Bulldog Weekly Report
Bulldog Athletes of the Week
Male: Brandon Starkey, Wrestling
Starkey, a native of St. Paul, Neb., compiled a record of 5-2 while wrestling at 157 in a pair of events last week. He began the week by taking a 7-2 decision over Aaron Largey in a dual meet with Briar Cliff. He then captured fourth place at the Quality Hotel Open in Hastings where he picked up a win over Eric Albers of NCAA Division I Air Force.
Female: Bailey Morris, Basketball
Morris, named GPAC Player of the Week on Monday, averaged 24.0 points per game and connected on 8 of 11 attempts from 3-point range in Concordia’s two victories last week. The Roseland, Neb., guard put up a career high 27 points in the Bulldogs’ 78-66 victory over No. 4 Morningside on Jan. 12. She leads Concordia with 15.6 points per game.
Advance tickets available for CIT: Advance tickets to the 2013 Concordia Invitational Tournament can be purchased online HERE or by visiting the Janzow Campus Center. Tickets will be sold at Janzow through Friday, Jan. 18 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The all-weekend pass costs $15 if purchased in advance of the tournament. The weekend pass is $20 if purchased at the admission entrance on the date of the event. One-session and one-day passes are also available for purchase. CIT will be held Jan. 25-26. For more information on the event, click HERE.
Indoor Track and Field resumes Friday: Head coach Kregg Einspahr will take his team into action on Friday when they compete in the Prairie Wolf Invite hosted by Nebraska Wesleyan inside the Devaney Center in Lincoln. The Bulldogs return to competition more than a month after hosting the Polar Dog Dual with Hastings on Dec. 14-15. Concordia opened the season in style with seven new meet records and seven NAIA automatic qualifying marks at the event.
Concordia volleyball on Twitter: Concordia volleyball recently created an account on Twitter. You can follow the Bulldog spikers here – twitter.com/cunevolleyball (@cunevolleyball).
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.
- The Bulldogs rebounded from their first loss of the season – a double overtime stunner at Dordt on Jan. 5 – to claim a pair of wins last week and take control of the GPAC title race with nine conference games remaining. Concordia enjoyed some home cooking in topping Hastings 76-57 on Jan. 8 prior to a 78-66 victory over No. 4 Morningside in the NAIA Game of the Week on Jan. 12.
- Head coach Drew Olson and the Bulldogs (17-1, 10-1 GPAC) now have a two-game lead in the league standings over Morningside and No. 10 Northwestern. Morningside, Northwestern and Briar Cliff each have three conference losses. Concordia has defeated Morningside twice and has games remaining at Northwestern on Feb. 2 and versus Briar Cliff at home on Feb. 6. The Bulldogs are aiming to become the first team to win back-to-back GPAC regular-season titles since Hastings captured at least a share of the league championship five-consecutive years from 2003-04 to 2007-08.
- Sophomore guard Bailey Morris led the charge in last week’s victories. The Roseland, Neb., native took over the team scoring lead (15.6 ppg) by going for a combined 48 points. As Olson stated after the Morningside win, “Bailey is turning into one of the best players in the conference and one of the best players in the country.” After shooting 28.6 percent from 3-point range last season, Morris heeded Olson’s advice and spent the offseason fine-tuning her outside jumper. That work has paid off as she is making 41.3 percent of her threes this season. She drained 6 of 8 attempts from distance on the way to a career best 27 points in the Jan. 12 win.
- Morris has done her damage while mostly coming off the bench this season. She has started only once as Olson has employed the same starting lineup for 16 of the first 18 games. In total, three different lineups have been trotted out for tip off. Senior Kristen Conahan, junior Lori Laboda and freshman Jenna Lehmann have each started all 18 games. Senior Katie Rich and sophomore Tracy Peitz have 17 starts apiece. Senior Beth Kohmetscher has started once.
- Concordia’s dominance this season is backed by the GPAC statistical leaderboard. The Bulldogs top the conference in many major categories, including scoring offense (84.9 ppg), scoring margin (plus-23.4), free throw percentage (71.2), blocks per game (3.89), steals per game (18.2) and turnover margin (plus-10.6).
- Sophomore forward Jericca Pearson has provided a solid defensive presence down low and is one of the main reasons Concordia leads the conference in blocked shots. The native of Gibbon, Neb., ranks fifth in the GPAC with 1.17 blocks per game. Over the last seven contests she has swatted 11 shots for an average of 1.57 blocks. Her season high was three blocks versus Dakota Wesleyan on Dec.8.
- Conahan and Morris are both prominent on the national statistical leaderboards. Morris is now 19th in NAIA Division II in 3-point field goal percentage (41.3) and 10th in steals per game (3.28). Conahan is 18th in 3-point field goals per game (2.56) and fifth in steals per game (3.5). Conahan has at least one steal in 21-straight games.
- Rich has also put up lofty steal totals with 43 in 17 games this season and 232 for her career. Rich, who hails from Tilden, Neb., is often tasked with hounding the opposing team’s top scorer. She did just that in the Bulldogs’ most recent win as she primarily guarded Morningside returning First Team All-American Chelsie Trask, who managed only 11 points and shot just 2-for-10 shooting from the field. Rich came through with four steals in the game, including one that she converted into a layup during Concordia’s crucial 11-0 run to salt away the victory.
- The Bulldogs dropped one spot to No. 2 in last week’s NAIA Division II coaches’ poll. Concordia had been ranked No. 1 in the first four polls of the season and was a unanimous top choice in the previous three editions. New No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan (20-0) is the only unbeaten left in NAIA Division II.
- Concordia begins a stretch of three-straight road games when it travels to Midland (8-12, 3-8 GPAC) on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. tip off. The Bulldogs demolished the Warriors 110-65 in Seward on Nov. 27. Midland is coming off a 76-65 victory at Dordt on Jan. 12.
- Olson will then take his squad to Dakota Wesleyan (14-6, 6-5 GPAC) on Sunday for a 2 p.m. game. Provided the 24th-ranked Tigers remain listed in in the top 25 with today’s new poll, Concordia will face a ranked opponent for the seventh time this season. The Bulldogs are 6-0 against top 25 foes. Concordia defeated Dakota Wesleyan 78-58 on Dec. 8 in Walz Arena.
- The Bulldogs took to the mat twice last week with two events in a three-day span between Thursday and Saturday. Head coach Dana Vote’s squad lost by a 30-12 score to Briar Cliff in the team’s GPAC-opening dual on Jan. 10. Concordia then traveled west to Hastings on Jan. 12 to participate in the Quality Hotel Open hosted by Hastings College. Seniors Frank Ayala (285) and Brandon Starkey (157) took third and fourth place, respectively, in their weight classes.
- For Ayala, who hails from West Covina, Calif., his performance in Hastings marked his team-leading fourth tournament placement of the season. The third-place finish was his best of the season. He also took fourth place at the Swede Open on Nov. 10 and posted back-to-back sixth place finishes in opens at Simpson (Iowa) on Dec. 1 and at Buena Vista (Iowa) on Dec. 8. With a record of 14-15 on the season, Ayala is tied for the team lead in victories.
- Brandon Starkey, native of St. Paul, Neb., is also no stranger to the medal stand. His three tournament placements this season are the second most on the team and his 12 career appearances on the medal stand are the most in the history of the Bulldog wrestling program that began with the 2009-10 season. With a mark of 14-10 (.583), Starkey is tied for the most wins on the team and has the highest winning percentage.
- At 285, Ayala took a 3-1 decision over Bethany’s (Kan.) Tyler Smith and pinned Buena Vista’s Gable Bonner in 2:56 to get to the third-place bout. The West Covina, Calif., native squared off with Smith again and recorded a sudden victory.
- Starkey capped the day with a record of 4-2, earning two sudden victories and a pin of Hastings’ Mike Ganny in 4:41 to get the third-place match. That’s where Starkey fell 13-6 to University of Nebraska-Kearney’s Colton Johnson.
- A total of eight Bulldogs competed on the day at the Quality Hotel Open with five wrestlers grabbing at least one victory. On the day Concordia grapplers totaled 11 victories, three by falls. Stepanek, Brandon Starkey and Ayala each recorded one pin apiece.
- Junior Alex Stepanek (14-15), also a St. Paul, Neb., native, is tied with Ayala and Brandon Starkey for the most wins for Concorida. Stepanek sandwiched a pin of Bethany’s (Kan.) Steven Ortiz (4:32) between losses to a pair of grapplers from Hastings to close his day at 1-2 at the Quality Hotel Open. However, he was one of four Bulldogs to record a win in the dual versus Briar Cliff. Stepanek came away with a 7-2 decision over the Chargers’ Devin DeRocher. Stepanek’s six pins top Concordia.
- Ayala and Brandon and Austin Starkey were the remaining three Bulldogs to capture victories in the dual loss to Briar Cliff. Brandon won 7-2 over Aaron Largey at 157, Austin claimed a 13-11 overtime victory over Dillon Freeman at 165 and Ayala eked out a 6-4 decision over Brian Ervin.
- Vote and the Bulldogs now look forward to just one event this week. Northwestern will visit Seward on Thursday for another GPAC dual. The Red Raiders are 0-6 overall and 0-1 in conference duals this season. Northwestern fell 29-21 at Briar Cliff on Nov. 13.
- Even with a winless mark in duals, the Red Raiders landed just outside the top 20 in the Jan. 9 NAIA wrestling coaches’ poll as they were listed first among the “others receiving votes.” Northwestern has standout individuals in seventh-ranked Zach Fishman at 165 and No. 13 Jerry Mayo III at 133. Fishman piled up 30 wins (14 by falls) and qualified for nationals last season while wrestling at 149.
- Here are the projected lineups for both teams at Thursday’s dual:
Concordia: 125 – open; 133 – open; 141 – Alex Stepanek; 149 – Martin Dobler; 157 – Austin Starkey / Brandon Starkey; 165 – Peter Ovens; 174 – Kale Hintz / Nick Sheppard; 184 – Kale Hintz / Nick Sheppard; 197 – Cameron Bruce; Hwt – Frank Ayala.
Northwestern: 125 – Lupe Florez; 133 – Jerry Mayo; 141 – Nathan Manfull; 149 – Jon Grevengoed; 157 – John Lynch; 165 – Zach Fishman; 174 – Aaron Ruskell; 184 – Luis Rivera; 197 – Forrest Marx; Hwt – George Portillo.
- The Bulldogs were unable to put an end to their slide despite two home games last week. Concordia dropped an 84-75 decision to Hastings on Jan. 9 to begin the week before being blown out, 86-64 by Morningside on Jan. 12. The Bulldogs slumped to a record of 5-12 overall and 2-8 in GPAC play.
- Head coach Marty Kohlwey’s squad enters an important week as it tries to pull things together to get back into the GPAC’s top eight, which is necessary to qualify for the conference tournament in late February. The Bulldogs sit two games back of eighth-place Dakota Wesleyan, a team they will face on Sunday afternoon in Mitchell, S.D. Last season Concordia garnered the No. 8 seed in the GPAC Tournament where it lost 78-57 to top-seeded Dordt.
- Senior forward Brent Houchin tied a career high in Saturday’s loss with 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field. The Bruning, Neb., native also scored 19 points on Jan. 1, 2011, against Friends (Kan.) in an 86-74 win. Houchin drained 8 of 10 free throws in the New Year’s day affair. With the 19 points in the Jan. 12 game, he now has exactly 500 points for his career and is averaging a career best 7.9 points this season.
- Senior post Porter Birtell led the Bulldogs with a combined 28 points last week, including a game high 17 points on Jan. 9 against Hastings. Birtell is the team’s leading scorer on the season at 14.8 points per game and is now up to 1,369 career points in 98 games. The Madison, Neb., native has scored in double figures in 16 of 17 games on the season with his only single-digit scoring output being a nine-point effort against Mount Mercy (Iowa) on Dec. 29. His 64.7 percent shooting percentage this season ranks third in all of NAIA Division II. Birtell has been one of the nation’s most efficient inside scorers over the last four years with a career field goal percentage of 61.6.
- Freshman wing Max Wegener continued his solid production last week. He posted a line of 12 points (4-for-6 shooting) and seven rebounds against Hastings and then followed that performance with six points, five rebounds and two blocks versus Morningside. Over his last four contests, the Wildwood, Mo., native has averaged 18.8 minutes, 9.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He recorded a career high 13 points in a loss to No. 10 Northwestern on Jan. 2.
- During its current 11-game losing streak, Concordia has played five ranked opponents and one listed in the “others receiving votes” category. The Bulldogs have dropped six of those 11 games by 10 points or less and one in overtime versus Midland.
- Sophomore guard Joey Werning enjoyed perhaps the best game of his career statistically against Morningside. The Lincoln native posted a career best nine points and added five rebounds, three assists, two steals and committed only one turnover in 23 minutes of action. Werning has come off the bench in all 17 games this season to serve the role of backup point guard. He is averaging 2.5 points and 1.9 assists per contest.
- Junior guard Adam Vogt has missed the last three games with a foot injury but hopes to return to the lineup in the near future. Vogt, who hails from Syracuse, Neb., is averaging 10.9 points in 14 games (11 starts) this season. He is shooting 33.3 percent (25-for-75) from 3-point range.
- Like the women, the men also begin a stretch of three-consecutive conference road games when they travel to Midland on Wednesday for an 8 p.m. game. The Warriors are 11-8 overall and sit in sixth place in the conference with a 6-5 league mark. Midland defeated Concordia 88-81 in overtime in Seward on Nov. 28.
- Kohlwey’s Bulldogs will conclude the week on Sunday when they make the trek to Mitchell, S.D., for a 4 p.m. tip off. Host Dakota Wesleyan enters the week with a record of 9-11 overall and 4-7 in conference games. The Tigers picked up a 75-65 win in Walz Arena on Dec. 8.
15 January 2013
Senior Brandon Starkey (top) is the male Bulldog Athlete of the Week.