Bulldog Weekly Report (Nov. 23)

By Jacob Knabel on Nov. 23, 2020 in Athletic Announcements

Bulldog Athletic Association Athletes of the Week: Due to the absence of the weekly BAAM meetings, Athletes of the Week will not be announced. When it is determined that BAAM meetings can resume, members will be notified.

News and notes:

Fall GPAC regular seasons come to an end: GPAC regular-season play for fall sports came to an end this past weekend. As a reminder, GPAC postseason tournaments for the sports of men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball have been postponed until the spring 2021 semester (dates to be announced). The postponement did not affect GPAC championships for cross country, football or golf. The GPAC Cross Country Championships were held on Nov. 7 while golf completed its fall conference rounds in late September/early October. On the other hand, the GPAC title for football is decided solely by the regular season. These were the conference place finishes turned in this fall by Bulldog teams:
Shooting Sports – 1st (Prairie Circuit Championship)
Women’s Soccer – T-2nd
Volleyball – 3rd
Women’s Cross Country – 4th
*Women's Golf – 4th
Football – 5th
Men’s Soccer – 5th
Men’s Cross Country – 6th
*Men's Golf –​​​​​​​ 9th
​​​​​​​*Golf will have two more round of conference championships in the spring

Baseball/softball teams return to diamond in fall: Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s baseball program and Head Coach Shawn Semler’s softball program got back to action this fall after months apart. Both programs had their 2020 seasons abruptly ended in the middle of March. In addition, both teams have GPAC championship aspirations for the spring of 2021. For updates on these programs, click on the links below.
--Fall Updates: Baseball | Softball

Update to fan attendance policy: As of Nov. 11, the fan attendance policy regarding indoor sporting events has changed at CUNE. In accordance with Directed Health Measures released last week by the state of Nebraska, Concordia will be limiting fan attendance in indoor facilities to 25 percent capacity. Please note that spectators will not be permitted to attend indoor track and field meets (per GPAC policy). For additional details on how to purchase tickets to Bulldog Athletic events, see the paragraph below regarding HomeTown ticketing.

HomeTown Ticketing and Fan protocols for home events: Fans who plan to attend Concordia Athletics home events are advised to read through our protocols HERE. All fans are expected to self-screen and are required to wear masks while viewing contests in either Bulldog Stadium or Walz Arena. Non-family members are welcome to be present on our campus during these contests. Fans are also encouraged to order advance tickets through HomeTown Ticketing. By purchasing tickets online, fans are guaranteed entrance on game days. Concordia is allowing 75 percent capacity in outdoor venues and 25 percent capacity in indoor venues.

Bulldog Coaches Show airs every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. CT: The Bulldog Coaches Show is underway in its fifth 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 2020-21 season, Bulldog football, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball contests will be aired live on Max Country. Evan Jones 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 sixth 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 partnered 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.

Football

·        The 2020 season is now in the books for the Bulldogs, who made their way to Mitchell, S.D., this past week for a battle with Dakota Wesleyan. Concordia still has not win in Mitchell since 2007. The latest meeting went in favor of the Tigers, 28-17, on Nov. 21. Dakota Wesleyan (4-5) effectively bounced back from an 0-3 start by going 4-2 the rest of the way. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs dropped their final four games of the fall. Fourth-year Head Coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad finished up at 4-4 overall (fifth place in the GPAC). For more information on Concordia Football, click HERE.

·        The second half of the season may not have gone as hoped, but the Bulldogs managed to take some steps forward after enduring 3-7 records in 2018 and 2019. Concordia opened 2020 with wins over Doane, Hastings, Briar Cliff and Jamestown to get to 4-0. Had there been regular NAIA top 25 polls like normal, it’s very possible the Bulldogs would have cracked the national rankings at some point. Daberkow’s squad took the 4-0 record into Northwestern on Oct. 17 and left with a competitive 31-17 defeat. Concordia then struggled in lopsided losses to Dordt and Morningside while running through a gauntlet of the GPAC’s best teams.

·        The offense has not evolved into an explosive unit that the coaching staff envisions, but it did make improvements this fall. After the Bulldogs averaged 15.4 points in 2018 and 15.6 points in 2019, they ramped that figure up to 21.9 in 2020. Their total yards average of 351.4 in 2020 dwarfed the previous year numbers of 277.9 in 2018 and 280.2 in 2019. Better play at the line of scrimmage had a major hand in the improvement. The run game still needs to get better, but Concordia averaged 121.2 yards on the ground in 2020 after averaging 65.8 in 2019.

·        Senior linebacker Lane Napier may have played his final game as a Bulldog (no student-athletes were charged with a year of eligibility this fall). If that’s the end, Napier can be proud of what he accomplished over four years in navy and white. With 14 tackles at Dakota Wesleyan, Napier eclipsed 400 tackles for his career – an impressive average of 100 per season. Though limited to appearing in six games this fall (due to injury), Napier compiled 54 tackles in 2020. In addition to 401 career tackles, Napier has posted career numbers of 34 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, seven pass breakups and an interception. He’s a three-time first team All-GPAC honoree.

·        Redshirt sophomore Jonah Weyand enjoyed a season in 2020, his first as the program’s featured running back. The Crete High School product earned the NAIA National Offensive Player of the Week award after he ran for 177 yards and five touchdowns versus Hastings. In last week’s season finale, Weyand rushed 22 times for 79 yards and a touchdown. Weyand rushed for nine touchdowns on the season. That total ranks in the top 10 on the program’s single-season list for rushing touchdowns (school record is 13 by Cleve Wester). On the year, Weyand racked up 625 rushing yards on 146 carries for an average of 4.3 yards per attempt.

·        Blake Culbert brought some level of stability to the passing game. He started all eight games at quarterback and passed for 1,734 yards with 10 touchdowns compared to five interceptions. Culbert completed 50.2 percent of his passes. Culbert’s main targets were Cayden Beran (36 catches for 360 yards, two touchdowns), Korrell Koehlmoos (25 catches for 533 yards, three touchdowns) and Garrett Schardt (25 catches for 430 yards, three touchdowns). Beran finished the season strong by hauling in eight receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown at Dakota Wesleyan.

·        Though mostly solid in 2020, the defense had a hard time against the firepower of the likes of Northwestern, Dordt and Morningside. Over the first four games of the season, the Bulldogs held three opponents to single-digit point totals. Concordia ended the fall with NAIA national rankings of 20th in scoring defense (25.4) and 33rd in total defense (385.6). There were a number of injuries that plagued the Bulldogs. Not only did Napier miss time, the Bulldogs also were without Chase Hammons (team high five sacks) down the stretch.

·        While Napier led the team with 54 tackles, six others made at least 30 tackles: Shayne Campbell (42), AJ Jenkins (42), Stirling Tonniges (38), Caydren Cox (35), Jayzen Armstrong (33) and Isiaha Conner (30). Northwest Missouri State transfer Karson Dickson paced the team with six tackles for loss. Dickson was one of six Bulldogs with multiple sacks on the season. They included Hammons (five), Dickson (three), Payton Kidder (three), Gerald Morris (three), Eric Kieper Jr. (two) and Logan Kreizel (two).

·        Last week, Daberkow expressed gratitude for those who made a 2020 season possible while many other college football programs at various levels decided to sit this fall out. Out of 95 NAIA football teams, 51 played at least once game this fall. Some of those 95 programs are expected to play official games in the spring. The NAIA playoffs are scheduled to begin in April 2021.

Men’s Soccer

·        It took until deep into November, but the Bulldogs managed to complete their full slate of 11 GPAC regular-season games. Concordia wrapped things up for the fall on Nov. 21 with a trip to Presentation (0-11). Four different Bulldogs scored at least one goal in a comfortable 5-1 win over the Saints. With more to come in the spring, 13th-year Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad stands at 9-3-2 overall and at 7-2-2 in the GPAC. With 23 conference points, Concordia finished fifth in the GPAC regular-season standings. For more information on Bulldog Men’s Soccer, click HERE.

·        Following the win at Presentation, Weides discussed disappointment over failing to make a more serious run at first place in the league standings. However, Concordia has the ability to make a run in the postseason. The Bulldogs went 1-2-1 against the teams that finished in the top four of the GPAC. In those matchups, Concordia defeated Northwestern, 4-0, and dropped contests against Hastings, 3-1, and Morningside, 3-0, and drew with Briar Cliff, 1-1. The Mustangs captured the conference regular-season title for the second year in a row.

·        Under Weides, Concordia has routinely put itself in the mix for top-four GPAC finishes. Since the start of the 2013 season, the Bulldogs have turned in respective conference placements of fifth, fifth, sixth, third, tied for second, tied for fourth, sixth and now fifth. With the GPAC victory at Presentation, Concordia equaled the program record for conference wins in a season (tying the standard now shared with the 2017 team that went 7-2 in league play). Of course the singular mountain top moment came in 2015 when the Bulldogs upset their way to the GPAC tournament title and a national tournament bid.

·        The five goals scored at Presentation tied a season high (also put away five in the 5-1 win over Doane). Weides felt his team actually should have netted more goals in Aberdeen, S.D., against a foe it had beaten 7-0 in 2018 and 9-0 in 2019. The goals this past weekend came from Victor Meneses (3’), Iker Casanova (44’), Carlos Orquiz (67’) and Isaiah Shaddick (74’ and 82’). Assists were credited to Moises Jacobo, Yessine Bessaies (two), Garrett Perry and Michael Lindberg. Jacobo enjoyed an active day that led to many chances.

·        Nine Bulldogs have put away at least two goals this season: Jacobo (five), Perry (five), Ryan Wokutch (four), Orquiz (four), Shaddick (four), Casanova (three), Bessaies (two), Daniel Campbell (two) and Matt Schultz (two). Four others found the back of the net once: Mauro Figeroa, Meneses, David Moreno and Braden Spath. Through 14 games, Concordia outscored its opponents by a combined total of 36-17.

·        As mentioned in this space previously, the Bulldogs have a shot at reaching 10+ overall wins for the 10th-straight season. During that run that began in 2011, Concordia has put together a combined overall record of 109-59-21. The high water mark for wins in a single season was 16 (school record) in 2017. The ’17 team impressively scored 51 goals and allowed only 16. In all likelihood, the Bulldogs will play countable games prior to the GPAC tournament in the spring. No games have been officially scheduled.

·        In the key GPAC statistical categories, Concordia closed the fall with conference rankings of fourth in goals allowed per game (1.21), fourth in shots per game (14.5), fifth in goals scored per game (2.57) and fifth in shots on goal per game (7.36). The Bulldogs have turned in four clean sheets while being shut out only once. Individually, Bessaies ranks in a tie for fourth in the GPAC in assists (six). Jacobo and Perry are tied for 12th in the league for goals scored.

·        Dates for the GPAC tournament are likely to be in March/April of 2021. Those dates will be publicized when announced by the conference. However, the NAIA has firmed up the timeline for the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship. The opening round will be held at campus sites, April 22-24, 2021. Winners of the opening rounds will advance to the final site in Columbia County, Ga., and play May 4-10, 2021.

Men’s Basketball

·        Due to a mid-week postponement (originally scheduled to play at Doane on Nov. 18), the Bulldogs played only once last week. They made that outing count by routing visiting Dordt, 82-59, on Nov. 21. The Defenders had just 19 points at halftime as part of a stellar defensive performance for Concordia. Head Coach Ben Limback’s squad has won six-straight games to move to 6-1 overall (3-0 GPAC). For more information on Bulldog Men’s Basketball, click HERE.

·        As star junior Justin Wiersema put it following the win over Dordt, Concordia enters every game with an underdog mentality. It’s a bit of a cliché way of looking at things, but the Bulldogs were given little respect with a sixth-place slotting in the GPAC preseason poll. So far in conference play, Concordia has defeated opponents with GPAC preseason rankings of second (Northwestern), third (Dordt) and 10th (Midland). Both Northwestern and Dordt also received votes in the NAIA national poll (now one division).

·        Dating back to last season, the Bulldogs have won 10-straight games against GPAC opponents. That stretch includes four wins to end the 2019-20 regular season, three conference tournament wins and three GPAC triumphs to open up this season. The win over Northwestern was close (77-74), but Concordia has been overall quite dominant through three GPAC games. In those contests, the Bulldogs have outscored their opponents by an average score of 80.3 to 62.7. GPAC foes have shot just 38.0 percent from the field against Concordia.

·        Wiersema deserves a lot of recognition for the player and teammate he’s become. There is no more reliable player on the roster than Wiersema, at either end of the floor. In the win over Dordt, Wiersema contributed 18 points, eight rebounds and three steals. On the offensive end, the Loveland, Colo., native continues to be impressively efficient. He’s averaging 16.6 points per game while shooting 60.6 percent from the floor and 45.0 percent from 3-point range. Wiersema has scored at least 11 points in each game this season. His respective single-game point totals have been 16, 22, 11, 23, 12, 14 and 18.

·        To elaborate further, the defensive play of the Bulldogs has been superb. The high level of play on that end of the floor has come despite the graduation of Chuol Biel, who led the GPAC in shot blocking back-to-back years. Among GPAC teams, Concordia ranks second in both scoring defense (65.0) and in field goal percentage defense (.395). The Bulldogs seemed to have cleaned some things up after allowing Friends University (Kan.) to shoot 47.7 percent in a 102-82 Concordia win. In GPAC play, the Bulldogs have limited their foes to percentages of 32.8, 44.3 and 36.1.

·        The grit and determination of this Concordia team has been on full display. You can’t really quantify it statically – or maybe you can when it comes to junior Gage Smith. Another Colorado native, Smith posted 16 points and nine rebounds versus Dordt while just missing out on what would have been his fifth double-double this season. Smith has grabbed 76 rebounds in seven games. His average of 11.9 rebounds per game ranks second in the GPAC behind only Mason Walters (12.7) of Jamestown.

·        Ryan Holt returned to the starting lineup versus Dordt and rose to the occasion. The native of Highlands Ranch, Colo., stroked 6-of-10 shots from long range while equaling Wiersema with a game high 18 points. Both the six 3-point field goals and 18 points represented career highs for Holt, who pushed his season scoring average to 10.7. Klay Uher (7.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg) had started the previous five games. Uher will continue to be a key player in the rotation.

·        The Bulldogs will really be dangerous when Carter Kent catches fire. It really is just a matter of time for the Crete High School product, who shot 2-for-14 from the floor versus Dordt. As Limback has noted, Kent often draws the opposition’s top defender. Kent is averaging 12.6 points per game and has moved his career point total to 839. His best offensive performance so far this season was a 22-point outburst versus Friends.

·        Concordia is off for the Thanksgiving week. Preparations are underway for next Monday (Nov. 30)’s game at Doane (3-2, 0-0 GPAC). Tipoff from Crete is set for 7 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs hope to win at the Haddix Center for the first time since January 2018. The home team won both of last season’s Concordia-Doane meetings.

Women’s Basketball

·        After four-straight wins, the Bulldogs are again looking like a team capable of valiantly defending their run of four GPAC championships in a row. Concordia began last week with an 80-58 win at Peru State College before returning to conference play to earn victories over Doane, 111-52, and over eighth-ranked Dordt, 73-62. Fifteenth-year Head Coach Drew Olson’s has improved to 4-3 overall and to 3-1 in league play. For more information on Bulldog Women’s Basketball, click HERE.

·        There was no reason to panic. This Concordia team just needed some room to grow early in the season. During the win streak, the Bulldogs have won all four games by double-digit margins. Over the past four games, Concordia has outscored its opponents, on average, 86.8 – 61.0, is shooting 36.8 percent (43-for-117) from 3-point range and owns a cumulative turnover margin of +47. The win at Doane did wonders for the team’s confidence. The Bulldogs made 11-of-17 second-half attempts from beyond the arc in the white-washing.

·        Is there really a conference favorite at this point? Maybe not. Dordt was ranked No. 1 in the GPAC preseason poll and has already suffered three losses (two nonconference). However, the Defenders remain loaded with talent, especially in the frontcourt. As it stands, Briar Cliff (3-0) and Morningside (2-0) are the only GPAC teams without a conference loss. Head Coach Jamie Sale’s Mustangs were the most recent program to win a GPAC title before Concordia went on its active run of four-consecutive sweeps of conference regular season/postseason championships.

·        While the Bulldogs leaned on Taylor Cockerill’s scoring heavily in the early going, they are finding out they have plenty of other weapons. During the four-game win streak, junior Rylee Pauli (13.0 points per game) has actually been the team’s leading scorer. She enjoyed a career day at Doane by putting up 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting from the floor (while also grabbing eight rebounds). Three other Concordia players have averaged double-figures during the streak: Cockerill (12.3), Taysha Rusthon (11.5) and Taylor Farrell (11.5).

·        Last week the Bulldogs approached what is believed to be the school single-game record for made 3-point field goals. Concordia hit 17 shots from beyond the arc in the beat-down of Doane. During Olson’s tenure, the high-water mark for treys in a game was 19 in a win over Briar Cliff last season. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, the Bulldogs have knocked down 15 triples in 16 different games. Impressively, the ’17-18 team accomplished the feat nine times. The recent run of hot outside shooting has moved Concordia’s season 3-point field goal percentage to .302.

·        A freshman from Lubbock, Texas, Rushton has not been bashful about hoisting shots. Her 91 field goal attempts are tops on the team. Though she’s shooting only 31.9 percent from the floor, Rushton’s attacking has led to 25 free throw attempts. She’s made 22 of them. Rushton made the first 18 free throw tries of her collegiate career before her first miss. She ranks second on the team in scoring at 13.3 points per game. Rushton paced the Bulldogs with 15 points in the win over Dordt.

·        As the young players on the roster grow, so too does the team’s depth. Cockerill, Pauli and Rushton have earned the most minutes so far this season, but plenty of others are cracking the rotation. In last week’s action, Chloe Schumacher had 11 points and eight rebounds at Peru State, Kendal Brigham and Mackenzie Toomey both drilled three 3-point field goals at Doane and Rebecca Higgins put up 12 points versus Dordt, just to name some complimentary efforts. Sophomore Averie Lambrecht, though not a big scorer, has been included in the starting lineup in large part because of her defensive play.

·        Farrell just might be the best outside shooter on the team. The Omaha native scored all 11 of her points in the fourth quarter versus Dordt. Nine of those points came courtesy of shots from beyond the arc, helping keep the Defenders at bay. Also known as “Willy,” Farrell has made 45-of-96 shots from 3-point range as a Bulldog. Farrell has scored in double figures in six of seven games this season and is averaging 10.9 points per contest. Her 17 points at Doane were one shy of a career high.

·        Concordia is preparing to play at College of Saint Mary (1-3, 0-1 GPAC) at 6 p.m. CT on Tuesday. It will be the only outing of a light Thanksgiving week. In last season’s meetings, the Bulldogs blew away the Flames, 127-51, at home and, 108-64, on the road. College of Saint Mary’s lone win so far this season came by a 69-47 score over Presentation College.

Wrestling

·        Through the early going, the schedule format has been a week on and then a week off. The Bulldogs were off last week due to the cancellation of the University of Nebraska-Kearney Open (originally scheduled for Nov. 21). The week prior, Concordia ventured up to Mitchell, S.D., for a dual and a tournament. The Bulldogs defeated Dakota Wesleyan, 34-6, on Nov. 13. The very next day, 14 Bulldogs took part in the Dakota Wesleyan Open and combined for 24 wins. Head Coach Levi Calhoun’s squad owns an overall record of 1-1 (1-0 GPAC) and has competed in two opens. For more information on Concordia Wrestling, click HERE.

·        The win over the Tigers was a continuation of the dominance the Bulldogs have displayed in recent years within the GPAC. Concordia won eight of the 10 matches. Out of their eight wins, the Bulldogs earned one by pin, one by major decision, four by decision and two via forfeit (125 and 149). Contested victories were turned in by Mason Garcia (pin at 197), Issiah Burks (major decision at 157), Timothy Huber (decision at 174), Jacob Telles (decision at 285), Mario Ybarra (decision at 133) and Jeaven Scdoris (decision at 141).

·        Despite the recent run of GPAC dominance, the Bulldogs are ranked third in the conference in the first official ratings of the 2020-21 season. Concordia checked in behind Doane and Briar Cliff based on the individual rankings. Eight Bulldogs appeared in the top six of the GPAC individually: Ybarra (first at 133), Scdoris (third at 141), Burks (third at 157), Tavoris Smith (sixth at 157), Gabe Crawford (second at 165), Jace Summers (third at 174), Garcia (fifth at 197) and Telles (fourth at 285). Ybarra and Crawford are returning GPAC champions.

·        On the national level, Concordia received votes in the first NAIA poll (top 20 are officially recognized as ranked teams). Based on its placement, the Bulldogs are the No. 27 team in the NAIA. Two Concordia grapplers are ranked nationally: Ybarra (No. 3 at 133) and Crawford (No. 14 at 165). Entering this season, the Bulldogs have had at least one All-American in seven-straight years (high of four All-Americans in 2015). Concordia is coming off a team national finish of 15th in 2020 when Tanner Farmer and Alberto Garcia made their way onto the podium. The highest national finish ever for the program was eighth in 2016.

·        Telles (285) and Burks (157) starred for the Bulldogs at the DWU Open. Though Burks dropped his first match of the day, he rebounded with two pins and a victory by major decision while taking first place in the 157A bracket of the tournament. Burks topped Briar Cliff’s Ben Peters by a 13-4 score to cap a weekend that included a triumph in the dual with DWU. Telles is continuing the tradition of top-notch heavyweights at Concordia. He ran his season record to 10-2 by claiming four of five bouts at the DWU Open. Among the highlights, Telles earned a 3-2 decision over Briar Cliff’s Matt Wilke, ranked 19th nationally at 285. Telles claimed second place in the 285A bracket.

·        While Burks and Telles combined for seven wins, three other Bulldogs recorded three wins apiece at the DWU tournament: Huber (174), Garcia (197), Jose Sanchez (157C) and Scdoris (141). Scdoris and Sanchez both took second place while Garcia and Huber collected third-place claims. At 184 pounds, Cyrus Marshall picked up two wins. One win each was turned in by Carter Willis (125), Smith (157) and Oscar Ramirez-Garcia (184). Complete individual match-by-match results can be viewed HERE.

·        Concordia has won nine-straight GPAC duals, a streak that includes the 8-0 conference mark turned in by the 2019-20 conference championship team. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, the Bulldogs are a combined 42-4 in GPAC duals and have earned at least a share of the conference regular-season title in five of the past six years. Concordia also enjoyed perfect 7-0 conference runs in 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17.

·        The 2020-21 schedule is likely to continue to be fluid. The Bulldogs will again be off this week. The majority of the team’s roster will remain in Seward to train while also taking a break to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Next up on the schedule is a GPAC dual at Midland on Thursday, Dec. 3. Concordia is scheduled to make its first home appearance of the season when it hosts Morningside on Dec. 10.