chart as assistant coach Amy Harms (21st – 1,013 points) and Tammy Blome (20th – 1,032 points) are in her sights.
  • Backcourt mate Kristen Conahan continues to creep up on the school’s all-time scoring record of 1,800 points by Sarah Harrison (2001-05). With 16 more points last week, the Omaha native edged above 1,600 to 1,602 (one of seven players in school history with 1,600 or more points). At her current rate of 17.5 points per game, Conahan is well on her way to rewriting the record book. The Bulldogs have 15 regular-season games remaining, plus the GPAC Tournament and an expected trip to the national tournament.
  • Eighth-year head coach Drew Olson lauded his team’s defensive prowess in the halfcourt against Dakota Wesleyan. The Bulldogs set a new season low for field goal percentage defense by holding the Tigers to a 30.6 percent clip from the field. Concordia has held its opponents below 40 percent shooting on five occasions and has won all five contests.
  • Led by Conahan and Morris, Concordia’s high-powered offensive attack continues to overwhelm its opponents. The Bulldogs have scored at least 80 points in 10-straight games and in 12 of 14 games overall this season. Concordia is 11-1 when scoring 80 or more points and ranks sixth among all NAIA Division II teams with an average of 87.8 points.
  • The offensive output has been spurred by efficient shooting from 3-point range of late. Concordia made 12 of 27 (.444) attempts from long range versus Dakota Wesleyan and is shooting 38.5 percent (44-for-114) from beyond the arc over the last four games. The Bulldogs have not lost a game in which they have made at least five 3-point field goals.
  • Concordia’s pressure defense has resulted in an incredible streak of 23-straight games with 10 or more steals. The Bulldogs failed to record double figures in steals only once last season. Prior to their eight thefts in a loss to Concordia-Ann Arbor last season, Olson’s squad had put together 25-consecutive games with 10-plus steals. Concordia ranks fourth nationally with 14.1 steals per game.
  • On an individual level, the Bulldogs’ terrific trio of Conahan, Morris and junior Tracy Peitz rates as one of the best in the nation. Conahan ranks highly on the national leaderboard in several categories, including first in free throw percentage (.950), 10th in 3-point field goals per game (3.23), 12th in total 3-point field goals (42), 24th in 3-point percentage (.442) and 37th in points per game (17.5). Peitz ranks third in total steals (48) and eighth in steals per game (3.43). Meanwhile, Morris is 18th in total assists (63), 27th in assists per game (4.5) and 28th in total steals (33).
  • Concordia steps out of conference play to take on a pair of NAIA Division I opponents at the Our Lady of the Lake Halo Classic in San Antonio, Texas, on Dec. 30-31. First up is 10th-ranked Bethel University (Tenn.), a member of the Southern States Athletic Conference, who sports an overall record of 8-4. The Bulldogs will finish up play in from The Lone Star State with Evangel University (Mo.) on New Year’s Eve. The Crusaders are 4-6 overall and reside in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. Live webcasts of all games will be available via the Our Lady of the Lake athletics website.

Men’s Basketball

  • After enjoying nearly a week off, first-year head coach Ben Limback’s group returned to action on Dec. 20 and struggled in an 88-56 home loss to Dakota Wesleyan. Not much went right for the Bulldogs who shot only 35.3 percent from the field and were outrebounded 49-25. The defeat puts Concordia at 4-9 overall and 2-6 in GPAC play (tied for ninth in the league standings).
  • Foul trouble limited star senior guard Adam Vogt to six points in only 17 minutes of play. That snapped a streak of nine-straight games with 10 or more points for Concordia’s most consistent offensive threat. Vogt had entered play averaging 16.2 points per game. The native of Syracuse, Neb., currently ranks 13th in the GPAC with an average of 15.5 points.
  • For Concordia to finish in the top eight of the league standings, as required to make the GPAC tournament, it will have to reverse early-season trends in regards to rebounding and defensive issues. The Bulldogs own a rebounding margin of minus-6.54 while allowing an average of 85.2 points per game. Five of their first eight GPAC opponents have shot better than 45.0 percent and only one has been outrebounded by Concordia.
  • Justin Damme, a 6-foot-10 freshman from Cook, Neb., put up solid numbers off the bench in last week’s defeat. In 12 minutes of action, Damme posted nine points, three rebounds and a blocked shot. The Johnson County Central product is averaging 6.4 points and 2.9 rebounds on the season.
  • Concordia has time to regroup before taking on NAIA Division I No. 19-ranked St. Gregory’s University (Okla.) in Shawnee, Okla., at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The game will mark the seventh time this season that the Bulldogs will have gone up against a top 25 foe. The Cavaliers, who went 7-21 last season, have turned things around and are off to a 9-1 start behind dynamic point guard Marty Wilkerson, who ranks second in NAIA Division II with 24.6 points per contest. Fans can follow live stats HERE. (Live video will not be provided).
  • The pre-New Year’s road trip continues with a date with Kansas Wesleyan University at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 30. The Coyotes (2-9) are a member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. Kansas Wesleyan is a familiar foe as Concordia defeated the Coyotes 84-56 last season at the Cattle Classic. Live video will be available HERE.
  • Limback’s squad will get used to going on the road over the next couple months with only four of the remaining 16 regular-season games set to take place inside Walz Arena. The Bulldogs will not return home until Saturday, Jan. 18 when Briar Cliff visits Seward. Concordia is 3-6 at home, 1-2 in true road games and 0-1 in neutral contests.

23 December 2013

Junior Kelsey Hizer

Senior Darnell Woods (middle) at the D2 vs. NAIA Challenge in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Dec. 21, 2013.