Concordia-Nebraska hosts 62nd annual CIT Friday and Saturday

Concordia-Nebraska hosts 62nd annual CIT Friday and Saturday

SEWARD, Neb. – The 62nd annual Concordia Invitational Tournament will get underway Friday when the first of the tournament’s eight games tips off. Both Bulldog squads are hoping to defend the CIT titles they captured at Concordia-Chicago in last season’s event.

The Concordia-Nebraska women enter CIT ranked No. 2 in NAIA Division II thanks to a mark of 19-2 overall. They sit atop the GPAC standings at 12-2 in conference games. The Bulldog men own a record of 5-15 overall with a 2-12 mark in GPAC action.

Both Bulldog basketball programs lead the way in terms of all time championships at CIT. The men have captured 24 titles, eight more than the next most, 16, by Concordia-St. Louis. The Bulldog men have been especially dominant in recent seasons with 22 CIT titles since 1983. Concordia-Nebraska’s women have won 23 titles out of the 39 years in which the event has been held for the women. Concordia-St. Paul comes in next with eight CIT championships.

Last season the Bulldog women defeated Concordia-Wisconsin 98-58 and then knocked off Concordia-Ann Arbor 72-68 on the way to the 2012 CIT title. The Bulldog men followed suit with a 78-74 victory over Concordia-Ann Arbor and then a 69-67 win over Concordia-Wisconsin in the CIT championship game.

The very first CIT, held in 1951, featured only a men’s tournament. Concordia-St. Louis won the title that year led by head coach Eldon Pederson. The women’s CIT began in 1973 when Concordia-St. Paul captured the championship under head coach Carol Roose.

● 2013 CIT schedule

Friday, Jan. 25

  • 1 p.m. - Wisconsin vs. Ann Arbor (women)
  • 3 p.m. - Wisconsin vs. Ann Arbor (men)
  • 6 p.m. - Nebraska vs. Chicago (women)
  • 8 p.m. - Nebraska vs. Chicago (men)

Saturday, Jan. 26

  • Noon - Women's consolation game
  • 2 p.m. - Men's consolation game
  • 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. - All-Concordia Alumni Reception in the Walz fieldhouse.
  • 5 p.m. - Women's championship game
  • 7 p.m. - Men's championship game

● What the Bulldogs say about CIT

Head women’s basketball coach Drew Olson: “CIT is an awesome event. The atmosphere is unmatched. Fans travel for miles to be there and the bands from all four schools are there. It’s just what college athletics should be all the time. There is just this automatic healthy, rivalry when you bring these Concordia schools together. Every year it is a fantastic tournament that the teams will always remember.”

Head men’s basketball coach Marty Kohlwey: “CIT is an opportunity for the students at the four schools to build a relationship with each other through competition and fellowship. Many of the people you meet or play against will be your coworkers in the future. It also brings together the administration, faculty and staff of the institutions for a kind of celebration of what the word Concordia really means.”

Senior guard Katie Rich: “It’s pretty special to have all of the Concordias here. We have a breakfast together and we all get dressed up and have the chance to meet with everyone from all the other Concordias. One of the years we actually sang the ‘Jude Doxology’ after one of the games. It really brings all of the Concordias together knowing that we are playing basketball, but it’s all to glorify God.”

Senior post Porter Birtell on last season’s CIT championship: “It was amazing. We hadn’t won one since I had been here. People just went nuts after we won. It was great.”

● Important links

Official tournament statistics – MEN | WOMEN

CIT History | CIT webpage | Fan/Media Info

Participating school athletics websites:

Concordia-Nebraska | Concordia-Ann Arbor | Concordia-Chicago | Concordia-Wisconsin

● Ticket prices
-All-weekend tournament pass: $20
-One-day pass: $12
-One-session pass: $7
-Children six and under are free

Sizing up the competition


Concordia-Ann Arbor
Record: 10-11 overall; 9-6 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference
Head coach: Matt Distelrath (first season)
Statistical Leaders:

  • Scoring: John Schaeffer – 15.0 ppg
  • Rebounding: Aaron Olsen – 5.1 rpg
  • Assists: Andrew Patrick – 3.2 apg

About the Cardinals: Concordia-Ann Arbor flashed its potential when it upset then eighth-ranked Davenport (Mich.) 66-63 on Jan. 9. The Cardinals sit in fifth place in the WHAC, 2.5 games behind rival and first-place Davenport. Behind sharpshooting guards John Schaeffer (15.0 ppg, 40.0 3-point percentage) and Josh Fugate (13.0 ppg, 35.1 3-point percentage), Concordia-Ann Arbor ranks 26th in NAIA Division II in 3-point field goal percentage (36.9). First-year coach Matt Distelrath’s squad averages 75.1 points and allows 73.3 points per game. It is coming off back-to-back conference losses after falling to Madonna (Mich.) and Aquinas (Mich.). The Cardinals own two CIT titles in their history. They came in back-to-back years (2006-07). At last season’s CIT, CUAA was defeated in its first game by the Bulldogs prior to an 80-74 overtime victory over Concordia-Chicago in the consolation game.

Record: 2-16 overall; 2-9 Northern Athletics Conference
Head coach: Tyler Jones (fifth season)
Statistical Leaders:

  • Scoring: Khirey Floyd – 10.1 ppg
  • Rebounding: Marcus Elston – 6.8 rpg
  • Assists: Brandon Johnson – 2.3 apg

About the Cougars: While Concordia-Chicago owns only two wins on the season (Maranatha Baptist, Rockford), it pushed NAC division-leading Aurora (Ill.) to the wire on the road on Wednesday before falling 78-75. The Cougars have been outscored by an average of 74.2 to 61.8 on the season. They possess two double-figure scorers in 6-foot-4 senior wing Khirey Floyd (10.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and 6-foot-4 junior forward Marcus Elston (10.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg). With no player taller than 6-foot-5, Concordia-Chicago relies on the quickness of its guards. The Cougars have a common opponent with the Bulldogs having lost 79-50 to Nebraska Wesleyan on Nov. 16. CUC has the third most titles in CIT history with 14 with its most recent championship coming in 2011. The Cougars went 0-2 at last season’s event.

Record: 11-7 overall; 8-3 Northern Athletics Conference
Head coach: Shawn Cassidy (sixth season)
Statistical Leaders:

  • Scoring: Mark Pace – 14.2 ppg
  • Rebounding: Steve Zielinski – 7.2 rpg
  • Assists: Bryan Donaldson – 2.7 apg

About the Falcons: Concordia-Wisconsin will enter Friday’s CIT matchup with Concordia-Ann Arbor on a high after a earning a 79-69 victory over NAC first place Lakeland (Wis.) on Wednesday. The Falcons, winners of three of their last four, are now just one game behind Lakeland for the division lead. Leading scorer Mark Pace, a 6-foot-4 senior from Milwaukee, came up big in the victory over Lakeland with most of his 16 points coming down the stretch. CUW also owns a 79-63 win on Jan. 2 over Concordia-Chicago. On the season, the Falcons average 69.3 points while giving up 66.5. CUW has two CIT championships in its history (2008 and 2010). Last season the Falcons squeaked by Concordia-Chicago to advance to the CIT title game, where they fell 69-67 to the Bulldogs.


Concordia-Ann Arbor
Record: 17-4 overall; 14-1 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference
Head coach: Andrea Gorski (fifth season)
Statistical Leaders:

  • Scoring: Abbey Hengesbach – 18.9 ppg
  • Rebounding: Hannah Sabol – 10.1 rpg
  • Assists: Hengesbach – 4.2 apg

About the Cardinals: Concordia-Ann Arbor enters CIT ranked No. 10 in NAIA Division II and in first place in the WHAC. The Cardinals have appeared in the national tournament in each of the past two years and are a virtual lock to get there again this March. They boast one of the nation’s top players in 5-foot-8 sophomore guard Abbey Hengesbach, a transfer from rival Davenport (Mich.) who averages 18.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. Senior Hannah Sabol (14.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg) is the star in the post while Marion Rodriguez (12.3 ppg) teams with Hengesbach to form a terrific backcourt. The Cardinals advanced to last season’s CIT championship game where they were defeated 72-68 by the Bulldogs. Concordia-Ann Arbor’s only CIT title came in 2011 when Kortni Elsworth garnered MVP honors.

Record: 7-11 overall; 7-5 Northern Athletics Conference
Head coach: Joshua Steffen (fifth season)
Statistical Leaders:

  • Scoring: Jessica Genke – 16.9 ppg
  • Rebounding: Genke – 9.0 rpg
  • Assists: Krystyna Rickett – 3.3 apg

About the Cougars: After beginning the season at 2-11, Concordia-Chicago has found its rhythm with five-consecutive victories – all within NCAA Division III NAC play. The Cougars have moved up to third place in their division opposite Concordia-Wisconsin, a squad Concordia-Chicago was defeated by, 66-59 on Dec. 1. The Cougars have struggled offensively with a scoring average of 57.8 points per game on 37.3 percent shooting. However, they have held opponents to just 36.1 percent from the field. Star junior forward Jessica Genke has exploded during the Cougars’ five-game win streak, averaging 25.6 points during that stretch with two 30-point scoring outbursts. CUC went 0-2 while hosting last year’s CIT. The Cougars have won four CIT titles with their last one coming in 1986.

Record: 13-5 overall; 11-2 Northern Athletics Conference
Head coach: Stacey Brunner-Jones (ninth season)
Statistical Leaders:

  • Scoring: Katie Luethe – 12.9 ppg
  • Rebounding: Luethe – 5.7 rpg
  • Assists: Brittany Zietlow – 4.7 apg

About the Falcons: Concordia-Wisconsin began its trek to Seward late on Wednesday night after earning a 64-46 victory on Tuesday over MSOE. The Falcons enter CIT red hot with wins in seven-straight games. At 11-2 in the NCAA Division III NAC, CUW leads its division by one game over Alverno (9-2). The Falcons average 61.9 points while allowing 52.5 points per game. Their top statistical performer has been 5-foot-9 forward Katie Luethe, a junior from Oshkosh, Wis. She leads the team in scoring, rebounding and steals. The Falcons, who have three CIT championships in their history, are looking for their first CIT title since 2007. CUW already owns a 66-59 road win over conference rival Concordia-Chicago, the same team the Falcons cruised past, 72-42, in last season’s CIT consolation game.

● Quick facts about competing schools

Concordia University, Nebraska
Athletics Website:
Athletics Twitter: @cunebulldogs
All-Time CIT Titles – Men: 24; Women: 23
Founded: 1894
Location: Seward, Neb.
Enrollment: 2,200
Nickname: Bulldogs
School Colors: Navy and White
Home Arena: Walz Human Performance Complex
President: Rev. Dr. Brian Friedrich
Director of Athletics: Devin Smith
Sports Information Director: Jake Knabel
Head Men’s Basketball Coach: Marty Kohlwey
Head Women’s Basketball Coach: Drew Olson
Conference: Great Plains Athletic Conference
Affiliation: NAIA

Concordia University Ann Arbor
Athletics Website:
Athletics Twitter: @CUAACardinals
All-Time CIT Titles – Men: 2; Women: 1
Founded: 1963
Location: Ann Arbor, Mich.
Enrollment: 750
Nickname: Cardinals
School Colors: Red, White and Black
Home Arena: Cardinal Field House
President: Randall W. Luecke
Athletics Director: Andrea Gorski
Sports Information Director: Zach Johnston
Head Men’s Basketball Coach: Matt Distelrath
Head Women’s Basketball Coach: Andrea Gorski
Conference: Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference
Affiliation: NAIA

Concordia University Chicago
Athletics Website:
Athletics Twitter: @CUChicagoSports
All-Time CIT Titles – Men: 14; Women: 4
Founded: 1864
Location: River Forest, Ill.
Enrollment: 5,134
Nickname: Cougars
School Colors: Maroon and Gold
Home Arena: Geiseman Gymnasium
President: Dr. John F. Johnson
Athletics Director: Pete Gnan
Sports Information Director: Jim Egan
Head Men’s Basketball Coach: Tyler Jones
Head Women’s Basketball Coach: Joshua Steffen
Conference: Northern Athletics Conference
Affiliation: NCAA Division III

Concordia University Wisconsin
Athletics Website:
Athletics Twitter: @CUWFalcons
All-Time CIT Titles – Men: 2; Women: 3
Founded: 1881
Location: Mequon, Wis.
Enrollment: 7,618
Nickname: Falcons
School Colors: Royal Blue and White
Home Arena: R. John Buuck Field House
President: Rev. Dr. Patrick T. Ferry
Athletics Director: Dr. Rob Barnhill
Sports Information Director: Rick Riehl
Head Men’s Basketball Coach: Shawn Cassidy
Head Women’s Basketball Coach: Stacey Brunner-Jones
Conference: Northern Athletics Conference
Affiliation: NCAA Division III

24 January 2013