Bulldog Weekly Report
Bulldog Athletes of the Week
Female: Jericca Pearson, Basketball
Pearson, a native of Gibbon, Neb., averaged 10.3 points and 6.3 rebounds over the past week as the Bulldogs won three times to improve to 6-0 on the season. The 5-foot-10 sophomore also swatted five shots last week in serving as a major force in the paint.
Male: Darnell Woods, Football
Woods, who hails from Phoenix, Ariz., ended his phenomenal junior campaign with his team-leading fifth interception of the season in the Nov. 10 loss at Doane. Woods returned the interception 48 yards for the Bulldogs’ only score of the game. He also added seven total tackles.
Fall GPAC all-conference teams announced: The GPAC has announced 2012 all-conference honors for men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and football. Volleyball honors will be released Wednesday. Here’s a look at Concordia’s honorees so far:
- Kregg Einspahr – GPAC Coach of the Year
- Colin Morrissey – GPAC Runner of the Year, All-Conference
- Hayden Hohnholt – All-Conference
- Ben Sievert – All-Conference
- Sarah Kortze – GPAC Runner of the Year, All-Conference
- Jena Schwalenberg – All-Conference
- Nathan Douglas – First Team All-Conference
- Sean Doran – Second Team All-Conference
- Aaron Skipworth – Honorable Mention
- Rachel Mussell – First Team All-Conference
- Emily Fleming – Second Team All-Conference
- Jordan Donohoue – Honorable Mention
- Darnell Woods (DB) – First Team All-Conference
- Kenny Zoeller (K) – First Team All-Conference
- Derek Blessing (PR) – First Team All-Conference
- Colten Quinabo (WR) – Second Team All-Conference
- Adam Faulstich (OL) – Second Team All-Conference
- Michael Voelker (DL) – Second Team All-Conference
- Dylan Heithoff (LB) – Second Team All-Conference
- Honorable Mention: Von Thomas (QB), Dylan Klassen (OL), Josh Powell (OL), Langston Jones (LB), Kyle Little (LB), Derek Blessing (KR), Tom Malander (LB), Tait Sibbel (DB)
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 schedule/results pages for webcast dates. Scrimmages, exhibitions and junior varsity events are not broadcasted.
- Head coach Kregg Einspahr’s nationally-ranked cross country programs are in the midst of preparation for the NAIA National Championships in Vancouver, Wash., on Saturday. The 13th-ranked Concordia men earned an automatic berth to nationals by winning the GPAC Championships on Nov. 3. While the 21st-ranked women as a whole did not qualify for the national championships, seniors Sarah Kortze and Jena Schwalenberg will compete individually in Vancouver.
- For the men, the Bulldogs will run seven individuals (their top seven from the GPAC meet) at the national championships. These individuals include GPAC champion and senior Colin Morrissey, junior Hayden Hohnholt, sophomore Ben Sievert, junior Beau Billings, junior Adam Prahlow, freshman Jordan Potrzeba and sophomore Charlie Bloomfield. Concordia will also bring alternates to the race.
- “Nationals are a whole different ball game,” Einspahr said. “It’s easy to fold your tent if you haven’t been there before. We have a mix of guys with some that have been there. I think we can compete very well. We haven’t hit our peak yet. I think we can finish in the top 15. We’ve got a team that’s going to go in and have its best meet of the season.”
- Einspahr and the team will fly out of Omaha early Wednesday morning and arrive in Vancouver later that day. The Bulldogs will then have the opportunity to run the National Championships course on Thursday and Friday before the action begins Saturday morning. The women’s 5K championship race will start at 10:30 a.m. PST, followed by the men’s 8K run at 11:45 a.m.
- Einspahr’s women represented Concordia at the 2011 NAIA National Championships with a 17th place finish. Kortze ran to All-America honors with a time of 18:03 on the 5K course, good enough for 13th place individually. Schwalenberg clocked in 19:29 on the way to a 102ndplace finish amongst the 323 runners in the field.
- Sophomore Ben Sievert will be making his second-straight appearance at the National Championships after qualifying individually last season. The Frankenmuth, Mich., native ran the 8K course in a time of 26:36, putting him in 207th place out of 312 runners. In their last team appearance, the men took 20th place at the 2010 National Championships, where Colin Morrissey, the 2012 GPAC individual titlist, finished 108th with a time of 27:02. Morrissey, who was part of the 2009 national runner up squad, will make his third career appearance at nationals.
- For a more detailed look at the qualifying field for the 2012 NAIA National Championships, click HERE.
- The top-ranked Bulldogs continued to live up to their lofty preseason ranking as they captured three more wins last week – all by a margin of 30 or more points. Concordia, now 6-0 to begin the season for a second-consecutive year, posted victories over No. 23 College of Saint Mary (81-51) on Nov. 6, Johnson & Wales (Colo.) (121-72) on Nov. 9 and York (95-50) on Nov. 10 in another dominant week.
- The Bulldogs are averaging 95.0 points through six games, a figure that leads NAIA Division II women’s basketball among teams that have played four or more games. Last season Concordia finished sixth nationally with an average of 77.5 points per game. That total was second in the GPAC behind only Briar Cliff’s 84.7 points per contest.
- The high-powered Bulldogs have eight players with scoring averages between 7.2 and 14.6. Senior guard Katie Rich leads the way followed close behind by the 14.0 points per game of junior guard Kristen Conahan. Sophomore Bailey Morris stands at 13.7.
- Head coach Drew Olson’s squad reached triple digits in scoring for the second time this season when it dropped 121 on Johnson & Wales on day one of the Cattle Classic. The Bulldogs eclipsed the 100-point mark only twice last season and had not put up more than 105 points since a 107-54 win over Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) on Nov. 12, 2004.
- Concordia ranks third in all of NAIA Division II with an average margin of victory of 40.3 points. Union (Ky.) (46.0) and Montreat (N.C.) (45.0) are the only schools with larger average win margins.
- Concordia’s signature pressure defense has fueled the team’s early-season scoring outbursts. The Bulldogs have caused 204 turnovers for an average of 34.0 per game. Concordia has four players who rank in the top 17 in the nation in steals: Conahan is fifth with 23, Morris ranks sixth with 22, Tracy Peitz is 10th with 16 and Rich checks in at 17th with 14 thefts. As a team, the Bulldogs rank No. 1 nationally with 20.5 steals per game.
- Senior guard Beth Kohmetscher joined Rich on the Cattle Classic All-Tournament team after a dazzling shooting performance. She went 9-for-20 from beyond the arc on the weekend on the way to a combined 27 points in the two wins. She is now 19-for-42 (45.2 percent) from 3-point range on the season. The sharpshooting native of Deweese, Neb., has attempted only six shots from inside the arc.
- Rich continued her phenomenal production. She played only 36 combined minutes over the weekend due to lopsided scores, but still managed 26 points, seven rebounds, nine steals and five assists.
- Conahan totaled 55 combined points in last week’s three games to bring her career point total to 953. With 47 more points, Conahan will join Rich as the second Bulldog to reach 1,000 career points this season. The Omaha native has averaged 12.9 points over 74 career games.
- Olson’s squad is in the midst of a six-day stretch without a game. The Bulldogs return to action on Saturday when they host Mount Marty at 2 p.m. for the conference opener. The Lancers (1-1) were picked by league coaches to finish in a tie for sixth in the GPAC.
- Head coach Marty Kohlwey enjoyed a successful home debut at the Nov. 9-10 Cattle Classic. The Bulldogs went 2-0 on the weekend with an 84-56 blowout win over Kansas Wesleyan on day one before capping the event with a 73-70 squeaker over Bethel (Kan.).
- Concordia continued its great early-season run offensively to improve to 3-1. Through four games, the Bulldogs are shooting 51.9 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from beyond the arc. Concordia used a 68 percent second-half shooting effort to erase a 13-point deficit in the victory over Bethel.
- Senior post Porter Birtell has picked up where he left off last season when he was a First Team All-GPAC selection. The native of Madison, Neb., nearly recorded back-to-back double-doubles at the Cattle Classic as he went for 21 points and 14 rebounds on day one and then 17 and nine on day two. On the season, Birtell is averaging 18.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. For his career, Birtell now has 1,192 points and 638 rebounds.
- Junior guard Adam Vogt and Birtell represented Concordia on the Cattle Classic All-Tournament Team. Vogt was chosen thanks in large part to his marksmanship from the perimeter. The Syracuse, Neb., native nailed 6-of-12 from deep and tallied 24 points over the weekend. He scored eight-straight points late in the first half to put the game with Kansas Wesleyan out of reach and also connected on a triple in the victory over Bethel that capped a 10-2 run and staked Concordia to a one-point lead early in the second half.
- The Bulldogs have had to rely upon smaller lineups of late due to injuries that have sidelined senior Beau Smith and freshman Max Wegener. At times Concordia even went to four guard lineups that included only Birtell as a frontcourt player. With a thinner bench, Birtell, sophomore Joel Haywood and senior Charles Dunbar each logged over 30 minutes in the team’s most recent victory.
- Dunbar has taken the point guard role and has run with it. The St. Louis, Mo., native dished out 15 combined dimes in the Cattle Classic wins to push his season assist total to 24. The senior owns a stellar 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and has plucked two steals in each game so far. He is also averaging 11.5 points per game.
- The Bulldogs also got important contributions from senior guard Phil Friedrich, who saw limited playing time his first three seasons. The Seward native hauled in four rebounds (two offensive) in the win over Kansas Wesleyan, drawing the praise of teammates and coaches for his hard work. He then put up a career high eight points as the Bulldogs defeated Bethel on Nov. 10.
- Concordia is off to a 2-0 start at Walz Arena after struggling to a 4-7 home record last season. For the third-straight season, the Bulldogs are 3-1 after four games.
- Kohlwey will lead his team into GPAC action on Saturday when Mount Marty (1-1) visits Walz Arena for a 4 p.m. battle. The Lancers, who tied for seventh place last season, were picked by league coaches to finish last in the GPAC.
- Head coach Vance Winter and the Bulldogs finished up the 2012 campaign on Nov. 10 with a 17-7 loss at then No. 20 Doane. It was the seventh-straight win in the series for the Tigers. Concordia last defeated Doane in 2005 by the score of 23-10 in Crete.
- The Bulldogs had been gunning for their first winning season since 2001 when then head coach Courtney Meyer’s team reached the NAIA Football Championship Series. With its five wins this season, the Concordia recorded its highest win total in a season since going 5-5 in 2004.
- After being picked by league coaches to finish eighth in the GPAC in the preseason, the Bulldogs entered their final game with a chance to rise as high as tied for third. With the loss, Concordia completed the season in seventh place, just one game behind a trio of squads that tied for fourth with 5-4 conference records.
- Despite losses in its final two games, Concordia showed marked improvement from 2011 to 2012. The Bulldog offense went from an average of 16.7 points per game and 249.5 yards per game last season to 24.0 points and 306.5 yards per contest this season. Defensively, Concordia shaved their points allowed per game from 24.1 in 2011 to 22.6 in 2012.
- “No doubt we’re moving in the right direction,” Winter said. “Anyone who’s watched us knows we’re a much better football team than what we’ve been. We’ve got to have a big offseason. We’re going to focus on developing our guys and having a great recruiting class. We’re not going to waste any time.”
- The highlight of the 2012 season came on Oct. 13 when Concordia upset then No. 11 Northwestern 17-16 in front of a large homecoming crowd at Bulldog Stadium. The Red Raiders lost only two games during the regular season and enter the NAIA Football Championship Series at No. 12 in the coaches’ poll.
- Much of the offensive improvement was due to the emergence of sophomore quarterback Von Thomas who began 2012 with only one career start. This season the Miami, Fla., native started all 11 games and took nearly every snap. He completed the 2012 campaign 165-for-331 passing for 1,840 yards, 14 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He also led the team in rushing with 460 yards and six touchdowns.
- Other outstanding statistical performers were kicker Kenny Zoeller and corner/return man Derek Blessing. Zoeller bounced back from a tough junior year to nail 15-of-20 field goal attempts and 27-of-28 PATs. Meanwhile, Blessing was one of the top returners at any level of college football. His 388 punt return yards and three punt return touchdowns led the NAIA. Only Chris Denton of NCAA Division III Mount Union (Ohio) had more than three punt returns for touchdowns among all collegiate players nationally. Denton had four.
- Junior Darnell Woods made himself comfortable at the safety position after moving from a corner spot in game No. 3. The native of Phoenix, Ariz., topped the Bulldogs with five interceptions while showing playmaking ability with the ball in his hands. Woods totaled 176 return yards on those interceptions, including a 48-yard pick-six in the loss at Doane. He finished seventh on the team with 58 total tackles.
- Blessing also had a big season defensively, leading the Bulldogs in tackles (75), pass break ups (6) and fumbles forced (3). With every member of its starting secondary back in 2013, including freshman safety Tait Sibbel (67 tackles), Concordia figures to feature a solid pass defense once again.
- Head coach Dana Vote’s wrestlers, who were listed in the “others receiving votes” category in the preseason rankings, began the 2012-13 season with a quartet who placed on the medal stand at the Swede Open, hosted by Bethany College (Kan.) on Nov. 10. Complete results for all of Concordia’s wrestlers can be viewed HERE.
- Concordia junior Alex Stepanek led the way with a third-place finish at 133, while seniors Frank Ayala (285) and Brandon Starkey (157) and sophomore Seth Crane (184) each carved out fourth place finishes.
- “Stepanek had a great day coming back after an early loss and getting third. He won matches by being flat out tough,” Vote said. “He just out-toughed guys.”
- Stepanek, of St. Paul, Neb., shook off a quarterfinal loss to Oak Hill Wrestling Club’s Tony Livengood to win his final four bouts of the day, including a 10-8 decision over York’s Marcus Banducci in the third-place match. In perhaps his biggest victory of the day, Stepanek took an 8-3 decision over 10th-ranked Colt Rogers of Bethany in the consolation semifinals of the 133 bracket.
- Starkey, a native of St. Paul, Neb., added to his program records (since its existence in 2009) for career wins (56) and career matches wrestled (102) by going 3-2 in his five bouts at the Swede Open. Starkey is the first Bulldog in program history to reach the 100 career matches mark. His fourth-place showing was made even more impressive by the fact that he typically competes in the 149 weight class.
- “Starkey had a good day winning some big matches wrestling up a weight,” Vote said. “He battled through some tough matches to score a lot of points. He went through some adversity to win them.”
- In addition, Starkey placed at a tournament for the 10th time in his career – also a school record.
- Crane, a sophomore from North Platte, Neb., also went 3-2 on the day to claim fourth place. He pinned Oklahoma City’s Cody Sivertsen in a quarterfinal match prior to dropping a 5-0 decision to Baker’s Parker Owen in the third-place match.
- Ayala had a similar day at 285. The West Covina, Calif., native won by pin over Baker’s Chris Tackett in a consolation match and then squeaked by York’s Ray Johnson 11-10 to set himself up against Bacone’s Cesar Ponce in the third-place bout. Ponce came away with a 6-2 triumph.
- Chandler Brandert (141), Peter Ovens (157), Martin Dobler (157), Nick Sheppard (165), Kale Hintz (174) and Cameron Bruce (197) also took to the mat on Saturday for Concordia. Hintz recorded a pin and a victory by major decision, while Bruce also posted one pin.
- The Bulldogs will return to the mat on Saturday when they travel to the University of Nebraska-Kearney Open in Kearney, Neb.
- Bulldog volleyball completed its first season under the guidance of head coach Scott Mattera in 2012. Concordia, seeded eighth in the GPAC Championships, drew top-seeded Hastings in the first round on Nov. 6. After taking a game from the Broncos in a four-set loss on Nov. 1, the Bulldogs found out exactly why Hastings was ranked fifth nationally, as the Broncos rolled to a 25-10, 25-14, 25-18 win on the way to a runner up finish in the postseason tournament.
- While Concordia finished with a 10-21 overall record and 4-12 conference mark, Mattera was pleased with the development and consistent effort displayed by his team throughout the season.
- “We pushed some of the best teams in the country week in and week out,” Mattera said following the conclusion of the team’s regular-season finale on Nov. 3. “And we did it with heart, brains, believing in each other and playing the system. The improvement shown by our girls speaks to their character.”
- Wrote Mattera on the Bulldog Facebook page, “I will never forget my first season as head coach of the Bulldogs – so many great times, so much improvement, too many awesome people to name. And to our 4 seniors - when we start lifting trophies in the next few years, we'll be carving your names on the base as you built the foundation! … Bulldog volleyball is a lifestyle, not just an activitTop of Formy.”
- The 2012 campaign was dotted throughout with losses to highly-ranked squads. In all, Concordia played 10 matches against ranked opponents and three versus teams receiving votes at the time of the contest. The Bulldogs nearly pulled off a stunner on Oct. 24 when they took then No. 19 Doane (the eventual GPAC postseason champion) to five sets before falling 15-4 in the deciding game.
- Concordia has two particularly strong candidates for recognition on the GPAC all-conference teams that will be released on Wednesday. Senior Amanda Kisker, who finished her collegiate career with 1,111 kills and 784 digs, piled up a career best 378 kills this season. The Lincoln native ranks fourth in the conference with 3.3 kills per set and fourth in total kills. Sophomore Carli Smith of Temecula, Calif., also had a big season with 512 total digs – the fourth most in the GPAC. Her 4.5 digs per set rank third in the conference.
- While the Bulldogs will say goodbye to Kisker and three other seniors, Mattera is confident in the positive direction of the program. He’ll bring back a host of sophomores that saw heavy action in 2012 and welcome in the addition of a promising recruiting class.
13 November 2012