21st annual Cattle Classic on tap for next week: The Cattle Classic will be played as scheduled this season with the 21st annual event set to unfold next Friday and Saturday (Nov. 6-7) with four games both days inside Walz Arena. The event, co-sponsored by Concordia and Cattle Bank & Trust, raises money and food for the Blue Valley Community Action’s Food Pantry. Pac N Save of Seward will match all canned food donations. For more information on the Cattle Classic, including the complete schedule, please click HERE.
Fall GPAC championships update: 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). That means that those sports will be finished with fall competition as soon as their regular seasons are complete. The postponement did not affect GPAC championships for cross country, football or golf. The GPAC Cross Country Championship is coming up Nov. 7 while golf has already completed its fall conference rounds. On the other hand, the GPAC title for football is decided solely by the regular season.
Men’s Basketball, Wrestling open up 2020-21 seasons this week: The winter sports season is about to get underway at Concordia. Head Coach Ben Limback’s men’s basketball program and Head Coach Levi Calhoun’s wrestling program are readying to begin action on Friday. Limback’s team will be at the Hastings Classic to take on Tabor College (Kan.) at 5 p.m. CT on Friday before playing Friends University (Kan.) at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Meanwhile, Calhoun’s grapplers will be at York College for a 7 p.m. dual on Friday prior to taking part in the York College Open on Saturday. Head Coach Drew Olson’s women’s basketball program will wait another week before tipping things off in 2020-21. Check out season previews by clicking the links below. In addition, check out a feature on returning GPAC champion wrestler Mario Ybarra HERE.
Shooting Sports supports Ronald McDonald House Charities of Omaha: The Concordia Shooting Sports program again lent its services to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Omaha and helped the organization raise $84,600 for families in need. The fundraiser featured a sporting clays tournament that took place over a recent weekend. Head Coach Scott Moniot’s squad has concluded competition this fall.
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 50 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/
· After a three-week break in the schedule, the Bulldogs returned to action on Oct. 24 at the Mount Marty Invite, which featured 14 teams on the women’s side and 13 teams on the men’s side. The race was held at Fox Run Golf Course in Yankton, S.D. The Concordia women placed third while the men finished fifth. The event marked the fifth and final regular-season outing for Head Coach Matt Beisel’s Bulldogs, who had not competed since the Briar Cliff Invite on Oct. 3. For more on Concordia Cross Country, click HERE.
· The Bulldog women have enjoyed a fine regular season that has seen them place no lower than third at any meet in 2020. They have posted placements of third (out of eight) at the Dordt Sunflower Opener, second (out of five) at the Hastings Bronco Stampede, first (out of seven) at the Doane Dean White Invite, second (out of 13) at the Briar Cliff Invite and third (out of 14) at the Mount Marty Invite. The meet title at the Dean White Invite marked the program’s fourth first-place claim since the beginning of the 2019 season.
· As the Concordia women have found out, defending their 2019 GPAC title will not be easy. The Bulldogs have been chasing Dordt all season and also placed behind Morningside (by seven points) last week in Yankton. In the official GPAC rankings (new set released on Monday), Concordia remains at No. 3. A new national poll will be unveiled on Wednesday. It’s possible that Dordt, Morningside and Concordia could all be included in the NAIA top 25. The Bulldogs were receiving votes (30th) in the national poll that was released on Oct. 1.
· At the Mount Marty Invite, the Concordia men placed behind Doane (first), Dordt (second), Northwestern (third) and nonconference foe Dakota State University (fourth). On the other hand, the Bulldogs defeated conference rivals in Morningside (sixth), Midland (seventh), Hastings (10th) and Mount Marty (11th). The Bulldogs were placed at No. 4 once again in the official conference rating released on Monday. In the only national poll (Oct. 1) of this season, Dordt appeared at No. 12 while Doane was the first team outside of the top 25.
· It will be a significant challenge for any women’s team other than Dordt to capture the GPAC title, but last week showed that Concordia still has a shot at being a top two team in the conference. The Mount Marty Invite also proved that sophomore Kylahn Heritage (2019 GPAC runner up) has some competition at the top of the lineup. Her 5k time of 19:01.22 very narrowly beat out freshman teammate Rylee Haecker (19:01.27) for the title of top Bulldog at the meet. Heritage placed sixth out of 150 runners while Haecker finished sixth. The emergence of Haecker continues to be a cool story for Concordia. Haecker had mostly been focused on preparing for track season before entering the Briar Cliff meet and getting good results there (time of 18:43.22).
· Heritage and current seniors Alyssa Fye and Sydney Clark are each returning all-conference runners from last year’s GPAC championship team. At Mount Marty, Clark was the team’s No. 4 runner while Fye came in at No. 6. Each of the team’s top seven finished the race in under 20 minutes. The next five after Heritage and Haecker were freshman Grace Reiman (19:32.41; 21st), Clark (19:35.59; 22nd), senior Lydia Cook (19:41.42; 24th), Fye (19:58.93; 32nd) and junior Abi DeLoach (19:59.62).
· The men’s team was without two key performers in Yankton with sophomore Camden Sesna and junior Wyatt Lehr sidelined. The healthy return of both will be essential to Concordia’s chances of a possible top three finish in the GPAC. In Sesna’s absence, senior Jordan Lorenz claimed a 20th place finish while completing the 8k race in 26:30.05. The next three Concordia finishers in line were either freshmen or sophomores in freshman Calvin Rohde (26:35.38; 25th), sophomore Antonio Blaine (27:00.66; 36th) and sophomore Owen Dawson (27:09.34; 39th). Junior Ethan Pankow rounded out the team’s top five by placing 57th overall (27:42.48).
· The Bulldog men were crowned champions of the Bronco Stampede back on Sept. 12. They have also turned in place finishes of third (out of eight) at the Sunflower Opener, second (out of six) at the Dean White Invite, sixth (out of 14) at the Briar Cliff Invite and fifth (out of 13) at the Mount Marty Invite. Sesna had been the team’s top individual runner at each meet prior to the Mount Marty Invite.
· Both Concordia teams will have this week off from competition as they prepare for the GPAC Cross Country Championships coming up on Saturday, Nov. 7. Beisel’s squads will return to the same course in Yankton on that date. The first race is set to go off at 10:45 a.m. CT. In the GPAC era (2000-present), the Bulldog women’s cross country program has claimed four GPAC titles while the men’s program has won three GPAC championships.
· After a tough road trip up north the weekend of Oct. 16-17, the Bulldogs reasserted themselves as one of the top teams in the GPAC by going 3-0 last week. That run included a four-set victory at College of Saint Mary (Oct. 20) and back-to-back straight-sets home wins (over Briar Cliff and Morningside) that occurred Oct. 23-24. With three matches remaining in the regular season, third-year Head Coach Ben Boldt’s squad sits in third place in the GPAC standings with a league record of 10-3. For more information on Concordia Volleyball, click HERE.
· There just wasn’t much margin for error as it relates to the GPAC regular-season championship race. In order for the Bulldogs to hoist the regular-season trophy, they need to keep winning and need a lot of help. They currently look up at Jamestown (10-0 GPAC) and Northwestern (10-1 GPAC) in the standings. However, Concordia can do no worse than third place with two more GPAC victories. A top-three spot in the GPAC has typically locked up a national tournament bid. There will also be another shot at a conference title when the postseason tournament is played next semester.
· The Bulldogs have a chance to do something quite rare for the program – go undefeated against their in-state rivals. The win last week at College of Saint Mary put Concordia another step in that direction. The Bulldogs are 5-0 versus Nebraska GPAC foes having already swept the regular-season series from Midland in addition to triumphs over College of Saint Mary, Hastings and Doane. Those latter three opponents are the teams that make up the remainder of the regular-season slate. Last season Concordia went 9-2 against in-state opponents with one loss apiece at the hands of Hastings and Midland.
· Senior Kara Stark enjoyed an impressive week from the outside. She posted kill totals of 11, eight and 15, respectively, in the three wins. With lots of family on hand for senior day on Oct. 24, Stark really got rolling. She pounded eight of her 15 kills in the third set in putting away Morningside. That kill total equaled a personal best for a three-set match. An honorable mention All-GPAC performer last season, Stark tops all Bulldogs on the current roster with 543 career kills. Her personal high for kills in any one match was 17 against Midland last season.
· Concordia will certainly miss the senior class, Stark included, that was honored this past weekend. The group features eight total members – five of which have on-court roles: Tara Callahan, Maggie Durbin, Marissa Hoerman, Tristin Mason and Stark. They were here to experience the 9-19 struggles in 2017 before helping lift the program back up. The 2019 season could be argued as the greatest in program history to this point. That team broke new ground by reaching the national round of 16 and finishing ranked 14th in the NAIA.
· Among the seniors, Callahan and Hoerman have spent the most time on the court. Both Bulldogs have been starters from day one. A native of Brady, Neb., Callahan recently went past 3,000 career assists (now at 3,235) and currently ranks third in program history in that category behind only Stacy Stuckenschmidt (4,949) and Alayna Kavanaugh (4,485). Meanwhile, Hoerman has climbed to No. 5 on the program’s all-time digs list with 1,229. Hoerman has also successfully passed 1,375 serves throughout her career.
· Stark took hold of the spotlight last week, but Concordia remains an incredibly balanced team on the attack. Five Bulldogs are now over 100 kills for the season: Gabi Nordaker (119), Stark (114), Arleigh Costello (109), Camryn Opfer (108) and Kalee Wiltfong (102). Together they have helped the Bulldogs earn national statistical rankings of 17th in hitting percentage (.224) and 20th in kills per set (13.16). On the individual national leaderboards, Callahan ranks fifth in assists per set (10.93) and Wiltfong ranks 34th in hitting percentage (.318).
· Through 13 matches, Concordia has owned a significant advantage of its opponents in serve/serve receive. The Bulldogs have accumulated 93 aces compared to 78 errors on the season. Meanwhile, their opponents have combined for just 41 aces and 92 errors. An aggressive server, Mason leads the team with 25 aces. Four others have at least 10: Hoerman (19), Erin Johnson (13), Callahan (11) and Tatum Kuti (11).
· The run of home matches will continue this week as Concordia hosts College of Saint Mary (7-8, 2-8 GPAC) at 7:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday and then Doane (4-8, 2-8 GPAC) at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. The Bulldogs will be seeking season sweeps of both foes. Concordia will have the weekend off prior to closing the regular season next Tuesday (Nov. 3) at Hastings (4-6, 3-5 GPAC).
· The program has undoubtedly improved since last season, but the Bulldogs still have work to do as far as catching up with the top teams in the GPAC. Concordia has learned that lesson over the past two weeks having suffered losses to Northwestern, 31-17, and Dordt, 41-14. Both opponents would likely be carrying top 25 NAIA rankings if there were official polls being released this fall. In a matchup dubbed the NAIA Game of the Week, the Bulldogs fell flat against the Defenders. Fourth-year Head Coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad now enters a bye week with a record of 4-2. For more information on Bulldog Football, click HERE.
· Dordt might just have the best team in the history of its program, which played its first season of football in 2008. The fortunes have risen dramatically for the Defenders under the direction of Head Coach Joel Penner. Dordt dominated the first half last week in building a 20-0 lead while outgaining Concordia, 303-56. The high-powered Defender offense, highlighted by quarterback Noah Clayberg and Levi Jungling, hit the 40-point mark for the fifth-straight game. It was an especially impressive outburst considering the Bulldogs had held three opponents to single-digit point margins this season.
· Junior tight end Garrett Schardt got some well-deserved ink in the Lincoln Journal Star leading up to last week’s game. In the defeat, Schardt continued to produce while catching three passes for 48 yards. He also drew a defensive pass interference penalty that extended Concordia’s first scoring drive of the game. The former Bruning-Davenport-Shickley High School standout leads all GPAC tight ends this season in receptions (18) and receiving yards (309). Schardt caught two touchdown passes in the loss at Northwestern.
· Another positive was the play of backup running back Lyle Whitney. It took a while for the Bulldogs to get something going offensively, but Whitney provided a spark in the second half. He finished the game with 12 carries for 57 yards. He also caught a swing pass and raced 57 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. On the season, Whitney has rushed for 261 yards in providing a nice compliment to starter Jonah Weyand.
· Concordia’s defense was hurt by the absences of sack leader Chase Hammons and tackle leader Lane Napier. Both were late scratches due to injuries. Shayne Campbell attempted to pick up the slack by notching a team high 13 tackles from his linebacker spot. Fellow ‘backer Caydren Cox also added seven tackles, including one for loss. The secondary was unable to take advantage of the times when Clayberg did throw the ball up for grabs. Up front, the Bulldogs were held without a sack for the first time this season.
· The passing game was also held in check by Dordt. The combo of Culbert and Ehlers went 10-for-23 for 159 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. On the plus side, Culbert made a fine 24-yard touchdown strike to Korrell Koehlmoos on the first possession of the second half. Koehlmoos leads the team with three touchdown catches this season. Koehlmoos was one of eight Bulldgos to catch a pass versus Dordt (and the only one with more than one reception).
· Koehlmoos finished with 226 all-purpose yards last week after factoring in his 202 kickoff return yards. He had a long of 41 on his seven attempts. The native of Pilger, Neb., is now the NAIA national leader with 474 kickoff return yards on the season (average of 22.6 yards per return). He also ranks seventh nationally in all-purpose yards per game (146.8). In his career, Koehlmoos has caught 85 passes for 1,273 yards and eight touchdowns.
· The all-time series with Dordt now stands at 9-4 in favor of the Bulldogs. However, Dordt is gaining ground having won three in a row. The Defenders had never before won at Bulldog Stadium – until last week. At 5-1, Dordt looks like a possible playoff team. The Defenders have a major showdown coming on Saturday when they host Morningside.
· Concordia will have a bye this week before looking forward to senior day on Saturday, Nov. 7. The defending national champion Mustangs will serve as the opponent that day when the ball kicks off at 1 p.m. CT. Not unlike other years, Morningside has been rolling through the GPAC. The Mustangs have won four-straight games by at least 35-point margins since their 45-31 win over Northwestern. The Bulldogs have three games slated for the month of November.
· The Bulldogs did not have the opportunity to continue their win streak last week as scheduled games against Briar Cliff and Presentation were postponed. Both matchups have been rescheduled for later this season. Prior to the schedule tweaks, Concordia had been living on the edge with three-straight wins by one-goal margins. During the week of Oct. 12, the Bulldogs moved their conference win streak to three with a pair of 1-0 victories – over College of Saint Mary (in overtime) on Oct. 14 and over Hastings on Oct. 17. In terms of overall points, Head Coach Thomas Goines’ squad is in first place with 18 points (6-2 GPAC record). However, Briar Cliff is currently 5-0 in conference play. It appears to be a wide open league in 2020. For more information on Concordia Women’s Soccer, click HERE.
· During the win streak, all three victories have come by one-goal margins, including the two overtime victories. The run began with the 2-1 overtime win over Jamestown on Oct. 10. Six of Concordia’s nine games have been decided by a single goal. The only exceptions were the 12-0 win at Mount Marty, the 2-0 victory over Northwestern and the 3-0 loss at Morningside. In other words, the Bulldogs have played plenty of games that could have swung either way.
· A different hero has emerged for the game winning goal in each of the past three wins. Mikeila Martinez produced the golden goal versus Jamestown before Cheyenne Smith did the same at College of Saint Mary. Concordia needed only the standard 90 minutes to get it done versus Hastings, although it took until the 83rd minute before Sydney Ross chased down a rebound and knocked in the lone goal of the game. Smith tops the team with two game winning goals this season while Grace Soenksen also has one.
· At this point in the season, it’s clear that the Bulldogs have come to hang their hat on strong defensive play as a unit. Through eight GPAC games, Concordia has allowed a combined five goals with three of them coming in one contest alone (at Morningside). Over the most recent week’s action, the Bulldogs allowed the Flames and Broncos a combined two shots on goal in more than 180 minutes of play. Concordia currently ranks third among GPAC squads with an average of 0.67 goals allowed per game.
· Senior goalkeeper Lindsey Carley barely had to break a sweat in collecting two more shutouts. She’s now the second goalkeeper in program history to record 20 or more shutouts for a career. Her 21 shutouts rank behind only Chrissy Lind (28) on the all-time list. From a statistical standpoint, Carley and Lind are most certainly the top two keepers in school history. Carley is the only Bulldog to ever earn GPAC Defensive Player of the Year accolades as she did in 2017 when the Bulldogs won the outright conference regular-season title.
· Concordia just may be about as good as anyone in the league now that Tori Cera is back on the field. The two-time first team All-GPAC performer missed this season’s first eight games before starting versus Hastings. Goines indicated that her presence produced a noticeable new energy for his team. Cera figures to play more and more minutes as she re-acclimates herself. The Las Vegas native has played all over the field in her career and can certainly help in the goal scoring department. Her 14 career goals are most of anyone on the current roster.
· Concordia still has a couple of home games left on the regular-season slate, but it decided to use this past Oct. 17 as senior day. The large senior class is nine deep and features the likes of Cera and fellow all-conference performer Michaela Twito. That group knows how significant a victory over Hastings is for the program. The Bulldogs and Broncos met in the 2014, 2017 and 2018 GPAC tournament title games. The latter two matchups resulted in heartbreak for Concordia. The Bulldogs had not beaten Hastings since the 2017 regular season.
· If Concordia is to make a run at a GPAC regular-season title, it likely needs to hold serve at home on Wednesday when Doane (0-7-3, 0-5-3 GPAC) will be at Bulldog Stadium for a 5:30 p.m. CT kickoff. Though winless this season, the Tigers have managed to draw with two opponents in a row – Midland and Dordt. Last season Concordia clipped Doane, 3-2, in double overtime thanks to a Twito golden goal. The Bulldogs will have the weekend off.
· The Bulldogs recently went through a stretch of having three games over an eight-day period (Oct. 10-17), but then did not play at all last week due to postponements of games scheduled with Briar Cliff and Presentation (makeup dates have been set for both matchups). That means that Concordia has not played since its 3-1 home loss to Hastings on Oct. 17. Thirteenth-year Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad stands at 6-2-1 overall and at 4-1-1 in conference play (13 points; third place). Despite last week’s inability to get on the field, the Bulldogs remain in line with most of the rest of the league in terms of number of GPAC matches played. For more information on Concordia Men’s Soccer, click HERE.
· The loss to the Broncos snapped a seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1) that began immediately following the season opening defeat against Bellevue University. During that seven-game stretch, the Bulldogs earned wins over MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.), Kansas Wesleyan University, Dordt, Northwestern, Dakota Wesleyan and Jamestown. They outscored those six foes by a combined total of 20-3. The streak nearly equaled the seven-game win streak Concordia had to begin the 2019 season.
· Hastings has been a longtime nemesis for the Bulldogs. The matchups between the two sides always seem to heighten the intensity. In last week’s clash, there were a combined seven cards issued – all in the second half. The Broncos have managed to avoid falling victim to Concordia ever since the Bulldogs surprised Hastings in the 2015 GPAC tournament championship game. The two sides went on to meet up in the conference title games of 2016 and 2017. The Broncos placed third in the GPAC regular season in 2019 but went on to reach the national championship game.
· During the six-game win streak, Concordia conceded a combined three goals. Over the past two contests, the Bulldogs have surrendered a combined five goals. It may prove to be just a blip considering Concordia has been a solid overall defensive team. Recently, freshman Iker Casanova won two GPAC Defensive Player of the Week awards as an anchor at center back. However, the Bulldogs have been without the services of starting center back Decker Mattimoe in recent action. Concordia currently ranks fourth in the GPAC in terms of goals allowed per game (1.22).
· Midfielder Carlos Orquiz has developed into a formidable weapon on the attacking end. He put away the team’s lone goal versus Hastings after being played an excellent pass from Garrett Perry. Orquiz has posted three goals and three assists on the year. Orquiz ranks behind only Perry and Moises Jacobo (five goals apiece) for the team lead in goal scoring. The Bulldogs have had nine unique goal scorers contribute to the team’s season total of 24 goals.
· Prior to kickoff versus Hastings, Concordia celebrated a senior class of six: Ethan Doyle, David Moreno, Jackson Myers, Perry, João Pedro Veríssimo and Trenton Williams. That group has helped the program to a combined record of 42-16-8 since the start of the 2017 season. The ’17 campaign was a fun one that saw the Bulldogs go 16-3-1 overall (school record for wins in a season). Perry was an honorable mention All-GPAC choice in 2019. Pedro Veríssimo is a key part of the back line and one of the team’s most respected leaders.
· It’s a challenge to break down the conference race considering the varying numbers of games played within the conference from team to team. Hastings is currently in first place at 7-0 with Briar Cliff (5-0) right behind it. Morningside (3-0) is the only other GPAC squad without a conference loss. The tie (at Mount Marty) and loss to Hastings two weeks ago may have taken Concordia out of the conference regular-season title race. There is often very little margin for error when it comes to pacing the league standings.
· A good start to the stretch run would be to earn a win at home on Wednesday when Doane (3-4, 3-4 GPAC) invades Bulldog Stadium for an 8 p.m. CT kickoff. Last year’s 3-0 Bulldog win over the Tigers was actually a departure from the usual tightly-contested meetings between the two programs. Then on Saturday, Concordia will play at Presentation (0-5, 0-5 GPAC) in a matchup originally slated to be played this past weekend. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. in Aberdeen, S.D.