SEWARD, Neb. – As preseason practice gets underway for Concordia University Softball, the program enters 2021 with high hopes. In preseason rankings released this week by the NAIA, the Bulldogs appeared at No. 2 in the GPAC while also receiving votes in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. In the final conference poll of 2020 (prior to the abrupt ending of the season), Concordia had checked in at No. 3.
Head Coach Shawn Semler’s squad is eager to return to the diamond for official competition for the first time since the 2020 team’s spring break trip. At the time the 2020 season went dark, the Bulldogs owned a record of 12-2 and had just completed a 7-1 road trip in Kissimmee, Fla. Concordia did not have an opportunity to play either GPAC games or any games at its home field Plum Creek Park.
Many of the top players from the 2020 team have returned. That group includes past All-GPAC honorees such as third baseman Hhana Haro, shortstop Tori Homolka, pitcher/first baseman Camry Moore and catcher Allysia Thayer. The veteran core of the squad also features outfielder Jenessa Jarvis and second baseman Kylee Nixon.
The Bulldogs have received votes nationally semi-regularly in recent years. Concordia picked up votes at some point in each of the 2016, 2017, 2019 and now 2021 seasons. The 2021 squad will attempt to become the program’s first ranked team since the 1998 group checked in at No. 25.
The season is slated to begin on Feb. 13 with a doubleheader at Ottawa University (Kan.). The Bulldogs hope to make their first home appearance on March 16 with a twin bill versus Mayville State University (N.D.).