News and notes:
Friedrich Arena: The arena housed within the Walz Human Performance Complex has a new name. In honor of Brian and Laurie Friedrich, it is now called Friedrich Arena. Brian Friedrich filled the role of Concordia University, Nebraska president from 2004 through the fall semester of 2019. Together, Brian and Laurie served Concordia for nearly 30 years. Brian is now the president at Concordia University, St. Paul. For reaction from Brian and Laurie on the arena naming, click HERE.
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.
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 conference regular seasons are complete. 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.
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/
· The Bulldogs are finished for the fall. They completed the GPAC regular season on a high note by taking out conference frontrunner and previously undefeated Briar Cliff, 1-0, on Nov. 14. Leading into that contest, Concordia had five idle days following a 5-0 win at Presentation on Nov. 8. In his first season as head coach of the program, Thomas Goines did a fine job this fall in leading the Bulldogs to a 9-2-1 GPAC record (9-3-1 overall). Concordia has guaranteed that it will place no lower than third in the GPAC. For more information on Bulldog Women’s Soccer, click HERE.
· As a program, Concordia’s level of respect has skyrocketed over the past seven seasons. Since the start of the 2014 campaign, the Bulldogs have put together a combined GPAC regular season record of 53-13-11. That run includes five appearances in the GPAC tournament title game with postseason championships captured in 2014 and 2016. Concordia also won the outright regular season title in 2017 when it went 9-0-1 in league play. With nine GPAC wins this in 2020, Concordia has equaled the program single-season record.
· The Bulldogs have reason to believe they can make a run when the GPAC tournament is held during the spring semester. Of the other three teams that will finish in the top four in the conference standings, Concordia has beaten two of them – Briar Cliff and Hastings. The Bulldogs beat both foes by 1-0 scores inside Bulldog Stadium. On the other hand, Morningside (9-1-1 GPAC) handed Concordia a 3-0 loss in Sioux City, Iowa, on Oct. 7. The three goals allowed represented a season high for Bulldog opponents. Seven of Concordia’s 12 GPAC games were decided by one-goal margins or by a tie.
· A handball in the box made all the difference against Briar Cliff. The call came immediately after a Bulldog throw-in with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation. Junior Mikeila Martinez broke the 0-0 deadlock by drilling the penalty kick for her second game-winning goal of the season. Martinez is a perfect 3-for-3 on PK opportunities this season and leads the team with seven goals this fall. The native of Fairfield, Calif., also scored the golden goal in the 2-1 overtime win over Jamestown on Oct. 10.
· Concordia has returned to being one of the top teams in the GPAC by playing exceptional defensively as a unit. The Bulldogs have shut out five of their last six opponents (eight clean sheets this season) and have allowed their foes an average of just 3.38 shots on goal per game. Among GPAC teams, Concordia ranks third in terms of fewest goals allowed per game (0.62). The Bulldogs have conceded more than one goal in only two games this season (3-0 loss at Morningside; 2-2 tie at Midland). In seven home games, Bulldog opponents managed just three total goals.
· As noted in this space previously, Concordia has ramped up its goal scoring considerably, as compared to 2019. Last season the Bulldogs produced 19 total goals over 19 games. In 13 games this fall, Concordia has racked up 34 goals. That number has been propped up significantly by wins of 12-0 over Mount Marty, 7-0 over Doane and 5-0 over Presentation. Individually, Martinez’s seven goals are followed in the team pecking order by Jaiden Beecher (four), Jennika Chapman (three) and Cheyenne Smith (three).
· Senior Lindsey Carley (fifth year at Concordia) continues to add to her impressive career totals. She now has 22 career shutouts. On the program’s all-time goalkeeper record book, Carley ranks No. 1 in goals against average (0.91), second in games played (67), second in minutes played (6,113), second in shutouts (22), second in save percentage (.811) and third in saves (266). This season, Carley ranks 25th nationally in goals against average (0.63).
· More action will be coming up in the spring semester. Dates for the conference tournament have not yet been announced. The Bulldogs expect to play multiple nonconference games (not yet scheduled) prior to the start of the GPAC tournament. The NAIA national tournament is set to begin with the opening round April 15-17, 2021, before play at the final site runs from April 27-May 3.
· An out-of-the-ordinary slate of November regular-season games continued last week as the GPAC slate winds down. Concordia suffered a 3-0 loss at Morningside on Nov. 11 before earning a 1-1 double overtime draw with Briar Cliff on Nov. 14. The latter contest marked the final home game of the fall for the Bulldogs, who still have hopes of hosting in the GPAC tournament quarterfinals next spring. With one game left this fall, 13th-year Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad is currently in fifth place in the GPAC at 6-2-2 (8-3-2 overall). For more information on Concordia Men’s Soccer, click HERE.
· The results last week were a blow to the Bulldogs’ chances of finishing in the top four of the GPAC. Mathematically, Concordia could still place as high as third, but it needs a win on Saturday and a lot of help. The hope for the Bulldogs is to beat presentation and to have Jamestown knock off Northwestern. In that case, Concordia’s 23 GPAC points would place it no worse than fourth. The Bulldogs will not be able to catch either Hastings (25 points) or Morningside (24 points).
· 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 and sixth. They will not place any lower than fifth in 2020. Another GPAC victory would equal the program record for conference wins in a season (currently held by the 2017 team that went 7-2 in league play). Of course the singular mountain top moment came in 2015 when the Bulldogs captured the GPAC tournament title.
· Concordia has been solid on the attack this season. The defeat at Morningside last week actually marked the first time this season that the Bulldogs have been shut out. Concordia has spread the goals around with 12 different players having found the back of the net at least once in 2020. Nine Bulldogs have put away at least two goals: Moises Jacobo (five), Garrett Perry (five), Ryan Wokutch (four), Carlos Orquiz (three), Yessine Bessaies (two), Daniel Campbell (two), Iker Casanova (two), Matt Schultz (two) and Isaiah Shaddick (two). Campbell notched Concordia’s lone goal last week.
· In conference games only, the Bulldogs have allowed an average of 1.20 goals per game, ranking fourth best among GPAC teams. The three goals scored by Morningside last week equaled a season high for Concordia opponents. The Bulldogs own shutout victories this season over Kansas Wesleyan University, 4-0, Northwestern, 4-0, Dakota Wesleyan, 2-0, and Midland, 1-0. The back line looked slightly different over the weekend with Concordia getting Decker Mattimoe back at center back alongside Matt Schultz.
· 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 108-59-21. 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. Concordia hopes to reach nine wins this fall before resuming the campaign during the spring 2021 semester.
· The 2020 edition of the Bulldogs owns a +15 goal differential (31 goals scored, 16 goals allowed). The previously mentioned 2017 squad has been the best during the Weides era in terms of goal differential. Other squads coached by Weides with a goal differential of +15 or better included the squads of 2011 (+25), 2016 (+19), 2015 (+18) and 2019 (+17). By comparison, 2020 GPAC leader Hastings currently has a margin of +30 (39 goals scored and nine goals allowed).
· Concordia will seek to finish the fall strong on Saturday when it plays at Presentation (0-9, 0-9 GPAC). Kickoff from Aberdeen, S.D., is set for 1 p.m. CT. Since the Saints joined the GPAC starting with the 2018 season, the Bulldogs have beaten them by scores of 7-0 and 9-0. Presentation has been mathematically eliminated from the conference tournament. After Saturday’s game, Concordia will take a break until the second semester.
· After a week off from competition, the Bulldogs returned to the mats this past weekend with a dual and a tournament, both located at Dakota Wesleyan in Mitchell, S.D. In the GPAC opener, Concordia 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 now 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 appear 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 last week’s dual. Telles is continuing the tradition of top-notch heavyweights at Concordia. He has run 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 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).
· Concordia has now 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 fluid. The Bulldogs will have this week off due to the cancellation of the University of Nebraska-Kearney Open that was slated to take place this Saturday. Next up on the schedule is a GPAC dual at Midland on Dec. 3. Concordia is scheduled to make its first home appearance of the season when it hosts Morningside on Dec. 10.
· Since last week’s update, the Bulldogs have played three times while opening up GPAC play. In recent action, Concordia suffered a 91-79 loss to Midland on Nov. 10 before claiming victories over Northwestern, 83-72, on Nov. 14 and over Peru State College, 80-58, on Nov. 16. The program made its first appearance at Peru State since 2007. Those results have moved 15th-year Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad to 2-3 overall (1-1 GPAC). For more information on Concordia Women’s Basketball, click HERE.
· The three-straight home losses to begin the season were a clear departure from the previous four campaigns when the Bulldogs went a combined 63-1 at home. However, Concordia showed positive signs in the back-to-back wins. The Bulldogs got back to dominating the turnover category, posting margins of +12 versus Northwestern and +7 at Peru State. Turnovers and rebounding (52-38 advantage) were the keys that led Concordia past the Bobcats despite a 5-for-30 performance from 3-point range.
· Taylor Cockerill continues to impress after missing last season due to injury. The Waverly High School product moved past 1,000 career points in the win over Northwestern. The scoring (22.6 points per game) has not been particularly surprising for one of the program’s best pure scorers. Perhaps even more impressive has been her relentless effort that has allowed her to average 9.2 rebounds per game through five contests. During Olson’s tenure, 14 different players have reached the 1,000-point mark. That list includes two transfers in Grace Barry and Dani Hoppes. Cockerill’s respective five-game scoring totals have been: 33, 23, 17, 25 and 15.
· Cockerill has a budding running mate in the backcourt in freshman Taysha Rushton. The Lubbock, Texas, native is still finding her stroke from the outside, but the talent is evident. Rushton is averaging 13.4 points per game while leading the team with 4.4 assists per outing. She’s made her first 17 attempts from the foul line as a collegiate player. Rushton knocked down a back-breaking trey to help put Northwestern away.
· Concordia nearly had three players notch double-doubles at Peru State: Cockerill (15 points, 13 rebounds), Mackenzie Koepke (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Chloe Schumacher (11 points, eight rebounds). Rylee Pauli also recorded seven points and seven rebounds. Koepke, Pauli and Schumacher each entered the program at the same time and all three are taking on increased roles this season. Pauli is being counted on as the team’s top post player. She is averaging 6.4 rebounds per game.
· The Bulldogs will be more dangerous when the perimeter shots start dropping. Through five games, Concordia has shot 24.7 percent (40-for-162) from 3-point range. Last season with a much different roster, the Bulldogs shot 33.0 percent from beyond the arc. It was an area of major advantage for Concordia, who made 341 3-point field goals compared to 206 treys knocked down by opponents. Koepke drilled four of the team’s five 3-point field goals at Peru State and has canned 137 triples in her career.
· The GPAC may be up for grabs this season after the Bulldogs have won each of the past four GPAC regular season and tournament titles. The only GPAC team that has not endured a loss to this point is Briar Cliff (3-0). Dakota State University (S.D.) has been successful against the GPAC having beaten Concordia, Dordt and Northwestern. No. 8 Dordt, No. 11 Concordia and No. 24 Morningside have each suffered upset losses against unranked opposition. The last team other than the Bulldogs to win a GPAC title was Morningside (swept 2015-16 league championships).
· More GPAC action is coming up this week. Concordia will be at Doane (3-1, 1-0 GPAC) for a 6 p.m. CT tipoff on Wednesday. Visiting fans will not be admitted into the contest. The Bulldogs have won eight in a row over the Tigers. Then on Saturday, Concordia will host Dordt (2-2, 1-0 GPAC) at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs have won four-straight meetings with the Defenders.
· The Bulldogs enjoyed a successful opening week of GPAC play at home by toppling Midland, 82-55, on Nov. 10 and Northwestern, 77-74, on Nov. 14. Since the season opening loss to Tabor College (Kan.), Concordia has won five-straight games, including four in a row at home. The Bulldogs are 2-0 in GPAC play for the first time since the 2012-13 campaign and for the first time under Head Coach Ben Limback. Concordia has moved to 5-1 overall. For more information on Bulldog Men’s Basketball, click HERE.
· A couple of different win streaks remain intact for the program, which has now won each of its last nine games against GPAC opponents. That string includes last season’s three GPAC tournament victories. In addition, Concordia now has a home winning streak of seven, dating back to January 2020. Broken down by series, the Bulldogs have taken four-straight over both Northwestern and Midland. Concordia defeated the Red Raiders three times last season.
· A big early season story has been the rebounding of junior Gage Smith, who pulled down 30 more rebounds during last week’s action. With 18 boards versus Northwestern, Smith nearly matched the 19 he had in the win over Manhattan Christian College (Kan.). The 6-foot-6 forward from Elizabeth, Colo., is averaging 12.3 rebounds per game (No. 2 in the GPAC and No. 11 nationally). Smith has already recorded four double-doubles. He has more rebounds (74) than points (60) this season.
· In terms of scoring, the Bulldogs were incredibly balanced last week with four players who scored 20 or more combined points in the wins over Midland/Northwestern: Sam Scarpelli (27), Carter Kent (26), Justin Wiersema (26) and Smith (20). All four are also averaging double figures on the season: Wiersema (16.3), Kent (13.5), Scarpelli (10.7) and Smith (10.0). That quartet has helped make up for the scoring production left behind by the graduation of 1,000-point scorers Tanner Shuck and Brevin Sloup.
· Scarpelli brought some swagger to the program when he transferred in last season from Clark Community College. The 5-foot-9, long-haired guard from Portland, Ore., made a key 3-pointer and had a crucial three-point play in the victory over Northwestern. His minutes have increased from an average of 18.9 per game last season to 28.7 per game this season. Scarpelli has delivered with a solid assist-to-turnover ratio (19 assists, 10 turnovers) in the point guard role.
· Limback has also been pleased with the work from the bench. From a number standpoint, freshman post player Cory Davila (7.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg) has been most productive. Davila has been efficient on the inside having shot 70.4 percent (19-for-27) from the floor. The team’s depth also improved last week with Ryan Holt returning from injury. Holt chipped in six points and three rebounds in the win over Northwestern. The top guards off the bench include Jackson Hirschfeld, AJ Watson and Grant Wragge.
· The lack of lofty preseason expectations outside the locker room seem to be added motivation. The Bulldogs were picked sixth in the GPAC despite placing fourth in the regular season and then winning the GPAC tournament last season. NAIA Hoops Report also put Concordia at sixth in its GPAC power rankings released last week. The win over Northwestern was an early feather in the cap. The Red Raiders appeared at No. 2 in the GPAC preseason poll and are receiving votes in the national rankings.
· Due to the postponement of the game that had been scheduled for at Doane (3-2, 0-0 GPAC) on Wednesday, the Bulldogs will play just once this week. That means Concordia will play a fifth-straight home game. Limback’s crew will host Dordt (5-0, 1-0 GPAC) at 4 p.m. CT on Saturday. The Defenders are also receiving votes in the national poll. Concordia and Dordt split last season’s two meetings with the home team winning in both instances.
· For the second time this season, the Bulldogs had a scheduled game postponed due to COVID-19 issues on the part of their opponents. Thus, Concordia and Midland did not play this past Saturday. A decision regarding a possible makeup date is expected to be made in the middle of this week. In their previously three outings, the Bulldogs were put through a gauntlet that included matchups with Northwestern, Dordt and Morningside. In its most recent game, Concordia fell at home, 56-22, at the hands of GPAC leading Morningside. Fourth-year Head Coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad owns a record of 4-3. For more information on Bulldog Football, click HERE.
· The Bulldog passing game did some nice things two weeks ago while exposing holes in the Mustang secondary. Senior Art Anderson (who plans to return next fall) is back in the mix after missing a good chunk of this season. He caught six passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. His 28-yard touchdown reception came in the second quarter with the help of a beautifully executed throw from quarterback Blake Culbert. Prior to the Morningside game, Anderson had caught just two passes on the season. In his career, the San Antonio native has recorded 76 receptions for 724 yards and four touchdowns.
· On a day when Concordia recognized its senior class, senior linebacker Lane Napier spent much of the afternoon chasing around Morningside’s talented skill players. Napier wound up with 17 tackles while pushing his career total to 387 tackles (a school record). Injuries have limited Napier in 2020, but he’s still managed to lead the team with 40 tackles this fall. The David City, Neb., native has earned first team All-GPAC honors three times and was named a first team All-American by the Associated Press in 2018.
· There may not be a more consistent performer on the roster than junior Garrett Schardt, who just might be the top tight end in the GPAC. He caught four passes for 65 yards and a touchdown against the Mustang defense. In the game’s opening touchdown drive, Schardt made a key 55-yard reception on third-and-seven to set the Bulldogs up with a first and goal. Over the past four games, Schardt has caught at least three passes each time out. He enjoyed a career day at Northwestern with seven receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns. On the season, Schardt has 22 catches for 374 yards and three scores.
· Speaking of pass catchers, junior Korrell Koehlmoos has been the team’s most reliable deep threat. One of his four receptions versus Morningside went for 48 yards and set up a field goal. Koehlmoos (1,347 career receiving yards) is nearing 1,500 career receiving yards, a number only five players in program history have achieved. The native of Pilger, Neb., may even have an outside shot of breaking the record held by Jared Garcia (2,495 yards). Koehlmoos is averaging 20.9 yards per reception this season and 15.1 yards per catch in his career.
· Opponents have been cracking down on Concordia’s running game. Morningside is known to have a stout run defense and held tailback Jonah Weyand to 37 yards (and a touchdown) on 17 carries. The Crete High School product has rushed for 556 yards and eight touchdowns on the season with a large portion of that production coming against Doane (169 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and Hastings (177 rushing yards, five touchdowns). Weyand earned NAIA National Offensive Player of the Week honors after his performance against Hastings.
· Quarterback Joe Dolincheck and the Morningside offense can make a solid defensive team like the Bulldogs look porous. Concordia entered the game allowing 19.8 points per game (tied for 11th fewest in the NAIA), but it could not get off the field last time out. The Mustangs did not punt a single time (muffed snap on only try). The only real defensive stop came from a Jayzen Armstrong interception (Concordia also recovered a muffed punt snap). Morningside was 6-for-14 on third downs, but it picked up almost all of those non-conversions on fourth down tries (6-for-7).
· The Bulldogs should certainly be well-rested having played only three games since Oct. 3 due to two postponements and a scheduled bye. Concordia will try this again on Saturday when it is scheduled to meet up with Dakota Wesleyan (3-5) for a 1 p.m. CT kickoff in Mitchell, S.D. This particular game was originally slated to be played on Oct. 10. The Bulldogs also may end up playing at Midland on Nov. 28, but that has not yet been finalized.
· While waiting to play one final GPAC regular-season match that was officially canceled on Monday, the Bulldogs have been idle since defeating Doane in straight sets on Oct. 29. That victory pushed the team’s win streak to five. Had things gone as planned, Concordia would have finished up for the fall back on Nov. 3 when it was scheduled to be at Hastings. No matter the result that could have been, Head Coach Ben Boldt’s squad was already locked into the No. 3 spot in the conference standings, behind Jamestown (15-1 GPAC) and Northwestern (13-3 GPAC). For more information on Concordia Volleyball, click HERE.
· For the second year in a row, the Bulldogs will finish in the top three of the final GPAC regular-season standings. The wins over College of Saint Mary/Doane (Oct. 28-29) guaranteed that Concordia could do no worse than the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament. That means the Bulldogs are certain to host a match in the GPAC tournament quarterfinals (which will take place in the spring semester). When Concordia placed third in the GPAC in 2019, it marked the program’s best conference finish since a second-place claim in 2001. The program remains in search of its first GPAC title (regular season or postseason) since 2000.
· The Bulldogs have achieved something that had not been done by the program in the era of 16-match conference regular seasons (2002-present). Concordia had never gone unbeaten against its Nebraska GPAC rivals during that timeframe. Currently, the Bulldogs are 7-0 against in-state foes having earned season sweeps of Midland, College of Saint Mary and Doane. Concordia also defeated Hastings at home in three sets on Sept. 19.
· One more victory would have given the Bulldogs a new program record for most conference wins in a season with 13. That total would have eclipsed the standard set by the 2015 national tournament team that went 12-4 within the GPAC. Concordia has had other recent double-figure GPAC win totals in 2014 (10-6) and 2019 (11-5). A member of the ’14 and ’15 teams happened to be inside Walz Arena on Oct. 29. Alum Claire White now serves as a graduate assistant for the Doane volleyball program.
· The word “balance” has become like a broken record for this team. From an attacking perspective, senior Kara Stark led the way with 19 kills over the two most recent victories. Four other Bulldogs had 14 or more kills: Arleigh Costello (17), Gabi Nordaker (16), Camryn Opfer (14) and Kalee Wiltfong (14). Each of the five aforementioned players have more than 115 kills on the season. Their totals are: Nordaker with 135, Stark with 133, Costello with 126, Opfer with 122 and Wiltfong with 116. The highest hitting percentage belongs to Wiltfong (.323).
· It did not take Ben Boldt long to reach the 50-win mark as head coach at Concordia. He is now 52-23 (.693) overall since taking over the program prior to the 2018 campaign. That winning percentage is the highest among head coaches in school history with at least 50 victories. The 25 wins posted by the 2019 squad were the second most for the program during the GPAC era. Current Concordia professor Vicki Boye (167-136) remains the program’s all-time winningest head coach. Next on the list is Rachel Miller (107 wins), a former All-American player for the Bulldogs.
· Concordia continues to own a large advantage in service. In the matchup with College of Saint Mary, the Bulldogs had seven aces compared to four errors while the Flames had no aces compared to three errors. The next evening, Concordia registered eight aces and six errors as Doane notched two aces and five errors. For the season, the Bulldogs have accumulated 108 aces (88 errors) while their opponents have just 43 aces (100 errors). Concordia ranks 16th nationally with 2.16 aces per set.
· A number of Bulldogs rank in the top five on the GPAC individual leaderboards, including Tristin Mason (first in aces per set), Marissa Hoerman (third in aces per set), Tara Callahan (third in aces per set), Nordaker (third in blocks per set) and Wiltfong (fifth in hitting percentage). Callahan ranks fifth nationally in assists per set (11.04). As a team, the Bulldogs lead the GPAC in assists per set (2.2) by a wide margin. The next closest is Midland (1.5).
· With the GPAC regular season now in the books, Concordia will wait until the spring semester to resume its 2020-21 season. Dates for the GPAC tournament have not yet been announced. However, the NAIA has set dates for the NAIA national tournament – April 17, 2021, for the opening round and April 27 – May 1, 2021, for action at the final site (Sioux City, Iowa).