Bulldog Weekly Report (Nov. 19)

Bulldog Weekly Report

Bulldog Booster Club Athletes of the Week

Male: Von Thomas, Football

Thomas, a junior from Miami, Fla., broke several Concordia single-season records on Saturday in leading the Bulldogs to a dominant 45-7 win over Briar Cliff. Thomas threw for 194 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another 75 yards and a touchdown.

Female: Kristen Conahan, Basketball

Conahan, a senior from Omaha, Neb., put the fifth-ranked Bulldogs on her back down the stretch in leading a 90-82 overtime win over No. 3 Morningside on Saturday. Conahan made 8 of 14 shots from 3-point range on the way to a game high 28 points.

News and Notes

Soccer all-conference teams announced: Both men’s and women’s all-conference teams were announced by the GPAC on Monday. Concordia’s honorees are listed below.

  • Concordia men’s all-conference honorees:
    • First team: Nathan Douglas
    • Second team: Chris DeFeyter, Sean Doran
    • Honorable mention: Mark Campbell, Gideon Soenksen
  • Concordia women’s all-conference honorees:
    • First team: Jordan Donohoue
    • Second team: Ashlie Sklenicka
    • Honorable mention: Emily Fleming, Rachel Mussell, Melissa Stine

Volleyball all-conference to be announced Wednesday: GPAC all-conference selections for volleyball will be announced Wednesday. Last season Amanda Kisker garnered first team honors and Carli Smith was placed on the second team.

Thomas breaks school records: Junior quarterback Von Thomas set Concordia single-season records for total offense (2,508 yards), pass completions (197), pass attempts (334) and completion percentage (59.0) in 2013. For further details on the accomplishments of the Miami, Fla., native, click 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.


  • Concordia football sent out its 24 seniors on a high note by shaking off a four-game skid for a 45-7 domination of Briar Cliff (4-7, 3-6 GPAC) on Saturday. The Bulldogs, who completed the season at 7-4 overall and 5-4 in GPAC action, outgained the Chargers 494-201 in one of their most complete efforts of the season. The win placed head coach Vance Winter’s in a tie for fifth in the final GPAC standings.
  • Junior quarterback Von Thomas broke a 25-year-old school record in the victory. He used his arm and legs to amass 269 total yards (194 passing, 75 rushing) to push his season total to 2,508. The Miami, Fla., native entered Saturday’s game needing 205 total yards to break the former season record of 2,443 from quarterback Phil Seevers, who held the mark since 1988. Thomas also set new school season standards for pass completions (197), pass attempts (334) and completion percentage (59.0). Thomas already held records for pass completions and attempts after the 2012 season.
  • Saturday’s victory gave the program its seventh of the season, marking the 17th time in school history that Concordia football has won seven or more games in a single campaign. The Bulldogs have won exactly seven games 12 times. They’ve won eight games three times and have one nine- and 10-win season apiece. The 2001 team holds the school record with 10 victories in a co-GPAC championship season. The 2001 season was preceded by a seven-win campaign in 2000.
    • 7-win seasons: 1931, 1949, 1953, 1954, 1960, 1962, 1972, 1979, 1982, 1983, 2000, 2013
    • 8-win seasons: 1944, 1951, 1970,
    • 9-win seasons: 1981
    • 10-win seasons: 2001
  • Senior Derek Blessing piled up 105 return yards in his final game in the Bulldog uniform. The electrifying return man from Ogallala, Neb., consistently gave Concordia good field position as he returned four punts for 77 yards. In his career, Blessing racked up 2,232 all-purpose yards with 484 rushing, 122 receiving, 664 on punt returns, 910 on kickoff returns and 52 on interception returns. He holds school season records for punt return yards (388 – 2012) and punt return touchdowns (3 – 2012) and owns the GPAC record for the longest rush with his 97-yard touchdown run against Dordt in 2011.
  • Coordinator Patrick Daberkow’s defense closed the season with an appropriately dominant performance. The Bulldog defense ended the 2013 campaign ranked among the top units in the NAIA (see rankings below). Concordia held nine of its 11 opponents to 300 total yards or less and did not give up a rushing touchdown until the seventh game of the season.
    • No. 1 in pass defense (134.7)
    • No. 5 in total defense (285.5)
    • No. 5 in scoring defense (17.0)
    • No. 6 in pass efficiency defense (94.7)
    • No. 16 in lowest opponents’ third down conversion rate (32.4%)
  • Senior running back Mitch Reed’s 101 yards rushing and a touchdown led the way for a ground attack that piled up a season high 300 yards against an overmatched Briar Cliff defense. The 100-yard performance was the second career for Reed, who went for 125 in last season’s blowout victory at Briar Cliff. The Genoa, Neb., native had been limited to 12 carries for 64 yards prior to Saturday’s game, as he has battled injury.
  • Senior linebacker Langston Jones surpassed a career milestone in the process of leading the Bulldogs with 12 tackles on Saturday. That number pushed the native of Loveland, Colo., over 200 career tackles, giving him 209 in his four seasons. He also topped his single-season career high as he finishes the season with 80 stops. His previous best was 73 tackles in 2012.
  • For the fifth-consecutive game, freshman receiver Chevarius Curry-Felix caught a touchdown pass. Curry-Felix, who hails from Columbia, S.C., led the team in receptions (36), receiving yards (392) and receiving touchdowns (5). He did most of his damage over the final five games, catching 24 passes for 259 yards and five scores during that stretch.
  • Of the 24 starters (including kicker and punter) listed on last week’s two deep, eight are seniors. The biggest losses will be felt on defense where the Bulldogs will have to replace Blessing, Dylan Heithoff, Jones and Darnell Woods among others. Offensively, the only starters who depart are receiver Derek Klaus and center Dylan Klassen. Winter’s squad will be significantly more experienced at the skill positions with Thomas (23 career starts) and freshman running backs Trey Barnes and Bryce Collins returning.
  • “We have a great group coming back,” Winter said. “Offensively we return a lot of guys who played a lot of football for us this season. Defensively we have to fill some major holes with some guys, but we’ve got a talented group. They’ve got to buy into the work ethic these seniors have set forth in their four years.”


  • Only three Concordia grapplers competed last week as they took part in the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open on Nov. 16. The rest of the team has been off from competition since the season-opening Bethany College Swede Open on Nov. 9. Junior Enrique Barajas led the Bulldogs with four wins on the day. Collectively, Barajas, freshman Foster Bunce and junior Emilio Rivera went 7-6 against top-notch competition in Ames, Iowa.
  • Barajas (149) ran his season record to 6-2 by winning four his six bouts at the Cyclone Open. The native of Heyward, Calif., defeated former high school state champions from Alaska, Hawaii and Kansas – all by decision – as part of his solid day. It began with a pin of Iowa Central Community College’s Luis Sifuentes in 0:40 and then a narrow 4-3 loss to University of Minnesota’s Jake Short. That’s when Barajas won three in a row in making his way through the consolation bracket.
  • Bunce (141), who did not participate in the Swede Open, got his first taste of collegiate wrestling at the Cyclone Open. The former Dansville High School (Michigan) star (went 210-27 in his high school career) ended up with a 3-2 record on Saturday. He pinned Ellsworth Community College’s Puthasorn Phanrana in 2:31, picked up a win by medical default and then got another pin by nailing down University of Nebraska-Kearney’s Andrew Riedy in 0:32. Bunce’s run in the consolation bracket ended with a 10-8 defeat at the hands of Mike Stewart of Ellsworth.
  • At 133, Rivera’s day ended quickly as he faced a particularly difficult draw, going up against University of Maryland’s Geoffrey Alexander (two-time NCAA Division I national qualifier) and Lindenwood University’s Matthew Katusin (former All-American at Midland). Rivera (7-3) got pinned in 1:39 by both opponents, however, he still leads Concordia with seven wins on the season.
  • Twenty wrestlers have combined for a record of 40-37 with 15 pins on the season. Eleven of the 20 have records of .500 or better. Freshman Austin Fehlhafer (174), a Seward native, leads the team with three pins. Bunce, Austin Mogg (125), Rivera and Austin Starkey (157) own two pins apiece.
  • The new-look Bulldogs will get a chance to grapple in front of the home crowd for the first time this season as they host Vote’s alma mater, Buena Vista University, for a dual set to begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday inside Walz Arena. The Beavers have competed once this season, placing four wrestlers on the medal stand at the Knox College Invite on Nov. 9. Junior Seth Shatto (5-2) leads Buena Vista in wins.
  • Probable lineups for Wednesday’s dual (Concordia on the left, Buena Vista on right):
    • 125 – Austin Mogg (4-1) vs. Slade Stiles (4-1)
    • 133 – Emilio Rivera (7-3) vs. Carlos Berreda (0-2)
    • 141 – Foster Bunce (3-2) vs. Taylor Stevicks (0-2)
    • 149 – Enrique Barajas (6-2) vs. Darrian Irlbeck (1-2)
    • 157 – Tommy Bailey (1-2) vs. Drake Swedlund (3-2)
    • 165 – Billy Behle (1-2) vs. Seth Shatto (5-2)
    • 174 – Austin Fehlhafer (3-2) vs. Tyler Puls (2-2)
    • 184 – Noel Richardson (0-2) vs. Jared Bronaugh (2-2)
    • 197 – Ken Burkhardt Jr. (2-2) vs. Demetrius Heard (0-0)
    • 285 – Ceron Francisco (2-1) vs. Gable Bonner (3-2)
  • Following Wednesday’s dual, the Bulldogs will shift focus to the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open on Saturday. The open will get started at 9 a.m. from Kearney, Neb.

Women’s Basketball

  • Concordia picked up its third win already this season against a ranked opponent in its only contest last week. The fifth-ranked Bulldogs clipped No. 3 Morningside, 90-82, in a thrilling overtime victory, extending their winning streak over the Mustangs to five. Head coach Drew Olson’s squad improved its marks to 5-1 overall and 1-0 to begin conference play.
  • Morningside rallied all the way back from a double-digit second-half deficit to briefly take the lead towards the end of regulation, however, senior All-American guard Kristen Conahan simply would not allow her squad to lose on this particular evening. The Omaha native went nuts from beyond the arc, making 8 of 14 attempts from 3-point range on the way to a game high 28 points. Conahan made two triples in the final five minutes of regulation and then nailed three more in the overtime session to will the Bulldogs to a confidence-building triumph.
  • No player in NAIA Division II has poured in more 3-pointers so far this season than Conahan’s 22. She is shooting 48.9 percent from 3-point range. She has also shot 49.2 percent (31-for-63) and 100 percent (10-for-10) from the foul line. She leads Concordia with an average of 18.8 points per game.
  • Junior forward Jericca Pearson (Gibbon, Neb.) continued her terrific early-season play by posting her GPAC-leading third double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Pearson is averaging career highs in virtually every major category – 14.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.17 steals. She has been named to two all-tournament teams (Grand View Classic and Concordia’s Cattle Classic). Pearson made all 12 of her free throw attempts in Saturday’s win and is shooting 82.4 percent from the foul line on the season.
  • Fellow junior Tracy Peitz also notched a double-double (second career) with 20 points and a career best 11 rebounds to help fuel the win. Peitz ranks second to Conahan on the team with 16.2 points per game. The Hartington, Neb., native leads the Bulldogs with 21 steals.
  • Another career high came out of Saturday’s effort as junior Bailey Morris facilitated the offense with a personal best of 13 assists. She just missed out on her first career double-double as she added eight points. The 13 assists topped her previous career high of nine dimes in a national tournament win over Sterling College (Kan.) on March 8, 2012. Morris, a native of Roseland, Neb., ranks second in the GPAC with 5.67 assists per game.
  • Olson tightened up his rotation down the stretch in the win over Morningside. Known for getting regular minutes for 10 or more players, Concordia turned to a lineup that included one senior (Conahan) and four juniors – Kelsey Hizer, Morris, Pearson and Peitz – in the game’s critical moments. Those five veterans played an average of 35 minutes in the win over Morningside. Morris led the team with 39 minutes out of a possible 45.
  • As a team, the Bulldogs rank fifth nationally in steals per game (14.5), 10th in free throw percentage (77.0), 12th in turnover margin (plus-6.2), 16th in scoring offense (84.3) and 24th in 3-point field goal makes per game (7.0).
  • Concordia will again have just one game this week as it prepares for Saturday’s contest against another ranked opponent in No. 12 Briar Cliff (5-1, 1-1 GPAC). The Chargers opened up GPAC play last week and fell, 114-81, versus No. 7 Northwestern before rebounding for a 106-92 victory at Doane. Head coach Mike Power’s squad is led by Slone Masters (17.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg). The road teams won both meetings last season between Concordia and Briar Cliff. Saturday’s tipoff is slated for 2 p.m.

Men’s Basketball

  • Behind a big night from sophomore Robby Thomas, Concordia won for the second-straight time when it began last week with an 87-72 victory over visiting Grace University. First-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad struggled four days later in the team’s conference opener – an 85-67 loss to Morningside. Last week’s pair of games ended a stretch of four-consecutive home contests. Nearly three weeks into the season, the Bulldogs are 2-4 overall and 0-1 in GPAC play. For recaps of last week’s action, click HERE.
  • Statistically, Thomas put together the best game of his young career when he tallied 16 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five blocks in the win over Grace. That performance gave the Shawnee, Kan., native his third double-double already this season. Thomas then rejected another three shots in Saturday’s loss to Morningside, running his season total to 17. Only one player in NAIA Division II has more blocks than Thomas, who leads the GPAC with an average of 2.83 blocks per contest.
  • With Thomas leading the way, the Bulldogs rank seventh in NAIA Division II with an average of 5.0 blocks per game. The team’s 11 blocks against Grace were the most for the program since Jan. 31, 2004, when Concordia also denied 11 shots in a 75-68 win over Concordia-Ann Arbor. In last week’s victory, freshman Chandler Folkerts chipped in three blocks, freshman Aaron Walker had two and freshman Justin Damme had one in addition to Thomas’ five.
  • Through six games, Concordia ranks as one of the nation’s top free throw shooting teams. The Bulldogs shot 82.9 percent (39-for-47) from the foul line last week to bump their season percentage up to 77.2 – seventh best among all NAIA Division II teams. Senior guard Adam Vogt made all 10 of his free throw attempts last week to extend his string of consecutive made free throws to 21. On the season Vogt has made 33 of 37 free throws for a percentage of 89.2.
  • Despite 19 turnovers against Grace, Concordia’s offense flowed impressively for the majority of the night. The Bulldogs shot 51.9 percent (27-for-52) from the field, 40 percent (8-for-20) from three and 80.6 percent (25-for-31) from the charity stripe. Of the team’s 27 field goals, 23 were assisted and five players scored 13 or more points, led by Vogt’s 17.
  • Three Bulldogs reached double figures in scoring for the first time in their careers last week: junior Isaiah Bockelman (12 points vs. Morningside), Damme (15 points vs. Grace) and freshman Eli Ziegler (13 points vs. Grace). In addition, Walker produced a career best 15 points to lead all Bulldogs in the loss to Morningside.
  • The lopsided defeat to Morningside had a lot to do with the season highs Concordia gave up in field goal percentage (51.9) and 3-point field goal percentage (61.9). The Mustangs knocked down 13 of 21 long-range attempts, led by 5 of 7 3-point shooting from marksmen Tanner Miller.
  • Ziegler continued his hot shooting from beyond the arc by connecting on five of 11 shots from downtown last week. On the season he has drilled 11 of 23 (47.8 percent) 3-pointers. The freshman from Littleton, Colo., ranks ninth in the GPAC 3-point field goal percentage.
  • The Bulldogs do not play again until Saturday when they go on the road for the first time in conference play. Concordia will square off against a hot Briar Cliff (4-2, 2-0 GPAC) team that has won four of five games, including upsets of No. 7 William Penn (91-88) on Nov. 2 and of No. 15 Northwestern (91-77) on Nov. 12. Last season the Chargers won both meetings against Concordia. Saturday’s game will tip off at 4 p.m. from the Newman-Flanagan Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

Women’s Soccer

  • Head coach Greg Henson’s first season at the helm of Concordia women’s soccer came to an end in the GPAC semifinals last week. Seconded-seeded Hastings eliminated the sixth-seeded Bulldogs by a 3-0 score on a bitter cold night on Nov. 12. Concordia finished the season with an overall record of 9-9-2.
  • The Broncos entered last week’s contest with a GPAC-leading 57 goals. In an effort to slow down that high-powered attack, the Bulldogs used the same tactical approach that it employed when it fell 1-0 in double overtime at Hastings on Oct. 30. Concordia sagged numbers back into the defensive half to limit the Broncos’ opportunities as much as possible. The strategy worked for most of the first half until Hastings got on the board in the 34th minute.
  • The loss marks the second time in three years that the Concordia women’s soccer team ended its season at Hastings in the GPAC semifinals. In 2011 the Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals thanks to a 4-3 penalty kick shootout advantage over Dakota Wesleyan. Concordia then fell by a 3-1 decision at Hastings to conclude the season.
  • Freshman, sophomores and juniors combined for 87.9 percent (29 of 33) of the team’s goals, 81.3 percent (13 of 16) of the team’s assists and 82.0 percent (291 of 364) of the team’s games played in 2013. Of the three goalkeepers who saw time in 2013, two were sophomores and one was freshman Chrissy Lind (14 starts) – Concordia’s primary keeper. Both juniors Rachel Mussell (nine goals) and Ashlie Sklenicka (seven goals) will return to provide a good portion of the Bulldog offensive firepower.
  • For the program to take the next step in its development, the Bulldogs will need to improve their play on the road. Concordia went 7-4 at home and 1-0 in its one neutral site game, but it went 1-5-2 on the road. The Bulldogs are likely to have more road matches in 2014 than in 2013.
  • Said Henson after the season came to an end last week, “If you looked at the team that we walked out in the first game of the year to the team that we walked out in the last game of the year, you’d see a lot of growth. And that’s going to continue here. The Concordia women’s soccer program is going to move forward from here.”

Cross Country

  • Head coach Kregg Einspahr’s 19th-ranked men’s squad learned on Nov. 11 that its season had been extended when it officially earned an at-large berth to the national championships. The Bulldog men will compete at the national championships for the 12th time in the last 13 years when the race begins at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan.
  • Over his 22 years as head coach, Einspahr’s men’s and women’s cross country teams have now combined for 31 appearances on the national stage. At least one Concordia cross country squad has reached the national championships in 20-consecutive seasons. For further details on Concordia’s inclusion on the national stage, click HERE.
  • From 1994 to 2009, the Bulldog women captured top-20 national finishes each season, including runner-up placements in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004. The Concordia men have landed outside the top 25 only once in the last 12 years. The Concordia women’s 2013 season end on Nov. 9 with a fifth-place GPAC finish.
  • A total of 32 teams and 97 individuals are set to compete at the men’s cross country national championships. In all, 64 different NAIA institutions will be represented at the meet. For more information on the 2013 NAIA Cross Country National Championships, visit the NAIA’s cross country page HERE. For year-by-year national team finishes for Concordia cross country since 1992, click HERE.
  • Individually, Senior Beau Billings, junior Charlie Bloomfield, senior Hayden Hohnholt, sophomore Jordan Potrzeba, senior Adam Prahlow and sophomore Ben Sievert all carry prior national championship experience having run at last year’s meet in Vancouver, Wash. Colin Morrissey, last year’s GPAC Runner of the Year, is Concordia’s only 2012 national championships competitor that has graduated and moved on. As a team, Concordia placed 21st.
  • Check back later in the week for a preview of the national championships meet on http://www.concordiabulldogs.com.

19 November 2013

Junior Jericca Pearson