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Bulldog Weekly Report

Bulldog Weekly Report

Bulldogs rake in NAIA National awards: Over a nine-day period, Concordia Athletic teams have now been rewarded with three NAIA National Player of the Week awards. The run began with sophomore Jonah Weyand of the football program on Sept. 21 and continued the next day with freshman Gabi Nordaker of the volleyball program. Then on Tuesday (Sept. 29), sophomore Moises Jacobo of men’s soccer collected the NAIA National Offensive Player of the Week accolade. Seven different Bulldogs have garnered GPAC weekly awards over the past nine days.

Schedule changes prevalent in early going: A multitude of schedule changes have been announced recently, especially in the sports of women’s soccer and volleyball. Fans are encouraged to frequently review website schedules for potential changes and to stay tuned to @cunebulldogs on Twitter for the latest updates. Additionally, junior varsity football slated for this past Monday (Sept. 28) was wiped out. The volleyball program remains in line to host Midland on Wednesday before traveling to Dordt on Friday.

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.

Concordia Football delivers powerful message – Follow Us: Prior to the thrilling conclusion to the overtime win over Hastings, the Concordia Football Team delivered a powerful message. Before kickoff, a video played from the stadium videoboard with members of the team speaking about the unity within the program and how it can be applied to the nation. Players wrote the script for the video that was produced by Aaron Nix. It can be viewed HERE. While the video was played, the team took a knee. The Bulldogs then rose as one for the National Anthem in a show of their unity.

Shooting Sports captures first-ever conference title: The Concordia Shooting Sports program enjoyed a weekend to remember while winning the Prairie Circuit Classic Fall Championship this past weekend (Sept. 25-27) in North Platte, Neb. Twenty-nine Bulldogs contributed to the first-ever conference title in program history. Head Coach Scott Moniot’s squad cracked 2,277 targets while holding off Midland (2,257) and Connors State College (2,155) for the championship. Individually, Erin Lokke won the high overall title with an impressive score of 479/500. Lokke was one of eight Bulldogs to pick up all-conference honors. For additional details on the event, check out the event recap HERE. The program now gets set to host the Concordia Bulldog Sporting Invitational this Saturday and Sunday at Oak Creek Sporting Club in Brainard, Neb. The action is scheduled to get underway at 9 a.m. CT both days.

Tennis concludes fall portion of 2020-21 schedule: Head Coach David DeSimone’s tennis squads polished off the fall portion of their 2020-21 schedules this past weekend (Sept. 25-27) at the ITA Central Regional Championships hosted by Southwestern College in Winfield, Kan. A total of eight Bulldogs (four men and four women) competed at the event. The main highlights featured Isaac Howes reaching the finals of the singles consolation bracket and the doubles pair of Claudia Miranda Viera and Sofia Morales upsetting the No. 6 seed in the tournament. Action will resume in the spring semester of 2021. The spring schedule has not yet been announced.

Don’t forget about Taylor Cockerill: Yes, the Bulldog Women’s Basketball program said goodbye to a talented 2019-20 senior class, but the roster remains supremely talented. Don’t forget about Taylor Cockerill, the leading scorer for the 2018-19 national championship team. Cockerill missed all of last season due to injury but has returned for preseason workouts. Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad began official practice today (Sept. 29). For more on Cockerill and her hopes for this season, click HERE.

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.

Cross Country

·        Another meet championship was produced by the Bulldogs as they resumed their 2020 season last week at the Dean White Invited hosted by Doane. The Concordia women outpaced Doane by 28 points while taking first place at Dean White for the second year in a row. Meanwhile, the men placed second to the Tigers. This marked the third meet of the campaign for Head Coach Matt Beisel’s squads. For more on Bulldog Cross Country, click HERE.

·        On the women’s side, Concordia has become accustomed to winning meets. During the 2019 season, it captured first place at the Dean White Invite, Mount Marty Invite and the GPAC Championships. The victory at last year’s Dean White signaled a breakthrough for the program, which became a constant in the NAIA top 25 rankings for the remainder of the season. The Bulldogs wound up finishing 12th at nationals for the program’s best NAIA placement since 2005.

·        Both the men’s and women’s teams have placed in the top three of each of their meets this fall. The women have turned in place finishes of third at the Dordt Sunflower Open, second at the Bronco Stampede and first at the Dean White Invite. On the other hand, the men have placed third at the Sunflower Open, first at the Bronco Stampede and second at the Dean White Invite. The Concordia men have won the Bronco Stampede in two of the past three years.

·        Beisel was happy to have a more complete women’s team last week. Top runner Kylahn Heritage returned after missing the Bronco Stampede. She beat out all runners in a field of 76, with the exception of an unattached competitor, at the Dean White Invite by finishing the 5k race in 19:48.87. In addition, senior Sydney Clark (All-GPAC in 2019) made her season debut and clocked a time of 21:12.46 (12th place). The hope is that a return to full strength will help the Bulldogs close the gap on Dordt and Morningside, two teams that placed in front of them at the first meet of the season.

·        Sophomore Camden Sesna has been a machine on the men’s side. He’s paced the team at each of the first three meets and appears poised to stake a claim as one of the top runners in the GPAC. The native of Kearney, Neb., has turned in meet placements of 20th (26:34.84), 26:19.15 (eighth) and fourth (27:38.02), respectively, this season. Sesna wasn’t far off the two GPAC opponents who placed above him last week – Doane’s Thomas Oliver (27:22.32) and Mount Marty’s Brian Santiago (27:24.10).

·        Heritage and Sesna have separated themselves as the top Dawgs to this point. The rest of the women’s top five last week included Grace Reiman (20:13.36; fourth), Lydia Cook (21:04.67; eighth), Clark (21:12.46; 12th) and Abi DeLoach (21:19.34; 14th) with Amie Martin (21:19.34; 15th) close behind. On the men’s side, Sesna was followed by Owen Dawson (28:32.81; 11th), Jordan Lorenz (28:42.81; 12th), Antonio Blaine (28:45.00; 14th) and Ethan Hensley (29:27.09; 20th).

·        The women have not been beaten by a fellow GPAC squad since the Dordt Sunflower Opener. At the Dean White Invite they outran conference competition in Doane (second), College of Saint Mary (third), Midland (fourth) and Mount Marty (sixth). The Bulldogs also defeated NAIA squads in Grand View University (fifth) and Peru State College (seventh). On the other hand, the men lagged behind Doane last week after beating the Tigers at the Bronco Stampede. At the Dean White Invite, Concordia placed above Grand View (third), Bellevue University (fourth), Mount Marty (fifth) and Peru State (sixth).

·        The Bulldogs will be in action for a second week in a row. They are prepping for Saturday’s Briar Cliff Invitational to be held at Adams Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, S.D. Race time is set for 10 a.m. CT. Unusual circumstances at this meet last year resulted in there being no team standings on the women’s side. The men placed sixth out of 14 teams at last year’s Briar Cliff Invite.

Golf

·        An intense stretch of competition has continued for the men’s and women’s golf programs. It’s been a nice run over the past week for the Concordia women, who won the Matthew Goette Classic (Sept. 22) and placed second at the Buena Vista Fall Invite (Sept. 26). Meanwhile, the men placed fifth at last week’s Ottawa Fall Invite and then began GPAC Championship action this Monday. The conference tournament resumed today (Sept. 29) in Elkhorn, Neb. For more on Bulldog Golf click here: Men | Women.

·        Sophomore (in terms of eligibility) Kendra Placke has been on a roll. Her place finishes the past three tournaments have been: first at the Lila Frommelt Classic, second at the Goette Classic and first at the Buena Vista Invite. During that four-round run, Placke has turned in 18-hole scores of 72, 77, 83 and 77. The 72-77–149 she carded at the Frommelt Classic represented a school record for a 36-hole tournament. The Seward High School product now sports a season average of 78.7, which would be a program record for a single season.

·        Placke’s achievements are worth another bullet point. She is the reigning GPAC Golfer of the Week. The two-time All-GPAC honoree has placed inside the top 10 in 15 of 17 career tournaments. She now has three career tournament wins, including last year’s Nebraska Wesleyan Fall Classic. Of the five scores of 79 or better carded by Bulldogs this fall, Placke is responsible for four of them.

·        Placke and her teammates are moving closer towards the type of form that could make them a top two team in the GPAC in 2020-21. In an event with higher scores across the board, Concordia shot a team total of 357 while winning the Goette Classic. A better performance on the back nine would have given the Bulldogs a shot at also winning the Buena Vista Invite. They shot a 343 and placed as the runner up to Wartburg College (Iowa). The team average now stands at 348.7 through six fall rounds.

·        Andrea Peterson (88; fourth) and Lauren Havlat (90; ninth) joined Placke in the top 10 of the Goette Classic leaderboard. Peterson (86.8 season average) and Havlat (89.0) have been the team’s Nos. 2 and 3 golfers this season behind Placke. Peterson (season low of 79) and Havlat (season low of 82) have also shown the potential to shoot in the high 70s/low 80s when things are clicking. Muller believes the key is in continued improvement in the short game.

·        The men’s team has some work to do if it wants to improve upon last season’s GPAC finish of seventh place. After Monday’s round, Concordia found itself in ninth place with a team score of 342. Muller’s lineup of five at the conference championships includes Drew D’Ercole (80; T-23rd), Jack Williams (85; T-38th), Ivan Yabut (87; T-41st), Jayden Neal (90; T-45th) and Jayden Neal (93; 50th). The Bulldogs entered the second round above Hastings (359) and Mount Marty (378).

·        At the beginning of last week, the Concordia men carded a two-round score of 304-311–615 at the Ottawa Fall Invitational in Lawrence, Kan. They finished 19 strokes behind tournament champion Kansas Wesleyan University. D’Ercole and Neal both either equaled or outperformed their career bests in a single round by shooting 73s on day one. D’Ercole (73-77–150) and Neal (73-78–151) were neck and neck on the individual leaderboard, which included 64 golfers. D’Ercole placed seventh and Neal 10th. It was the first career top-10 tournament placement for Neal. Freshman Ivan Yabut just missed the top 10 by carding a two-round score of 75-77–152 (tied for 17th).

·        The women will compete in their fall GPAC Championships next Monday-Tuesday (Oct. 5-6) in Dakota Dunes, S.D. On the other hand, the men have one even left this fall – the Nebraska Intercollegiate (Oct. 9-10) at Norfolk Country Club. Once fall action concludes, the Bulldogs will pack up their clubs until the spring semester. The spring 2021 schedule is yet to be released.

Football

·        The Bulldogs have found an identity they can lean on in 2020. The formula so far has included a strong running game, stout defense and taking care of the football. That recipe again worked last week as Concordia went on the road and defeated Briar Cliff, 24-9. Head Coach Patrick Dabaerkow has his team out to a 3-0 start for the first time during his four seasons leading the program. The Bulldogs also own GPAC victories over Doane and Hastings. For more on Concordia Football, click HERE.

·        The 3-0 start is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, only two previous times during the GPAC era (2000-present) has the program opened up with a 3-0 record in conference play. The other two instances occurred in 2001 and 2013. Of course these Bulldogs would love to reach the heights of the ’01 squad that shared the GPAC title and went on to reach the quarterfinals of the NAIA playoffs. The ’13 team finished 7-4 overall after opening at 6-0. Currently, Concordia is the only GPAC team with a 3-0 mark. Dordt and Morningside are both 2-0.

·        It’s certainly true that Briar Cliff has struggled to get things going offensively – a struggle that plagued it throughout 2019 and so far in 2020. However, the Bulldogs took full advantage. The statistics last week were staggering. Concordia’s defense allowed only 171 total yards, nine first downs and seven points (two points came from a safety). In addition, the Bulldogs racked up five sacks with two apiece coming from Chase Hammons and Logan Kreizel and one from Caydren Cox. The Chargers were also a rough 5-for-17 on third down conversions and punted 12 times.

·        The Concordia offense managed to grind out 351 total yards with a balance between the run (179) and pass (172). With Jonah Weyand getting banged up, the Bulldogs used a committee approach in the backfield. Lyle Whitney (16 rushes for 73 yards and a touchdown), Martin Solano (nine rushes for 40 yards and a touchdown) and Weyand (nine rushes for 38 yards) each saw plenty of carries. Whitney and Solano both found the end zone for the first time in their careers. Weyand continues to lead the NAIA in rushing yards (384).

·        The big-play threat in the passing game has been receiver Korrell Koehlmoos, who now has 232 receiving yards on 10 catches this season. The junior from Pilger, Neb., made a crucial fourth-down catch in the overtime win over Hastings and last week went past 100 yards receiving. Last week versus Briar Cliff he hauled in a 61-yard reception on a field goal drive and had a touchdown snag that covered 26 yards. Koehlmoos has now gone over 1,000 receiving yards in his career.

·        The defense had to make do without All-American Lane Napier last week. Stirling Tonniges stepped into a starting inside linebacker role and the defense hardly missed a beat. Without Napier, Concordia has four new starters in that position group. Daberkow has been very complimentary of a group that has also featured Shayne Campbell, Cox and Jorge Ochoa. Opposing offenses have been limited to an average of 3.4 yards per carry.

·        It appears there will not be any official NAIA national rankings until the spring semester. Without the coaches’ poll, the most reliable rating comes from Massey Ratings (includes NAIA teams that are not playing this fall). In that particular ratings system, the Bulldogs have jumped up to No. 25 in the NAIA. The computer formula has three GPAC squads rated above Concordia: No. 1 Morningside, No. 14 Dordt and No. 16 Northwestern. Concordia has hopes of finishing as a nationally-ranked team for the first time since it ended 2016 at No. 19 in the poll.

·        Neither team turned the ball over in last week’s meeting in Sioux City. Ball security has been a key to the success of the Bulldogs. They have yet to lose a fumble or throw an interception this season. On the flip side, Concordia has intercepted two passes (AJ Jenkins and Jourdhin Smith) and has recovered one fumble on defense and one on special teams. Quarterback Blake Culbert has thrown 87 passes without a pick this season. Culbert has tossed a touchdown pass to Koehlmoos and another to Brady Fitzke.

·        It’s homecoming week on campus. The Bulldogs are getting set to host Jamestown (0-0) at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday. Due to postponements the past three weeks, the Jimmies have not yet opened the 2020 season. Last year’s Concordia-Jamestown matchup resulted in a 13-10 Jimmie victory occurring in a four-overtime slog in the mud. Jamestown finished last season at 2-9 overall (2-7 GPAC).

Women’s Soccer

·        It’s been an impressive start to GPAC play for the Bulldogs, who took care of business last week in earning two victories. Concordia won at Dordt, 1-0, on Sept. 23 before coming back home to claim a 2-0 triumph over Northwestern on Sept. 26. Head Coach Thomas Goines’ squad has now won three in a row since the 1-0 overtime loss to Bellevue University in the season opener. The Bulldogs are 3-0 in conference play (3-1 overall). For more information on Concordia Women’s Soccer, click HERE.

·        The Bulldogs have not allowed a single goal in conference play and have not conceded a goal during regulation at all through four outings. Among NAIA squads that have played at least four games, Concordia has been as stingy as any of them with an average of just 0.25 goals allowed per game. The Bulldogs limited the Red Raiders to just one shot attempt (saved by Lindsey Carley) for the entire 90 minutes. Last season Concordia surrendered an average of 1.47 goals per game (seventh in the GPAC).

·        Goines believes the presence of the veteran Carley in goal instills confidence in the entire team. The four-year starter has not necessarily been challenged a whole lot this season. She’s made 13 saves on the year while playing every minute in goal. The discussion about the program’s top goalkeeper ever really is a conversation between Carley and Chrissy Lind, a 2017 graduate. In 58 career games, Carley has been credited with 245 saves, 19 shutouts and a goals against average of 0.928.

·        Eleven Bulldogs have scored either one or two goals this season. That list includes: Jennika Chapman (two), Lina Kirst (two), Mikeila Martinez (two), Aliyah Aldama (one), Jaiden Beecher (one), Bethany Fuchs (one), Kadyn Lane (one), Sydney Rogers (one), Sydney Ross (one), Cheyenne Smith (one) and Grace Soenksen (one). The bulk of those goals came in the 12-0 victory at Mount Marty. Concordia is still waiting to get Tori Cera (14 career goals) back on the field.

·        Grace Soenksen is the last in a long line of Soenksens to play soccer at Concordia (there have been five different Soenksens to score a goal in a Bulldog uniform). Grace, another product of Lincoln Lutheran High School, was somewhat of a pleasant surprise last year as a freshman when she earned honorable mention All-GPAC accolades. She headed home the game-winning goal last week versus Northwestern for her second career goal. Soenksen has also been a key figure in the team’s success defensively at her center back position.

·        Lane got on the board with the first goal of her career by knocking in the second and final goal of the victory over Northwestern. It was set up by Fuchs, who hustled down the left wing and then crossed a pass to the middle of the field to set up Lane, lying in wait. Lane is the seventh Bulldog to notch the first goal of her career so far this season. She is a sophomore from Las Vegas. Cera and Ashley Camacho are also Las Vegas natives.

·        The start to this season is much more promising than a year ago when Concordia opened up at 0-6. However, success within conference play is nothing new for the program. The Bulldogs also started out 3-0 or better within GPAC play in 2017 and 2018. Since the start of the 2014 season, Concordia is 47-11-10 in conference regular-season action. During that time period, the program has also advanced to the GPAC postseason championship game five times with titles coming in 2014 and 2016.

·        The Bulldogs are preparing to play once this week – at home versus Dakota Wesleyan (4-0, 2-0 GPAC) at 5:30 p.m. as part of homecoming Saturday. Wednesday’s scheduled game at College of Saint Mary was postponed and reset for Oct. 14 in Omaha. Originally, Concordia was slated to play Midland this week. That matchup has been pushed back to Nov. 4.

Men’s Soccer

·        The Bulldogs have found a groove since dropping their season opener. The win streak has reached four following last week’s GPAC victories over Dordt, 4-1, (away) on Sept. 23 and over Northwestern, 4-0, (home) on Sept. 26. The week of dominance featured two different hat trick scorers for Concordia. Thirteenth-year Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad is now 4-1 overall and 2-0 within conference play. For more information on Bulldog Men’s Soccer, click HERE.

·        Since that 3-1 loss to Bellevue University on Sept. 9, Concordia has rolled while outscoring its opponents by a combined total of 14-2. The only two goals allowed have both come via penalty kicks. The current win streak has seen the Bulldogs knock off MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.), Kansas Wesleyan University, Dordt and Northwestern. The MNU and Dordt victories both came on the road. Concordia is 7-2 in nonconference games dating back to the start of last season.

·        Sophomore Moises Jacobo is a rising star who keeps putting goals away at an accelerating rate. He now has five goals this season (all scored over the past three outings) after a week that included a hat trick at Dordt and another goal versus Northwestern. This came after the Grand Island native was named the GPAC Offensive Player of the Week. Only three players in the NAIA have scored more goals than Jacobo, who now has 11 career goals as a Bulldog.

·        Not to be outdone, senior Garrett Perry produced the first hat trick of his career while burning the Red Raiders. The midfielder from Corona, Calif., became more of a scoring threat last season when he contributed five goals. He now has four this season and 12 for his career (53 games at Concordia). The second of Perry’s goals versus Northwestern was particularly noteworthy. He beat a defender one-on-one and then struck a frozen rope inside the left post.

·        Defensively, the Bulldogs have been quite stellar in the run of play. Incredibly, four of the five goals they have conceded have come via PK’s. That was the case for the only tally last week by an opponent. It came late in the game at Dordt with the outcome already decided. At keeper, freshman Federico Andrea Simonetti has allowed just a single goal in more than 330 minutes played. Last week he made a combined nine saves. Simonetti earned his first career shutout in the win over Northwestern.

·        Even within the GPAC there is a wide variance in terms of number of games played. Concordia remains on track to play the max number of regular-season games (14). Meanwhile, conference rivals such as Midland and Morningside have played just one game apiece. Among teams that have started conference play, four are currently unbeaten inside the GPAC: Hastings (4-0), Briar Cliff (3-0), Concordia (2-0) and Midland (1-0). Morningside is the reigning regular-season champion while Hastings is the defending postseason champion.

·        While Jacobo and Perry have emerged as the leading goal scorers so far, five other Bulldogs have found the back of the net this season, including Yessine Bessaies (one), David Moreno (one), Carlos Orquiz (one), Isaiah Shaddick (one) and Ryan Wokutch (two). Overall this season, Concordia has outscored its opponents, 15-5. During last season’s 10-6-2 run, the Bulldogs had a goal differential of plus-17 (38-21).

·        Just one GPAC test is on the slate this week. Concordia was planning to head to Midland (1-0, 1-0 GPAC) for a 7:30 p.m. CT kickoff on Wednesday, but that matchup has been postponed until Nov. 4. Next up (on homecoming Saturday), the Bulldogs will host Dakota Wesleyan (1-2, 0-1 GPAC) at 8 p.m. CT. In last season’s meeting, Concordia was upset by Dakota Wesleyan in Mitchell, 1-0, in the regular-season finale.

Volleyball

·        Following a two-match week, the Bulldogs went idle last week due to postponements from factors outside the team’s control Thus, Concordia has not played since its straight-sets victory over Hastings on Sept. 19. It was originally scheduled to play Mount Marty and College of Saint Mary last week. Through three matches this season, Head Coach Ben Boldt’s squad has not dropped a single set (wins over Midland, Doane and Hastings). This marks the first time the Bulldogs have started 3-0 in the GPAC under Boldt. For more information on Concordia Volleyball, click HERE.

·        The Bulldogs have turned the tables on their in-state GPAC rivals. Before wins last season over Hastings and Midland, Concordia had suffered eight-match series losing streaks against both opponents. The Bulldogs have now won back-to-back matchups with Midland and have taken two of the last three from Hastings. Meanwhile, Boldt’s program has triumphed in five-straight against Doane, including all three meetings in 2019. Currently, Concordia has won six matches in a row against in-state conference foes.

·        It’s early – and some NAIA programs around the nation aren’t playing – but the Bulldogs continue to rank highly on the national statistical leaderboards. As a team, Concordia sports NAIA national rankings of third in kills per set (14.67), fourth in hitting percentage (.291), 12th in blocks per set (2.33) and 13th in aces per set (2.0). On the NAIA individual ratings, Tara Callahan ranks first in assists per set (12.22), Gabi Nordaker ranks first in hitting percentage (.552), fourth in blocks per set (1.67) and 14th in kills per set (3.989), Camryn Opfer ranks 21st in hitting percentage (.344) and Marissa Hoerman ranks 29th in digs per set (5.11) and 15th in aces per set (0.67).

·        So far, no one has figured out Nordaker, who was named the NAIA National Attacker of the Week on Sept. 22. In the first three matches of her career, Nordaker has posted respective kill totals of 12, 10 and 13 to go along with respective hitting percentages of .545, .500 and .611. She also has piled up 15 total blocks. Her play has helped make up for the loss of All-American Emmie Noyd in the middle of the front row. As a prep at Millard West High School, Nordaker accumulated 733 kills, 312 blocks, 187 digs and 39 aces. She was also a letter winner in swimming and track and field.

·        During last season’s national tournament run, five Bulldogs reached the 200-kill mark. This team makes use of similar balance on the attack. Five individuals have at least 20 kills so far in 2020: Nordaker (35), Opfer (27), Kara Stark (24), Arleigh Costello (21) and Kalee Wiltfong (20). Those five players have accounted for 127 of the team’s total 132 kills. Costello enjoyed her best outing this season by notching nine kills on 20 swings versus Hastings. In the victory at Doane, five Concordia players recorded seven or more kills (three had exactly nine kills).

·        The Bulldogs look like an early contender in the GPAC title race. The program is 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 2005 (finished 9-7 in the GPAC). The next hurdles to clear in order to reach the standing goal of winning the GPAC may be Northwestern and Jamestown, the two squads that placed 1-2 in the final 2019 standings. The Red Raiders have not yet started conference play (due to postponements) and the Jimmies have played only twice 2020 (both matches this past weekend). Concordia (3-0) and Jamestown (2-0) are the only GPAC teams without a loss. In the history of the GPAC (2000-present), Concordia has one conference championship to its credit (2000 co-GPAC regular season champions).

·        Due to this season’s unique circumstances, there has yet to be an official national poll released by the NAIA. However, the NAIA did announce dates for the first conference (Oct. 12) and national (Oct. 14) polls of the 2020 season. By that point, the Bulldogs hope to have played three additional matches. It will be a difficult task to put together a national ranking considering less than half (107 of 222) of the NAIA volleyball teams listed on the official qualification plan have played this fall.

·        Callahan is not far off from becoming the third player in program history to reach 3,000 career assists. She stands at 2,864 entering the week. The only Bulldogs to produce more assists are Stacy Stuckenschmidt (4,949) and Alayna Kavanaugh (4,485). A native of Brady, Neb., Callahan racked up 1,299 assists last season for the fourth-highest single-season total in school history.

·        Fans are highly encouraged to check for the latest schedule updates prior to departing for a game. The slate continues to be reworked. Concordia is now scheduled to play at Dordt (5-1, 4-1 GPAC) at 7:30 p.m. CT on Friday (originally scheduled for Oct. 31). Prior to that match, the Bulldogs will host Midland (2-3, 1-2 GPAC) at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Concordia has won the last two meetings with the Warriors.

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