Bulldog Weekly Report (March 3)

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 3, 2020 in Athletic Announcements

Bulldog Athletic Association Athletes of the Week

Male: Nick Little, Baseball

A junior from Lithia, Fla., Nick Little whirled the program’s first no-hitter since 1979 while striking out 10 hitters in a seven-inning complete game last week. Little has allowed just one earned run over 13.1 innings this season (21 strikeouts).

Female: Colby Duvel, Basketball

A senior from Max, Neb., Colby Duvel helped lead the second-ranked Bulldogs to GPAC quarterfinal and semifinal wins. For the week, Duvel totaled a combined 22 points, 14 rebounds and four steals. She posted a double-double in the win over Midland.

2019-20 BAAM Athletes of the Week
Feb. 25 – Wyatt Eriksen (shooting sports) / Rachel Battershell (track & field)
Feb. 18 – Brevin Sloup (basketball) / Philly Lammers (basketball)
Feb. 11 – Evan Bohman (baseball) / Philly Lammers (basketball)
Feb. 4 – Tanner Farmer (wrestling) / Allie Brooks (track & field)
Jan. 28 – Tanner Shuck (basketball) / Adrianna Shaw (track & field)
Jan. 21 – Tanner Farmer (wrestling) / Rachel Battershell (track & field)
Jan. 14 – Tanner Shuck (basketball) / Riley Sibbel (basketball)
Dec. 17 – Gavin DeHaai (track & field) / Kennedy Mogul (track & field)
Dec. 10 – Issiah Burks (wrestling) / Emmie Noyd (volleyball)
Dec. 3 – Mario Ybarra (wrestling) / Kylahn Heritage (cross country)
Nov. 19 – Carter Kent (basketball) / Kara Stark (volleyball)
Nov. 12 – Mario Ybarra (wrestling) / Kylahn Heritage (cross country)
Nov. 5 – Carter Kent (basketball) / Delani Fahey (basketball)
Oct. 29 – Brevin Sloup (basketball) / Kylahn Heritage (cross country)
Oct. 22 – Camryn Opfer (volleyball)
Oct. 15 – Lane Napier (football) / Marissa Hoerman (volleyball)
Oct. 8 – Caleb Goldsmith (soccer) / Tara Callahan (volleyball)
Oct. 1 – AJ Jenkins (football) / Rebekah Hinrichs (cross country)
Sept. 24 – Derek Tachovsky (football) / Kendra Placke (golf)
Sept. 17 – Moises Jacobo (soccer) / Kara Stark (volleyball)
Sept. 10 – Carlos Orquiz (soccer) / Amie Martin (cross country)
Sept. 3 – Eduardo Alba (soccer) / Emmie Noyd (volleyball)

2019-20 BAAM Athletes of the Month
January – Rachel Battershell (track & field) / Tanner Shuck (basketball)
December – Emmie Noyd (volleyball) / Mario Ybarra (wrestling)
November – Carter Kent (basketball) / Kara Stark (volleyball)
October – Tara Callahan (volleyball) / Lane Napier (football)
September – Derek Tachovsky (football) / Emmie Noyd (volleyball)

News and notes:

All-GPAC honors roll in: This is the time of year for winter All-GPAC announcements. The conference revealed All-GPAC accolades in the sports of wrestling and track and field last week. More details can be found by clicking the links below. Both Matt Beisel (women’s indoor track) and Levi Calhoun (wrestling) were named GPAC Coaches of the Year. Other major awards went to Rachel Battershell (GPAC Women’s Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year) and Tanner Farmer (GPAC Wrestler of the Year).
-Track & Field All-GPAC
-Wrestling All-GPAC

Faith-filled Battershell not bound by any limits: Learn more about GPAC Women’s Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year Rachel Battershell and you’ll find her to be just as impressive personally as she is on the track. The sophomore from Wheatland, Wyo., is driven by her faith in God. Says Battershell, “I want to show others what God has done in my life. That’s a huge motivator for me.” Battershell now gets set to run at the NAIA indoor national championship meet this week. For more on the GPAC champion and All-American, click HERE.

Cheer and dance squads compete at regional qualifier: Head coach Mandi Maser’s cheer and dance squads have concluded their 2020 competition seasons, which culminated last week with the NAIA Northwest Regional Cheer and Dance Qualifier hosted by Morningside in Sioux City, Iowa. The results were especially encouraging for Bulldog dance, which placed fourth out of 10 teams with a score of 64.48. Meanwhile, Concordia placed sixth out of seven teams in cheer with a score of 54.48. The Bulldogs were not among those announced as NAIA national qualifiers on Sunday. However, Maser has her teams pointed in the right direction. She was named the 2020 GPAC Cheer Coach of the Year while freshman Katie Anderson garnered honorable mention all-conference accolades for dance.

Shooting sports looks ahead to Doane Invite: Head coach Scott Moniot’s shooting sports squad rifled through the bulk of its 2019-20 schedule in the fall, but action has begun to heat up. The Bulldogs competed the weekend of Feb. 22-23 at the University of Missouri Tundra Shootout. One of the major highlights was junior Wyatt Eriksen’s perfect 100/100 in trap. More details on that shoot can be found HERE. Concordia now looks forward to the Doane University Tiger Invitational this Saturday and Sunday in Lincoln. The event will serve as a precursor to the ACUI National Championships coming up later in March.

Beisel, Battershell and Shaw honored by USTFCCCA: As announced on Feb. 28 by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), three members of the Concordia track and field program were honored with Midwest Region awards. The organization named Matt Beisel the Coach of the Year, Rachel Battershell the Women’s Track Athlete of the Year and Addie Shaw the Women’s Field Athlete of the Year for the Midwest Region. A day earlier, the conference also tabbed Beisel as the GPAC Women’s Indoor Coach of the Year and Battershell as the GPAC Women’s Indoor Athlete of the Year. More details on the USTFCCCA honors can be found HERE.

Bulldog Coaches Show airs every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. CT: The Bulldog Coaches Show is underway in its fourth year of existence. The show airs live for a half hour every Thursday beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT on KTMX-FM 104.9 Max Country. The weekly feature can also be heard live via 104.9 Max Country’s website or by downloading the Max Country app. Throughout the 2018-19 season, Bulldog football, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball contests will be aired live on Max Country. Tyler Cavalli serves as the host of the coaches’ show as well as the play-by-play voice for football and basketball. Frank Greene is in his fourth season calling Concordia volleyball.

Concordia Sports Network: Live webcasts for most home varsity contests can be accessed by visiting https://www.cune.edu/athletics/watch-bulldogs at game time. Beginning in 2019-20, Concordia Athletics is partnering with PrestoSports for live video and statistical streaming. For more details on this change, click HERE. Check team schedules/results pages for webcast dates. Scrimmages, exhibitions and junior varsity events are not broadcasted.

Men’s Basketball

·        The season carries on into March for the Bulldogs, who are preparing to play in tonight (March 3)’s GPAC tournament championship game at 11th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan. Concordia put itself in that position with postseason home wins over fifth-seeded Northwestern, 74-63, in the quarterfinals and eighth-seeded Hastings, 71-61, in the semifinals. Head coach Ben Limback’s squad, which tied for fourth in the GPAC regular-season standings, sits at 23-9 overall. For more information on Bulldog men’s basketball, click HERE.

·        This 2019-20 Concordia team is accomplishing many things that had not happened for the program in several years. By earning a GPAC tournament quarterfinal home game, the Bulldogs hosted a postseason contest for the first time since 2011. They also earned their first postseason win since 2009 and have advanced to the GPAC title game for the first time since 2005. In addition, the 23 victories are the most for the program since the 2004-05 squad set a school record with 32.

·        This will mark Concordia’s fourth appearance in a conference tournament final since the GPAC’s first season in 2000-01. In previous GPAC championship games, the Bulldogs defeated Sioux Falls, 62-58, in 2005, defeated Dordt, 90-82 (OT), in 2003 and lost at Northwestern, 91-83, in 2001. Grant Schmidt was the head coach for each of those games. Schmidt also led the program to three NIAC regular-season titles and two NIAC postseason championships during a successful 23-year tenure. Drew Olson played in both the 2001 and 2003 GPAC title games.

·        After a run of shootout victories to close the regular season, Concordia got it done on the defensive end in the GPAC quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. The Bulldogs held Northwestern to 41.2 percent shooting and limited Hastings to 40.0 percent shooting. Incredibly, the Red Raiders and Broncos combined to go just 5-for-34 from 3-point range. Meanwhile, Concordia shot 25-for-63 from beyond the arc within the comfort of Walz Arena. On the season, the Bulldogs have outnumbered their opponents in 3-point field goals, 358 to 230.

·        Northwestern and Hastings were two of the four conference rivals that Concordia earned regular-season sweeps over this season. The Bulldogs have really had the Broncos’ number, going 9-0 against Hastings over the past four seasons. Concordia is now a combined 10-0 this winter versus Hastings, Jamestown, Midland and Northwestern. The trick now will be to end a seven-game series losing streak against Dakota Wesleyan.

·        Sophomore guard Justin Wiersema has supplied a major lift during the active six-game win streak. The native of Loveland, Colo., tallied a career high 22 points in the quarterfinal win over Northwestern. He also contributed eight points, five rebounds and three steals versus Hastings. Over the last six games, Wiersema has averaged 16.7 points per game while becoming a more consistent threat. On the season, Wiersema averaged 10.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists and is an efficient scorer at 53.7 percent from the field.

·        The postseason run has continued the collegiate careers of seniors, including starters Chuol Biel, Tanner Shuck and Brevin Sloup. Shuck has moved up to No. 8 on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,542 career points. He nailed five treys and posted a game high 17 points in the GPAC semifinals. Meanwhile, Sloup ranks 18th in school history with 1,224 career points. In just two seasons as a Bulldog, Biel has piled up 89 blocked shots (ninth most in program history). Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Shuck and Sloup have helped the program to a combined record of 76-48.

·        At this point, it’s not certain whether Concordia would or would not be an at-large national tournament qualifier should it happen to fall in the GPAC tournament title game. In last week’s NAIA Division II poll, the Bulldogs appeared fourth among “receiving votes” teams. At-large bids are determined using the final coaches’ poll that will be released on Wednesday. Last season the final at-large bid was awarded to a team that was ranked 23rd in the final poll.

·        An automatic bid to nationals will be on the line tonight when Concordia and second-seeded Dakota Wesleyan (23-8) meet at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs will look for redemption after suffering two ugly losses in the regular season at the hands of the Tigers. Concordia last won at the Corn Palace in February 2017.

Women’s Basketball

·        The second-ranked Bulldogs have made their annual run to the GPAC tournament final. While continuing a run of dominance at home, Concordia earned GPAC postseason wins over Midland, 95-46, in the quarterfinals and over No. 12 Dordt, 94-79, in the semifinals. The Bulldogs have won each of their last 11 GPAC tournament games. They beat Midland and Dordt three times this season. Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad is now 30-2 overall. For more information on Concordia women’s basketball, click HERE.

·        There are plenty of markers of the incredible success enjoyed by the Bulldogs in recent years. Once again, Concordia has reached the 30-win mark, an accomplishment achieved by the program eight times, including four-straight years. Olson has presided over six of those 30-win campaigns. The school record of 36 wins in a season is shared by the 2018-19 and 2002-03 squads. Over the past four years, the Bulldogs have piled up a total of 135 victories for an average of 33.8 per season.

·        Since the formation of the GPAC (first season in 2000-01), Concordia women’s basketball has appeared in the conference tournament championship game seven times (excluding this year’s contest). In those seven appearances, the Bulldogs have gone 6-1 with three victories over Dakota Wesleyan and three over Morningside. DWU and Morningside had been the only two programs Concordia had faced in the title game, until this season. Tonight (March 3)’s game will mark the fifth time the Bulldogs have hosted the GPAC final. They are 4-0 in the previous four instances.

·        Home losses happen once in a blue moon these days for Concordia. The four-year seniors are now a combined 62-1 when playing inside Walz Arena. Over the past four seasons, the Bulldogs have produced home records of 17-0 in 2016-17, 15-0 in 2017-18, 15-1 in 2018-19 and 15-0 in 2019-20. Few teams have even given Concordia a scare at home this season. In their 15 games at Walz, the Bulldogs have outscored their opponents, on average, 97.3 to 57.3, and have outshot their foes, 48.2 to 33.6 percent.

·        Senior Philly Lammers has been a constant in the program’s success the past four years. By scoring 10 points versus Midland and 17 against Dordt, Lammers moved her career total to 1,998. She’s on the cusp of joining Bailey Morris (2,054 career points) as the only two players in program history to reach 2,000 career points. In other categories, Lammers sports school all-time rankings of second in blocked shots (178), third in rebounds (1,017) and fourth in steals (352). She is a three-time NAIA All-American.

·        The victory over Dordt marked Concordia’s 13th this season over a nationally-ranked opponent. According to Massey Ratings, the Bulldogs have played the fourth most challenging schedule of all NAIA women’s basketball teams. Based on ratings at the time games were played, Concordia possesses top 25 wins over No. 2 Southeastern (Fla.), No. 2 Hastings, No. 6/9/12 Dordt (three times), No. 7 Morningside (twice), No. 9 St. Francis (Ill.), No. 12 Sterling (Kan.), No. 12/13 Dakota Wesleyan (twice) and No. 12/17 Northwestern (twice).

·        Sophomore Mackenzie Koepke has provided a scoring boost in the conference tournament. She put up a career high 19 points while making 4-of-7 3-point attempts versus Midland. She then added 15 points against Dordt. Other noteworthy performances in the semifinals came from Grace Barry (17 points and nine assists) and Colby Duvel (14 points and 10 rebounds). Duvel posted the second double-double of her career.

·        No matter what happens in the GPAC championship game, the Bulldogs are basically assured of being a No. 1 seed. Concordia will make the 19th national tournament appearance in program history – and ninth in a row. The Bulldogs have advanced to at least the national semifinals three-straight years, including national title game appearances in each of the past two seasons. Olson has taken teams to at least the national semifinals in 2012, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Olson will be making his 12th national tournament appearance as head coach.

·        Tonight’s GPAC championship game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT from Walz Arena. Fourth-ranked Hastings (30-2) will serve as the opponent. The two sides were neck-and-neck at the top of the GPAC standings all season. The two regular-season matchups were decided by seven points with the home team winning in both instances. When national tournament bids are announced on Wednesday, the GPAC figures to garner at least five of them.

Wrestling

·        The action has been put on hold since 12 individuals represented the 16th-ranked Bulldogs at the 2020 GPAC Wrestling Championships hosted by Morningside in Sioux City, Iowa, Feb. 21-22. All 12 contributed as Concordia racked up 163.5 team points and won the conference tournament championship. That result made for a clean sweep of GPAC regular-season and postseason championships for second-year head coach Levi Calhoun’s squad. Now the Bulldogs prepare for this week’s national tournament. For more information on Concordia wrestling, click HERE.

·        By GPAC tournament’s end, Concordia had chewed up seven of the GPAC’s 19 automatic bids to nationals. The following Bulldogs automatically locked up spots at nationals: Mario Ybarra (125), Alberto Garcia (133), Chris Kimball (141), Gabe Crawford (157), Blake Castillo (174), Darrin Miller (184) and Tanner Farmer (285). It was then learned in the evening of Feb. 25 that Deandre Chery (174) had been chosen as an at-large national qualifier. Of the eight total national qualifiers, Chery, Garcia and Kimball own prior experience on the national stage. Garcia earned All-America honors in 2019 by placing fourth at the national championships.

·        There’s no doubt that Concordia has been the dominant program within the GPAC in recent years. Since the start of the 2014-15 campaign, the Bulldogs have combined for five GPAC regular-season titles and four NAIA North/GPAC postseason championships (six-year period). During that stretch, Concordia has gone 41-4 in conference duals. It has also had an impressive run of GPAC Wrestlers of the Year: Tanner Farmer (2019), Ceron Francisco (2017), Andrew Schulte (2016), Enrique Barajas (2015) and Emilio Rivera (2014).

·        The following competitors represented the Bulldogs at the GPAC championships (place finishes in parentheses): Mario Ybarra (first at 125), Alberto Garcia (second at 133), Chris Kimball (second at 141), Cameron Devers (fourth at 149), Gabe Crawford (first at 157), Issiah Burks (fifth at 165), Blake Castillo (third at 174), Deandre Chery (fourth at 174), Darrin Miller (second at 184), Jason Watkins (third at 184), Tanner Farmer (first at 285) and Demitrius Miller (fifth at 285). Ybarra, Crawford and Farmer are each first time GPAC champions.

·        All-GPAC teams were announced last week. Not only was Farmer voted the GPAC Wrestler of the Year, Calhoun was chosen as the GPAC Coach of the Year. Calhoun joins Dana Vote (2015, 2016) and Andrew Nicola (2017) as the third Concordia coach to collect the GPAC Coach of the Year award. All-conference honors also went to Crawford (first team), Ybarra (first team), Garcia (second team), Kimball (second team), Darrin Miller (second team), Chery (honorable mention) and Devers (honorable mention).

·        Farmer has been on a tear since joining the team for the second semester. He blazed to the 285-pound GPAC title with a 4-0 weekend that included two victories by pin and a win by major decision over NAIA 16th-ranked Phil Rasmussen of Morningside in the championship match. The former Nebraska Cornhusker offensive lineman is now 22-0 (nine pins) and ranked as the No. 2 heavyweight in the NAIA. Throughout the season, Farmer also won tournament titles at the Hastings Open, Missouri Valley Invite and Edmonds Open.

·        Due to fewer entries at 125, Ybarra automatically moved to the semifinals of the GPAC tournament. While taking the title, the Scottsbluff, Neb., native defeated Northwestern’s Sean Heeney and Briar Cliff’s Braedon Clopton. Meanwhile, Crawford was one of the surprises of the tournament. He was seeded fourth at 157 but managed to topple two opponents ranked above him: No. 1 Taygen Smith of Hastings and No. 3 Carsen Paynter of Jamestown.

·        With eight national qualifiers, the Bulldogs will take their largest group to nationals since they traveled nine wrestlers to the 2017 NAIA tournament. The school record for most national qualifiers in a season is 10 (by the 2014-15 and 2015-16 squads). The program has an active streak of six-straight national tournaments with at least one All-American. On Feb. 28, the NAIA released preliminary brackets for each weight class. To view those brackets, check out the official NAIA release HERE.

·        For the 240 wrestlers nationally who have qualified, the 2019-20 season will continue at the NAIA Wrestling National Championships to be staged at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kan., this Friday and Saturday. Over the previous six years, Concordia has turned in national finishes of 22nd (2014), 12th (2015), eighth (2016), 15th (2017), 22nd (2018) and 26th (2019). Information regarding the national tournament can be found on the NAIA website: https://www.naia.org/sports/mwrest/index.

Track & Field

·        The Bulldogs are in the midst of a break between the conference and national meets. The 2020 GPAC Indoor Track and Field Championship took place the weekend of Feb. 21-22 at Dakota Wesleyan in Mitchell, S.D. Head coach Matt Beisel’s squads turned in conference finishes of first on the women’s side (193 points) and third on the men’s side (83.5 points) while claiming a combined eight GPAC event titles (seven by the women). The indoor season will continue this week for 32 Bulldogs who will be headed to the indoor national meet. For more on Concordia track and field, click HERE.

·        The field of indoor national qualifiers is set. Official qualifiers (more than 1,000 combined men’s and women’s athletes nationally) were announced last week by the NAIA. Here are the individuals who will represent the Bulldogs in Brookings, S.D., this week:

o   Rachel Battershell (400 meters, 60 hurdles, 4x400 relay)

o   Taylor Beck (triple jump)

o   Chase Berry (pole vault)

o   Mika Brees (distance medley relay)

o   Allie Brooks (pole vault)

o   Jacob Cornelio (weight throw)

o   Morgan De Jong (weight throw)

o   Gavin DeHaai (pole vault)

o   Alyssa Fye (distance medley relay)

o   McKenzie Gravo (pole vault)

o   Liam Hennessy (weight throw, shot put)

o   Kylahn Heritage (distance medley relay)

o   Rebekah Hinrichs (distance medley relay)

o   Sarah Lewis (4x400 relay)

o   Emily Loy (pentathlon)

o   Colton Meyer (60 hurdles, 4x400 relay)

o   Camden Miller (4x400 relay)

o   Kennedy Mogul (pentathlon, 4x400 relay)

o   Cora Olson (long jump, 4x400 relay/DMR alternate)

o   Jerod Peters (shot put)

o   Jacee Pfeifer (4x400 relay)

o   Tucker Platt (pole vault)

o   Josie Puelz (pole vault)

o   Sarah Ragland (weight throw)

o   Miranda Rathjen (distance medley relay)

o   Henry Reimer (4x400 relay)

o   Xavier Ross (400 meters, 4x400 relay)

o   Katie Severt (long jump)

o   Addie Shaw (shot put, weight throw)

o   Sam Sisco (pole vault)

o   Christian Van Cleave (4x400 relay alternate)

·        It’s been quite a run for women’s track and field and cross country at Concordia. Dating back to last winter, the Bulldogs have won GPAC women’s titles at the 2019 indoor, 2019 outdoor, 2019 cross country and 2020 indoor conference meets. The year 2019 marked just the second time that Bulldog women’s track and field had ever swept GPAC indoor and outdoor conference championships. The women’s program has now seized a combined seven team conference titles in school history. Meanwhile, the men’s program has won three, including a sweep of 2014 GPAC indoor and outdoor championships.

·        Event conference championships were turned in at the GPAC meet by the women’s 4x400 meter relay, Rachel Battershell (60 meter hurdles and 400 meters), Jacob Cornelio (weight throw), Kylahn Heritage (3,000 meters), Kennedy Mogul (pentathlon), Josie Puelz (pole vault) and Addie Shaw (weight throw). In addition, runner-up finishes were claimed by Chase Berry (pole vault), Allie Brooks (pole vault), Gavin DeHaai (pole vault), Emily Loy (pentathlon) and Jordan Lorenz (5,000 meters). A full list of all-conference award winners can be found HERE.

·        Nine events at this week’s national championship meet will include one or more Concordia female athletes. Senior Addie Shaw possesses the most nationals experience having made six prior appearances on the national stage. Shaw is a two-time national champion and a six-time NAIA All-American. In addition, senior pole vaulters McKenzie Gravo and Allie Brooks are making their seventh and sixth nationals appearances, respectively. They have combined for three career All-America awards. In addition, the women’s 4x400 meter relay, led by GPAC Athlete of the Year Rachel Battershell, is looking for a third-straight All-America award.

·        On the men’s side, Jacob Cornelio is headed to nationals for the sixth time. He is a four-time NAIA All-American and the returning national runner up in the weight throw (current national leader in the event). The men will bring four pole vaulters to Brookings with the group featuring Chase Berry, Gavin DeHaai (2019 outdoor All-American), Tucker Platt and Sam Sisco. Making a third-straight trip to nationals, sophomore Xavier Ross will take aim at a first career All-America honor while competing in the 400 meters and as part of the 4x4.

·        The list of Bulldogs making their first-ever national championship appearance includes Taylor Beck, Berry, Colton Meyer and Camden Miller on the men’s side and Mika Brees, Jamey Broman, Kylahn Heritage, Emily Loy, Cora Olson, Josie Puelz and Katie Severt on the women’s side. Heritage did also appear at cross country nationals back in the fall.

·        The 2020 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships are set to unfold at the Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex in Brookings, S.D., Thursday through Saturday. Concordia is coming off of ninth-place national finishes for both men and women at the 2019 NAIA indoor meet. Currently, the Bulldogs sport national team rankings of third for women and sixth for men, according to the USTFCCCA. For additional details on the upcoming national meet, click HERE.​​​​​​​

Softball

·        The wait is finally over. The 2020 season got underway over the weekend with doubleheaders at Kansas Wesleyan University and at Bethany College, both members of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs took two from Kansas Wesleyan (scores of 12-4 and 11-2) and then split with Bethany (7-0 win and 8-4 loss). Head coach Shawn Semler is in his second season leading the program, which is coming off a 2019 season that saw it go 28-12 overall. For more on Concordia softball, click HERE.

·        In the preseason, the Bulldogs appeared at fourth in the GPAC coaches’ poll. In the newly released conference rating on Monday, Concordia moved up a spot to third. In the final 2019 GPAC standings, Midland (18-4) and Morningside (18-4) shared first place with Concordia (15-7) coming in at No. 3. Semler and his squad believe that winning the GPAC is a realistic goal. The program last won the GPAC regular-season title in 2008 and last won the GPAC tournament championship in 2015.

·        The early indications have been overwhelmingly positive for Camry Moore, who Semler believes will be even better than she was as a freshman when she was named second team All-GPAC. Over the weekend, Moore went 6-for-16 with three doubles, a triple, a home run and seven RBIs at the plate. In the circle, Moore allowed only three earned runs over 17 innings (1.24 ERA) across three appearances. In game one at Bethany, Moore tossed a two-hit shutout.

·        The Bulldogs are optimistic that their offense will be even more explosive this spring. In the season’s first four games, Concordia hitters combined to hit .336 with eight doubles, three triples and two home runs while totaling 34 runs. Sixteen different Bulldogs came to the plate at least once over the weekend. Moore and shortstop Tori Homolka led the way with six hits apiece for the weekend. Homolka also drove in five runs.

·        Homolka and slugging third baseman Hhana Haro are both returning first team all-conference players. Haro, the 2018 GPAC Player of the Year, is one of the league’s top hitters. In 83 career games, Haro has batted .458 with 29 doubles, 11 home runs and 76 RBIs. Meanwhile, Homolka enjoyed a breakout 2019 during which she hit .400 and slugged .679 to go along with 21 extra base hits, 16 stolen bases and 34 RBIs. This past weekend, Homolka moved past 100 career hits.

·        Six Bulldogs made their debuts in Concordia colors over the weekend. That group included Zoe Flores, Valeri Gerlach, Regan Karel, Caitlyn McGarvie, Sydni Schernikau and Creighton Taylor. Karel put together a big day on Feb. 29 when she went 4-for-6 with a home run, three runs and three RBIs. A Seward High School product, Karel began her college career at the University of South Dakota before transferring back home. Of particular note, Flores is being counted on as the No. 2 pitcher behind Moore. Flores started the second game of both weekend doubleheaders.

·        Five Concordia players started each of the season’s first four games: Homolka, Jenessa Jarvis, Moore, Kylee Nixon and MacKinsey Schmidt. Nixon (second baseman from York, Neb.) is another significant returner after she batted .431 last season as a sophomore. Nixon doubled twice and drove in four runs this past weekend. Meanwhile, Schmidt garnered first team All-GPAC honors as a freshman in 2018.

·        Plenty of games are on the horizon. Concordia added a doubleheader at York College for Wednesday at 4 p.m. CT. The team will then depart on Friday while destined for Florida and a spring break stay in Kissimmee. The run of games in The Sunshine State will begin Sunday with contests against Lawrence Tech (Mich.) at 12:15 p.m. CT and against Florida National University at 2:30 p.m. CT. Check out the full slate HERE.​​​​​​​

Baseball

·        After an unplanned hiatus in the schedule, Concordia returned to the diamond this past weekend with a neutral site four-game series that was played in Sabetha, Kan. The Bulldogs dominated while taking all four games from Waldorf University (Iowa). They outscored the Warriors by a combined total of 35-8. Now riding a five-game win streak, sixth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has moved to 8-2 overall. For more on Concordia baseball, click HERE.

·        The Bulldogs continue to garner recognition from Perfect Game as the 24th-ranked team in the NAIA by the well-known baseball outlet. The NAIA’s most recent official coaches’ poll came out during the preseason and listed Concordia among the “receiving votes” teams. The Bulldogs were the preseason favorite in the GPAC poll after winning conference regular-season titles in 2017 and 2019. At 8-2, Concordia has the second most overall wins among GPAC squads behind only Mount Marty (9-1).

·        Junior right-hander hurler Nick Little put together a performance to remember on Feb. 29. He became the first Bulldog pitcher to toss a no-hitter since 1979. In no-hitting Waldorf, Little threw a seven-inning complete game and allowed just one walk. He struck out 10 hitters. The native of Lithia, Fla., seems to have regained the form he displayed in 2018 when he earned GPAC Pitcher of the Year honors. Through two starts, Little has surrendered only one earned run over 13.1 innings. His strikeout total has been run to 21.

·        Senior lefty Jason Munsch has also been lights out on the mound. He was one pitch away from a no-hitter of his own in the first game of the series versus Waldorf. The native of Campbell, Calif., struck out 14 Warriors in a one-hit shutout. Through 12 innings of work this season, Munsch has not allowed a single earned run. His program career record for strikeouts is now at 245. Last season he earned first team all-conference accolades.

·        Sophomore Jesse Garcia broke out in the power department over the weekend. He connected for a home run in each of the first three games of the series. Garcia ate up Waldorf pitching in going a combined 6-for-13 with four runs scored, two doubles, three home runs and seven RBIs. There may not be many hitters in the GPAC or NAIA with as much raw power as Garcia, who homered eight times last season as a freshman.

·        Once again, Dupic has put together a swing-and-miss pitching staff. The 2019 staff reset the program single-season record with 501 strikeouts in 53 games. So far this season, the Bulldogs have recorded 104 strikeouts over 68 innings (average of 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings). Beyond Little and Munsch, Lukas Diehm ranks third on the staff with 13 strikeouts. Fifteen different Concordia pitchers have seen action through the season’s first 10 games.

·        The Bulldog offense is averaging 8.7 runs per game. Among regulars, third baseman Jakob Faulk leads the team with a .414 batting average (12-for-29). In addition, Keaton Candor sports a .391 average, Evan Bohman is hitting .357 and Jayden Adams is batting .351. Garcia (three), Candor (two) and Beau Dorman (one) have accounted for the team’s six homers. As a team, Concordia owns a .421 on-base percentage and .433 slugging percentage.

·        Before heading off to Tucson, Ariz., for spring break, the Bulldogs are in Baldwin City, Kan., today (March 3) for an afternoon doubleheader at Baker University. The run of seven games in Tucson will begin Saturday with matchups versus Morningside (1:30 p.m. CT) and against Concordia, St. Paul (5 p.m. CT). Check out the full slate HERE.

Tennis

·        Both tennis teams resumed action this past weekend with a road trip to Lindsborg, Kan., for matches that began in the morning on Feb. 29. The results were identical with the Concordia women and men both winning by a final score of 5-2. Second-year head coach David DeSimone’s squads had most recently competed on Feb. 21 when they entertained Sterling College (Kan.) at Genesis Health Club in Lincoln. The Bulldogs sport overall records of 3-1 on the women’s side and 2-2 on the men’s side. For more information on Concordia tennis: women | men.

·        There have now been three sets of both conference and NAIA national tennis ratings in 2020. In the three official GPAC ratings (Jan. 20, Feb. 10 and Feb. 24), the Bulldog women have been anchored in at No. 2. Doane rose to the No. 1 spot in the conference rating unveiled last week. Meanwhile, Concordia’s men were ranked fourth in the GPAC in the preseason and have since climbed to third in both February ratings. In 2019 postseason action, the Bulldog women achieved GPAC runner-up status while the men reached the semifinals.

·        Through four outings, the only hiccup so far for the women was a 7-0 loss to Sterling. Concordia owns wins over nonconference foes in William Jewell College (Mo.), Grand View University (Iowa) and Bethel. On the flip side, the men have bounced back with back-to-back wins, coming over Sterling and Bethel, after beginning the season with losses to William Jewell and Grand View. Last season the women went 15-6 overall while the men went 10-10.

·        In the early going this spring season, both Bulldog teams have showcased their depth. The Concordia men experienced the most success in the bottom half of the lineup at Bethel. In doubles action, they picked up victories from the combos of sophomore Jack Kitson and freshman Eduardo Rojas at No. 2 (7-5) and sophomores Joe Bindl and Isaac Howes at No. 3 (6-1). Concordia went up 1-0 after doubles. It clinched the team triumph over the Threshers with the aid of singles wins by junior Jeremy Berryman at No. 2 (6-1, 2-6, 6-4), Howes at No. 4 (6-2, 6-1), Kitson at No. 5 (6-0, 6-0) and senior Josh Miller at No. 6 (6-0, 7-6). Meanwhile, Bethel got the upper hand at Nos. 1 and 3 singles and at No. 1 doubles.

·        It’s also true on the women’s side: Opponents will have a challenge matching the depth of the Bulldogs all season long. Beginning with doubles in the outing at Bethel, Concordia earned a 6-4 win at No. 2 from the duo of senior Kirsten Wagner and freshman Tara Ferrel. The No. 3 position went uncontested, allowing Concordia to take the doubles point. In singles, contested victories were claimed by junior Allison Marshall at No. 3 (6-1, 6-1), Ferrel at No. 4 (6-1, 6-1) and junior Ansley Gates at No. 5 (0-6, 6-3, 6-1). Gates impressively shook off defeat in the first set to battle back. On the flip side, the Threshers were superior at the top of the lineup. They won matches at Nos. 1 and 2 singles and at No. 1 doubles.

·        Through four matches on the women’s side, Marshall leads the team with three singles wins. Ferrel has also won two singles matches. In doubles, the combo of Ferrel and Wagner has been most successful with a 2-1 mark. On the men’s side, five Bulldogs have exactly two singles wins on the season: Berryman, Howes, Kitson, Miller and Rojas. The duos of Kitson and Rojas and Bindl and Howes are both 2-0 in doubles play.

·        A busy stretch is coming up in March. It will get started on Friday when both the men and women host Baker University (Kan.) inside the Fieldhouse. First serve times are 2 p.m. CT for the men and 5 p.m. for the women. The men are also scheduled to play twice in Grinnell, Iowa, on Saturday against host Grinnell College (9 a.m.) and versus St. Olaf College (12:30 p.m.). The women will play Grinnell at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The week of March 9 will put the Bulldogs up against a bevy of NCAA Division III opponents.