Bulldog Weekly Report
- Head coach Vance Winter’s squad will play its first of four games against teams ranked in the NAIA’s preseason poll when the Bulldogs host No. 13 Benedictine (Kan.) at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Concordia will also play No. 8 Morningside (Nov. 3), No. 10 Northwestern (Oct. 13) and No. 21 Doane (Nov. 10).
- Saturday’s contest is a rematch of the 2011 opener for both teams. The Ravens racked up 288 rushing yards on the way to a 45-0 blowout win in Atchison, Kan, last Aug. 27. The Bulldogs were out-gained 442-123 against then-No. 22 Benedictine. Linebacker Jerrod Fleming led Concordia with eight tackles, one for loss.
- League coaches and media both picked Concordia to finish eighth in the GPAC, the same spot it placed in the final 2011 standings.
- Bulldog fans will be treated to a new-look offense in 2012. New offensive coordinator Curran White began installing a more up tempo spread offense in the spring. White comes to Concordia after serving as offensive line/run game coordinator at Missouri Valley College, which advanced to the NAIA Championship series in four of White’s six seasons in Marshall, Mo.
- Von Thomas won the battle at quarterback in fall camp and will appear in his 10th career game (second career start) on Saturday. The redshirt sophomore completed 23 of 48 pass attempts for 189 yards and one passing touchdown while serving as the No. 2 quarterback for much of 2011.
- Aaron Gillory will start at running back after missing nearly all of the last two seasons with a torn left ACL. The 5-foot-11, 230-pound junior has been limited to only four career rush attempts due to injury, but Winter expects big things from Gillory in 2012. “We are really excited about what Aaron can do this fall,” White said. “He is going to be a big component of what we are trying to accomplish offensively.”
- Linebacker appears to be one of the team’s biggest strengths defensively with veterans like Dylan Heithoff and Tom Malander. Heithoff is expected to be a force as a rush linebacker in the team’s 3-4 scheme.
- Jason Weides, who enters his fifth year as head coach this season, and his Bulldog squad will open play on the road against William Penn on Friday at 7 p.m. The Statesmen of the Midwest Collegiate Conference went 5-11-2 overall in 2011, including a 1-6-1 mark at home.
- Senior forward Aaron Skipworth, who has tallied 29 career goals, needs just three more goals to break Bernie Ochoa’s (2002-02) school record of 31 career goals. Skipworth found the back of the net nine times in 2011, which trailed only junior Nathan Douglas’ 11 goals for the team lead.
- Douglas now has 18 career goals, including the seven he tallied as a freshman. The Winnipeg, Canada, native has appeared in 37 of the team’s 38 games the past two seasons with 33 starts.
- The Bulldogs concluded the 2011 season with an 8-0-0 record at Bulldog Stadium. Their last home loss came on Oct. 10, 2010 versus Briar Cliff.
- Eleven student-athletes from last season’s roster have moved on, including nine graduates and two transfers. Nine out of 18 letterwinners and six starters return.
- Concordia’s 11 wins in 2011 were the second most in a season in the history of the men’s soccer program since it began in 1970. The 2000 team, which featured Weides as a key player, won 12 games.
- The 2012 roster includes 10 players from the state of Nebraska, five from Colorado, four from Arizona, two each from Missouri and South Dakota and one apiece from Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas. Several also hail from outside the United States, including two each from Canada and Ireland and one from Australia.
- This season’s roster contains eight seniors, one junior, seven sophomores and 17 freshmen.
- Among the freshmen, Sean Doran, an imposing 6-foot-6 presence from Dublin, Ireland, figures to see the most action. His size provides the Bulldogs with a defender unlike what Weides’ squads have typically featured.
- Weides’ goal for the 2012 season is clear: “We want to be in the GPAC Championship game.”
- A trio of scrimmages kicked off the 2012 season for head coach Lisa White’s women’s soccer program. The Bulldogs got a lone goal from Rachel Mussell in a 2-1 loss to College of Saint Mary (Neb.) on Aug. 16. Concordia then went on a two-game swing in Atchison, Kan., where it defeated the NWA Lightning 5-4 on Sunday prior to a 9-1 loss to Benedictine (Kan.) on Monday. Junior forward Jordan Donohoue had one goal in each game, while sophomore forward Melissa Stine knocked in a pair of goals in Sunday’s win.
- Concordia will face its first official contest of the season on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. when NCAA Division II University of Nebraska-Kearney visits Seward, Neb. The Lopers of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association went 5-12-1 in 2011 with a record of 1-7-0 on the road.
- The veteran trifecta of defenders Kyleah Bowder and Emily Fleming and forward Jordan Donohoue will be leaned upon heavily in 2012. The trio has combined for 124 games played in their Concordia careers.
- Donohoue, the team’s leading returning goal scorer after notching six goals in 2011, has played in 36 of 37 games in her first two seasons as a Bulldog.
- After three-straight losing seasons from 2007 to 2010, White has guided the Bulldogs to back-to-back seasons of .500-or-better records. She sits at 18-17-2 following her first two seasons.
- The 2012 roster includes 11 student-athletes from Nebraska, five from Missouri, two each from Colorado, Illinois and Kansas and one apiece from Florida, Minnesota, Utah and Washington.
- This season’s roster is made up of two seniors, seven juniors, 10 sophomores and seven freshmen.
- Of the first-year players, defender Katie Janis (St. Charles, Mo.) and Jaimi Stelk (Grand Island, Neb.) are most likely to see early playing time.
- Despite a youthful roster, team chemistry is a strength for this year’s team according to Bowder. “Our biggest strength is our unity and our culture,” Bowder said. “We took a trip to New Orleans this past summer that really impacted us. Being able to serve the Lord together brought us closer. We’ve come to realize that our identity is in Christ. Just having that common ground and faith has been great.”
- Scott Mattera begins his first season as head coach of the Bulldogs in 2012. Mattera has coached at the NCAA Division I, NAIA and high school levels. He was most recently the top assistant at Montreat College (N.C.).
- Former head coach Rachel Miller decided to step down following the 2011 campaign in order to spend more time with her family. Miller went 106-123 in seven seasons at the helm of Concordia volleyball. She led the program to three-consecutive 20-win seasons from 2005 to 2007.
- Outside hitter Amanda Kisker has emerged as a primary leader for a team transitioning with a new coach and offensive system. Kisker, who led the 2011 squad with 315 kills, has been a mainstay since transferring from the now closed Dana College after her freshman year. Her presence has been like having another assistant coach, according to Mattera.
- Concordia has finished with exactly 11 wins in each of the last three seasons. Mattera hopes the maturation of several sophomores, who were thrown into the fire last season, helps the Bulldogs bump up those win totals. Sophomores Amanda Abbott, Kayla James, Mariah Schamp and Carli Smith each played in at least 22 matches last season as freshmen.
- Says Mattera of the new offensive system: “We’re basically running a spread offense. It’s not a volleyball term, it’s a football term, but it’s a similar concept where we’re looking for good matchups and getting hitters into space.”
- The volleyball program reported for fall camp on Aug. 17, a week later than football and men’s and women’s soccer. Since beginning practice, Mattera has been most impressed by the team’s energy and focus. Those traits will be key when the Bulldogs begin play Aug. 31 against Baker (Kan.) as part of the Bellevue Labor Day Tournament.
- The 2012 roster includes 13 student-athletes from Nebraska, three each from California, Colorado and Iowa, two from Montana and one apiece from Indiana, Missouri and Nevada.
- This season’s roster is made up of four seniors, four juniors, 10 sophomores and nine freshmen.
Fall Season Preview Schedule
21 August 2012
Four Questions with head women's soccer coach Lisa White:
A: Generally speaking, the team has really been able to build strong ties and relationships much earlier in this preseason than in last years. Chemistry and team cohesion is much farther ahead than it was at this point last year. Both on and off the field the chemistry takes time and effort, I’m grateful for the type of players we have this year that are taking the initiative to invest in this area.
2) Q: You’ve had a chance to see your team play three games now. What are your impressions from those performances?
A: My initial impressions are that we are understanding and applying the concepts we are asking of the team. There are still miscommunications to work out and getting to the point of familiarity with each other during the matches. We really have seen progress in each match in regards to playing in a manner that allows us to anticipate each other’s decision as opposed to reacting to each other.
3) Q: How have leaders like Kyleah Bowder, Jordan Donohoue and Emily Fleming stepped up so far in setting an example for a youthful roster?
A: These three have been highly encouraging and influential in setting an example for our young roster, keeping in mind though that they are not the only ones contributing in this area with our team. Our entire returning roster has taken it upon themselves to ensure they are each setting an example for our freshmen.
4) Q: What are you expecting to see on Thursday when Nebraska-Kearney comes to town?
A: I will expect to see a strong and aggressive style of play coming from UNK. They are always a skilled side that likes to play physical. I would anticipate that we continue to focus on our goals for GPAC competition and continue moving in a positive direction.