Bulldog Weekly Report
Complete fall sports wrap: To relive the top fall 2012 moments in Concordia athletics, click HERE. The fall sports wrap also includes commentary from each head coach on the past season.
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 squads completed the 2012 season at the NAIA National Championships on Nov. 17 in Vancouver, Wash. The Bulldog men, who qualified as a team after capturing the GPAC title, finished in 21st place. On the women’s side Sarah Kortze earned All-America honors for the second straight year while representing Concordia individually at the championships.
- On the men’s side, sophomore Ben Sievert led the way on the muddy, torn up course to take 51st place overall in a time of 25:38. Finishing second on the team was senior Colin Morrissey, in 26:11. Junior Hayden Hohnholt placed third on the team in 26:26. Junior Beau Billings was next in 26:36. Sophomore Charlie Bloomfield finished in 27:18, junior Adam Prahlow finished in 27:34 and freshman Jordan Potrzeba raced to a time of 28:19.
- “I don’t think it was our best race of the season, but a top 25 finish at the national championships is still something to be very proud of,” Einspahr said. “I think our men had a great season this year. I think this race will give our younger runners a lot of experience going into next year.”
- Sloshing her way through the cold, wet weather, Kortze claimed 14th pace overall with a time of 18:19 on the 5K women’s course. Fellow senior Jena Schwalenberg, who also qualified individually for a berth at nationals, just missed All-American status and placed 39th in a time of 18:45.
- “It was a really exciting race,” Kortze said. “It was the final one of my cross country career and I was just soaking up the experience because it was my last race. I was hoping to improve from last year but I was 15 seconds slower. I’m just thankful to be here and for the good times that we could have together as a team. God has really blessed me this season. He’s given me a great team and a healthy body.”
- Several Concordia runners were appearing at nationals for at least the second time in their careers. This year’s championship meet marked the third time on the national stage for Morrissey, who finished in 108th place with a time of 27:02 at the 2012 national championships when the Bulldog men took 20th place as a team. Sievert made his second straight appearance at nationals after clocking in at 26:36 (207th place out of 312) on the big stage in 2011.
- Einspahr’s complete women’s squad 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 102nd place finish amongst the 323 runners in the field.
- In Einspahr’s 21 years at the helm of Bulldog cross country, the women have earned trips to nationals 17 times and finished in the top 20 in each appearance, including four second place finishes. Einspahr has also guided the men to 14 trips to nationals with a second place finish in 2009. He has won nine combined GPAC titles (women – five; men – four).
- Senior Porter Birtell and the Bulldogs pulled out a second-straight three-point victory with a 66-63 decision over Mount Marty in the GPAC opener for both squads on Nov. 17. It was Concordia’s only game last week after going to 2-0 at the Cattle Classic Nov. 9-10.
- The Bulldogs are off to a 4-1 overall start for the second time in the past three seasons. With the win over the Lancers, Concordia has triumphed in its conference opener in four of the last five seasons. Head coach Marty Kohlwey’s squad, which has won three-consecutive games, will attempt to get out to the program’s best start since the Bulldogs began the 2008-09 campaign at 10-1.
- With 13 points or more in each of the team’s first five games, Birtell has now posted double figures in scoring in 16-straight games. The 2011-12 First Team All-GPAC selection reached double digits in 27 of 30 games overall as a junior last season when he averaged 17.2 points per contest. He is averaging 18.0 per game this season and 14.0 in 86 career games.
- At 66.7 percent shooting from the field, Birtell ranks third in the GPAC. The Madison, Neb., native is also sixth in scoring (18.0) and seventh in rebounding (6.6).
- Senior point guard Charles Dunbar continues to be a steadying force in his first year as the primary ball handler. Among GPAC players with 20 or more assists this season, the native of St. Louis, Mo., rates third in the conference with a sparkling assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.23. Dunbar’s average of 5.8 assists per game is second in the GPAC behind Doane’s Shavontae Samuels (6.0).
- Concordia defeated Mount Marty despite shooting only 37.5 percent (21-for-56) from the field, marking the first time the Bulldogs won a game shooting below 40 percent since Jan. 21, 2012, when they topped Dakota Wesleyan 67-62 while shooting 38.2 percent (21-for-55). Concordia was 2-7 last season in games when it recorded a shooting percentage south of 40.
- No player has logged more minutes for the Bulldogs so far than returning Co-GPAC Freshman of the Year Joel Haywood. The sophomore guard has played in 158 minutes (31.6 per game) while filling the stat sheet. The 6-foot-3 native of Lakewood, Colo., is averaging 10.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals while shooting 46.3 percent (19-for-41) from the field and 90.9 percent (10-for-11) from the foul line.
- The Bulldogs are now 3-0 at Walz Arena after going 4-7 at home last season. Concordia is also 1-0 in road games and 0-1 in its lone neutral court contest.
- The Bulldogs’ Adam Vogt ranks fifth in the GPAC in 3-point shooting percentage at 45.2. He has nailed 14 of 31 attempts from beyond the arc. The junior guard from Syracuse, Neb., is also fourth in the conference in made 3-point goals per game with 2.8.
- The Bulldogs are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Nebraska Wesleyan for an 8 p.m. game. The Prairie Wolves (2-0) knocked off Concordia-Chicago 79-50 on Nov. 16 and Dominican University 68-45 on Nov. 17 to begin their season. Kohlwey’s son Micah was a member of the Nebraska Wesleyan team last season when the Bulldogs won both meetings in the series.
- The top-ranked Bulldogs’ first seven opponents have provided little resistance as Concordia has won each game by 23 points or more. Head coach Drew Olson’s squad dominated again on Nov. 17 with a 91-61 victory over Mount Marty to open conference play. Like the men, the game was the Bulldogs’ only game of the week after cruising to a 2-0 record at the Cattle Classic Nov. 9-10.
- Concordia has now won 16 consecutive games against GPAC foes with the last loss coming to eventual national champion Northwestern by a score of 74-67 on Jan. 4, 2012. At 7-0 overall this season, the Bulldogs are trying to match last season’s 8-0 start to the campaign. Concordia’s longest undefeated run in recent history came during the 2002-03 season when the Bulldogs and current assistant coach Amy Harms, then a star player on the team, began 33-0 and made an appearance in the national semifinals.
- The statistics tell a story of total dominance for the nation’s top-ranked team. The Bulldogs are winning by an average of 38.9 points per game (third best in NAIA Division II) while forcing 33.1 turnovers per game thanks in large part to an average of 20.6 steals per game (second in the nation). Concordia pick-pocketed 21 steals and pressured the Lancers into 29 turnovers in the team’s most recent victory.
- With only 123 turnovers committed compared to 233 forced through seven games, the Bulldogs own the best turnover margin in the nation at plus-15.7 per game. No. 12 Davenport (Mich.) checks in next with a margin of plus-13.7. Last season Concordia topped the nation in turnover margin at plus-9.7.
- Buoyed by senior Beth Kohmetscher’s 24-for-50 shooting (48.0 percent) from beyond the arc this season, the Bulldogs rank fourth nationally with 9.9 triples per game. That figure is up nearly two 3-point field goals per game from last season’s average of 8.0, which ranked seventh in NAIA Division II. Kohmetscher’s 24 3-point field goals are tied with Mayville State’s (N.D.) Sabrina Rude and Alice Lloyd’s (Ky.) Jacquelyn Hickson for the most in the nation.
- The Bulldogs, who rank third nationally with an average of 94.4 points per game, have had a total of 30 individual double figure scorers through the team’s first seven games. Nine different Bulldogs have put up 10 points or more in at least one game this season. Conahan, Kohmetscher and Morris lead the team with five double figure scoring games apiece.
- Concordia also ranks as one of the nation’s top defensive teams. The Bulldogs are 16th in NAIA Division II with an average of 55.6 points per game allowed and rank 23rd in field goal percentage defense at 34.7. Johnson & Wales (Colo.), which shot 44.0 percent in a 121-72 Concordia victory, is the only opponent this season to shoot above 40 percent versus the Bulldogs.
- Concordia is now 6-0 at home this season and has won 17 consecutive games and 23 of 24 overall at Walz Arena. The Bulldogs’ last home loss came against then No. 13 Morningside on Dec. 3, 2011, by a score of 69-66.
- The Bulldogs continue GPAC play on Tuesday when they travel to Lincoln to take on Nebraska Wesleyan (1-1), which won its season opener 52-40 over Macalester College on Nov. 16 and then fell 71-64 to College of S. Benedict on Nov. 17. Tip off for Tuesday’s contest is set for 6 p.m.
- Head coach Dana Vote took his Bulldogs to the Nov. 17 University of Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open where they were greeted by a loaded field of highly-ranked competitors. The UNK Open included representatives from 43 different schools, including several quality NAIA programs as well as stout NCAA Division I and II squads. No team scores were kept at the event hosted by Nebraska Kearney, the top-ranked team at the NCAA Division II level. The open tournament featured both elite (mostly juniors and seniors) and amateur (mostly freshmen and sophomores) divisions.
- On a day when wins were difficult to come by for Concordia, freshman Austin Starkey shined at 157 while wrestling collegiately for the first time. Starkey began the day by taking a 13-6 decision over Eric Held of Wayne State prior to pinning Midland’s OJ Stephens (1:58) in round two. The native of St. Paul, Neb., would go on to lose his next two bouts by mere 6-4 decisions. One of those matches came against Labette Community College’s second-ranked JUCO Jeromy Davenport in a contest that went to overtime.
- “Austin was the main highlight for us today,” Concordia head coach Dana Vote said. “He wrestled some real good matches against great competition. His ability to scramble in certain situations really impressed me. If we can get him to turn the corner a little bit more he can make a big impact right away.”
- The Bulldogs other wins on the day came from Seth Crane at 184 and Chandler Brandert at 141. Crane, a fourth-place finisher at the previous week’s Swede Open, triumphed 8-4 over Vance Hawk of NCAA Division I Air Force in one of the Bulldogs’ top individual efforts of the day. Brandert picked up his first win of the season with a 6-2 decision over Dan Gaylor of New Mexico Highlands.
- While Concordia struggled against some of the open’s top wrestlers, Vote believes it was beneficial for his team to have that experience against the nation’s elite. “We wrestled against tough competition,” Vote said. “It was good to get out early and see what that kind of competition is all about. It shows us where we need to get. I expected a little more than we got today. We’re going to have to get back to the room and build upon this. We need to improve our scrambling and cut back on some of the mistakes we continue to make.”
- Through two tournaments, junior Alex Stepanek (a third place finisher at the Swede Open) carries the top individual record on the team with a mark of 5-3. Crane (4-4) and heavyweight Frank Ayala (4-4) come in next with four wins apiece. The Bulldogs have seven total pins as a team with those falls coming from seven different individuals. Complete season results can be viewed HERE.
- Concordia, listed in the “others receiving votes” category in the preseason coaches’ poll, is off until Nov. 29 when the Bulldogs host 19th-ranked York for their first dual meet of the season. Action will get started at 7 p.m. The Panthers won last year’s meeting 37-15.
20 November 2012