Weekend in Bulldog athletics
Concordia Classic – Complete Schedule
Friday: Concordia (1-0) vs. McPherson (Kan.) (0-1), 8 p.m. - Live Webcast | Live Stats
Saturday: Concordia (1-0) vs. William Penn (Iowa) (1-0), 2 p.m. - Live Webcast | Live Stats
Outlook: The top-ranked Bulldogs welcome a pair of non-conference foes to Walz Arena for this weekend’s Concordia Classic. McPherson, Friday’s opponent, is 0-1 after a 77-66 loss at Haskell (Kan.) to open its season. The Bulldogs of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference finished the 2011-12 season with a record of 14-15. McPherson returns three starters, including sophomore guard Brittany Pittas, who averaged 11.7 points per game last season. William Penn, a member of the Midwest Collegiate Conference, is 1-0 after an 80-61 victory over Waldorf (Iowa) to begin the season. The Statesmen, who went 12-19 last season, feature returning Second Team All-American Orielle Thomas (14.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg).
Concordia looks to carry over its play from Monday’s 92-45 season-opening victory at York College. The Bulldogs got 18 points from Bailey Morris and 15 from Beth Kohmetscher as part of a balanced offensive attack. The Bulldogs defeated William Penn 86-70 on Nov. 11, 2011, as part of the Cattle Classic. Concordia went 13-1 last season against non-conference opponents. The Bulldogs last loss at home versus a non-conference foe came on Nov. 13, 2010 when Kansas Wesleyan topped Concordia 78-75.
York College Tip Off Classic (all games played at the Freeman Center in York, Neb.)
Friday: Concordia at York (1-0), 7:30 p.m. - Live Webcast | Live Stats
Saturday: Concordia vs. Bellevue (0-1), 3 p.m. - Live Webcast
Outlook: Head coach Marty Kohlwey will lead Concordia to York for his first two games as Bulldog head coach. The Bulldogs begin with a tough slate that includes the weekend host York College on Friday and Bellevue on Saturday afternoon. The up-tempo York Panthers began their season with a 97-75 victory over Grace on Monday night. York’s Desmond Strickland (11.9 ppg in 11-12) poured in 23 points thanks to 6-for-10 shooting from beyond the arc. The Panthers, a member of the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference, finished with a mark of 16-16 last season. Concordia then faces a stiff test against 13th-ranked Bellevue on Saturday. The Bruins, also from the MCAC, lost their season opener 83-66 in an early-season showdown with No. 3 Dordt on Tuesday. Bellevue finished last season at 28-6 overall and ranked No. 8 in the coaches’ poll. The Bruins feature senior guard Darius Robinson, a transfer from NCAA Division II University of Mary, who piled up 23 points in Tuesday’s loss.
The Bulldogs defeated both Kansas Wesleyan (90-80) and York (91-66) in last year’s York Classic to begin the season. Concordia also topped York 93-88 in overtime last Dec. 16. The Bulldogs last played Bellevue on Dec. 16, 2010, when the Bruins won 78-51.
Cross Country at GPAC Championships
Women: 10:45 a.m.; Men: 11:30 a.m., Saturday, McCook Lake, S.D.
Outlook: Head coach Kregg Einspahr’s nationally-ranked cross country programs have historically been a fixture near the top of the GPAC, and this year figures to be no different. While the Dordt women and Morningside men may be the favorites to capture GPAC team titles, the Bulldogs have a realistic shot to claim their first women’s conference championship since 2005 and first men’s title since 2009. Concordia senior Sarah Kortze, who has been the top runner in the GPAC on the women’s side, clocked in at 17:48 in the 5K to top all GPAC competitors at the same McCook Lake course back on Oct. 6 at the Briar Cliff Invite.
With Kortze and senior Jena Schwalenberg out front for the women and sophomore Ben Sievert and junior Hayden Hohnholt leading the pack for the men, the Bulldogs have the opportunity to do something special. “I think both our teams have the ability to compete for the GPAC team championship and finish among the top three teams for both men and women,” Einspahr said. “Sarah Kortze, Jena Schwalenberg, Ben Sievert, and Hayden Hohnholt have all had great seasons to date. They are healthy and training very well right now. I would expect all of them to be in the race for the individual championship on Saturday.” The Bulldog women hope to qualify for the National Championships for the 18th time in the last 19 years, while the men are gunning for their 11th appearance in the past 12 years. The National Championships will be held Nov. 17 in Vancouver, Wash.
Football: Concordia (5-4, 4-3 GPAC) at No. 4 Morningside (8-0, 7-0 GPAC)
1 p.m., Saturday, Sioux City, Iowa, Elwood Olsen Stadium
Outlook: At 6-foot-3, Concordia junior Darnell Woods brings rare size to the safety position, a spot he has thrived in since moving from cornerback early in the season. The Phoenix, Ariz., native leads the Bulldogs with four interceptions, while adding 47 tackles and four pass break ups. Woods is a key part of an improving defense that held the Midland offense to only 118 total yards last week. Woods and the Concordia secondary will be tested often by Morningside senior quarterback Joel Nixon, who is the NAIA’s most efficient passer with a rating of 179.6. He leads the GPAC in virtually every major passing category including yards (2,167), touchdowns (29) and completion percentage (61.7).
The Bulldogs will have to play a nearly flawless game to have a chance to hang with the potent Mustangs, who have won every game this season by at least 25 points. Morningside ranks fifth in the NAIA in total defense (240.1 ypg), No. 1 in scoring defense (7.1 ppg) and sixth in total offense (473.9 ypg). Concordia will need plenty of big plays from its sophomore quarterback Von Thomas in order to end an eight-game losing streak to the Mustangs. Thomas leads all GPAC quarterbacks with 410 rushing yards (ninth among all GPAC rushers) and is the Bulldogs’ most reliable weapon offensively. One of Concordia’s few advantages on paper comes in the kicking game. Senior kicker Kenny Zoeller leads the NAIA with 15 made field goals on the season.
Volleyball: Northwestern (20-9, 9-6 GPAC) at Concordia (10-19, 4-11 GPAC), 6 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: The Bulldogs, who are locked into the eighth seed for the GPAC Championships (set to begin Nov. 6), hope to end a six-match conference losing streak by topping the Red Raiders on Senior Day in the 2012 home finale. Concordia also looks to avenge a tight (25-23, 25-23, 25-23) loss at Northwestern on Sept. 14. The Red Raiders nearly became the first GPAC team to knock off No. 5 Hastings when they took the Broncos to five sets on Oct. 27. Northwestern boasts a solid all-around squad that ranks first in the GPAC in blocks per set (2.7), second in service aces per set (1.8) and third in hitting percentage (.234). The Red Raiders’ Alexis Bart is the league leader in digs per set at 4.7. The Bulldogs will counter with one of league’s top attackers in Amanda Kisker, who will be playing her final match at Walz Arena. Kisker, a Lincoln native, has 1,089 career kills and is third in the GPAC with 3.4 kills per set. Sophomore defensive specialist Carli Smith is second in the conference with 4.5 digs per set.
Kisker is one of four seniors who will be recognized prior to Saturday’s match. She will be joined by Angela Bruhn (Creston, Neb.), Kim Miller (Mason City, Iowa) and Lindsea Vaudt (Kalispell, Mont.) among Bulldogs making their last appearances on the Walz Arena court.
2 November 2012
Amanda Kisker (No. 30) will play her final home match in a Bulldog uniform on Saturday. The senior from Lincoln has amassed 1,100 kills and 766 digs in her collegiate volleyball career.