Cobber Football Preview vs. Carleton

It’s hard to believe but Concordia’s game at Carleton marks the start of the second half of the season. The Cobbers are 3-2 in their first five games of the season and have three road games and two home games left in the 2011 campaign.

Saturday’s game will be about an irresistible force (the Concordia offense) meeting the immovable object (the Carleton defense).

The Cobber offense is second in the MIAC in total yards (423.2 ypg) while the Knight defense is second in the conference in yards allowed (265.2 ypg). The Cobbers are averaging 32.0 points per game and have only been held under 30 points this year while Carleton’s defense is giving up only 19.5 ppg and has only allowed one opponent to score more than 30 points in 2011. Finally, the CC offense has gained at least 400 yards in three of the five games while the Knights have held three of their four opponents under 300 yards of total offense. Something has to give.

This week’s game also features a team that has been tougher in the second half of games (Concordia – outscoring their opponents 90-47 in the second half) against a team that has been sprinting out of the gates (Carleton – outscoring their opponents 55-7). The Cobbers will be hoping to get to halftime with the lead as they are 3-0 this year when they lead at the break  and 0-2 when they are trailing.

The game will feature live stats and live audio. Both telecasts can be found on the Cobbers’ athletic site at: www.cord.edu/Athletics/live.php.

Complete Concordia/Carleton Gameday Preview

Cobber Volleyball Back In Top 10!

The Cobber volleyball team cracked the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) top 10 for the second time this season. Following their sweep over nationally-ranked St. Thomas, Concordia jumped into the No.10 spot in the latest national rankings.

Concordia is the top ranked team from the MIAC, Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) or Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) in this week’s national poll.

It is the second time in 2011 that the Cobbers have been ranked 10th in the Division III national poll. They climbed to No.10 on Sept. 20 but then fell back to the 12th spot last week after falling to Bethel 3-2.

Concordia is 14-3 on the season in overall games and 3-1 in MIAC play. The Cobbers are currently tied for first place with four other teams in the league standings. Of the team’s 14 wins this year, six have come against nationally ranked opponents.

The Cobbers are led by the senior quartet of Ashley Beseman, Jenna Green, Amy Sykora and Katie Vohnoutka. Vohnoutka was named the MIAC Hitter of the Week on Monday after hitting .381, putting down 11 kills and adding seven blocks and five digs in Concordia’s 3-0 sweep over nationally-ranked St. Thomas on Wednesday.

Concordia will return to action when they hit the road for their annual conference away doubleheader weekend. The Cobbers will play at St. Olaf on Friday night at 7 p.m. and then travel south to take on St. Mary’s on Saturday at 3 p.m.

AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll
2011 Week #5: October 4, 2011
1. Calvin (21) 15-0
2. Washington-St. Louis (3)17-0
3. Emory 20-1
4. Wittenberg 14-2
5. Eastern 18-1
6. Christopher Newport 18-2
7. Carthage 15-2
8. Heidelberg 18-2
9. Southwestern (Texas)17-2
10. Concordia (Minn.) 13-3
11. Juniata 14-4
12. St. Thomas (Minn.) 16-3
13. Colorado College 17-5
14. Cal Lutheran 13-4
15. Hope 12-3
16. Chicago 18-2
17. UMass-Boston 13-2
18. SUNY Cortland 21-1
19. Puget Sound 12-2
20. Springfield 16-0
21. Whitworth 11-4
22. UW-Whitewater 15-4
23. Pacific Lutheran 12-3
24. UW-Platteville 14-6
25. Elmhurst 13-4
Others Receiving Votes: McMurry 30; Wartburg 30; Bowdowin 26; Otterbein 16; Washington & Lee 16; Occidental 14; Bethany (WV) 6

Monday Mess – The Referee Edition

Every week the Concordia Sports Information Department takes a light-hearted look back at all the Cobber athletic activities from the previous weekend.

This week we highlight the Cobber women’s golf team who finished fourth at the MIAC Championship Meet. We also shine the spotlight on men’s golfer Pat Deitz who earned All-Conference honors for the second time in the past three years and uncover one of the unsung heroes on the volleyball team.

This week’s Monday Mess rant is dedicated to the most thankless job in all of sports. We chronicle the difficulty of being a referee at the high school or college level and wonder if the lack of younger officials could lead to the downfall of college athletics in the future.

Click on the link to read the full Monday Mess:
Monday Mess – The Referee Edition – Oct. 3, 2011

Football Preview vs. Gustavus

Concordia hits the road for their first conference away game of the season. The Cobbers will play at Gustavus on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1:30 p.m.

Concordia is 2-2 overall and 0-2 in the MIAC and has lost two straight games. CC will be looking for their first conference win of the season as they try and avenge a 38-14 defeat at the hands of the Gusties last season.

The Cobbers are third in the MIAC in total offense. CC is one of three teams in the MIAC averaging over 400 offensive yards per game. Concordia is averaging 414.2 yards per game in their first four games this year.

Gustavus heads into their annual homecoming game winless on the year. The Gusties dropped a pair of non-conference games before dropping their conference opener 44-26 at St. Olaf last weekend.

Gustavus is third in the MIAC in Red Zone offense. The good news is that they have converted on five of their eight chances inside the Red Zone. The bad news is that they are eighth out of nine teams in Red Zone chances.

The game will feature live stats and live audio. Both telecasts can be found on the Cobbers’ athletic site at: www.cord.edu/Athletics/live.php.

Complete Concordia/Gustavus Gameday Preview

Cobber Teams Anchored In DIII Top 25

Both the Cobber volleyball and women’s soccer teams stayed anchored in the top 25 of Division III. The CC volleyball team dropped a pair of spots and is now ranked 12th in the latest AVCA poll while the Cobber women’s soccer team is currently ranked 22nd after being ranked 16th last week.

The Concordia volleyball team is currently 13-3 on the season and is 2-1 in conference play. They have been ranked in the top 25 of the nation the entire season and have been nationally rated for 74 of the past 81 weeks. The Cobbers will host No.11-ranked St. Thomas on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. CC is coming off a 3-0 win over St. Kate’s on Saturday.

The Cobber women’s soccer team has also been ranked inside the top 25 the entire year. Concordia is 4-1-3 on the season. They will host St. Mary’s on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m.

AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll
Week #4: September 27, 2011
1. Calvin (22) 14-0
2. Washington-St. Louis (2) 14-0
3. Wittenberg 12-1
4. Emory 17-1
5. Eastern 15-1
6. Christopher Newport 14-2
7. Carthage 13-2
8. Heidelberg 13-2
9. Southwestern (Texas) 12-2
10. Juniata 10-4
11. St. Thomas (Minn.) 12-2
12. Concordia (Minn.) 12-3
13. Hope 12-2
14. Colorado College 13-4
15. Cal Lutheran 10-4
16. Chicago 15-1
17. Puget Sound 11-1
18. UMass-Boston 8-2
19. SUNY Cortland 17-0
20. Pacific Lutheran 10-2
21. Springfield 15-0
22. UW-Whitewater 10-4
23. UW-Platteville 10-5
24. Elmhurst 13-3
25. Occidental 9-4

Others Receiving Votes: Bethel (Minn.) 27; McMurry 15; Wartburg 13; Wisconsin-Oshkosh 13; Washington & Lee 12; Whitworth 10; Tufts 8; Bethany (WV) 6; Millikin 5; Coe 4; Alma 2

NCAA Rankings  National  Women
Division III  4th Poll  – September 27, 2011
1. Messiah (Pa.)    6-0-1
2. William Smith (N.Y.)    7-0-1
3. Wheaton (Ill.)  8-0-0
4. Emory (Ga.)   7-0-1
5. Trinity (Texas) 8-0-0
6. Johns Hopkins (Md.) 8-0-0
7. Williams (Mass.)  4-1-1
8. Hardin-Simmons (Texas)  6-1-0
9. Wartburg (Iowa)   7-0-1
10. Virginia Wesleyan  10-0-0
11. Illinois Wesleyan  7-1-0
12. Washington (Mo.) 7-1-0
13. Centre (Ky.)  6-1-0
14. Ithaca (N.Y.)   5-0-2
14. Transylvania (Ky.)  7-1-0
16. College of New Jersey 5-1-0
17. California Lutheran 7-1-0
18. Amherst (Mass.)  5-0-0
19. UW-Stevens Point 6-2-0
20. U. of Chicago  5-2-0
21. Wheaton (Mass.)  6-1-2
22. Concordia-Moorhead (Minn.) 4-0-3  
23. Union (N.Y.)  7-1-0
24. Skidmore (N.Y.) 6-2-0
25. Ohio Northern 5-1-2

Also receiving votes: Arcadia (Pa.), Tufts (Mass.), Roanoke (Va.), St. Olaf (Minn.), Puget Sound (Wash.), Haverford (Pa.)

Cobber Volleyball Ranked In Top 10!

After a five-year absence, Concordia has once again reached the top 10 in Division III volleyball. On the strength of their 3-1 record, and wins over the No.9 and No.12-ranked teams in the country, the Cobbers jumped into the top 10 of the nation in this week’s release of the AVCA DIII National Poll.

It is the first time that CC has been ranked in the top 10 of the nation since the end of the 2006 season when they spent the majority of the year perched in the top 10.

Concordia was ranked 15th last week but earned wins over #9 Juniata and #12 Colorado College to improve their overall season record 12-2 and jump five rankings slots. The Cobbers are now the highest ranked MIAC team. Defending MIAC regular-season champion St. Thomas dropped down to the No.12 spot after losing to Carthage (Ill.) and Southwestern (Texas) last week.

The Cobbers will now turn their attention to the bulk of the MIAC regular season. The Cobbers will play at Bethel on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. They will then return home to host St. Catherine on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 3 p.m.

AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll
1. Calvin (22) 11-0
2. Washington-St. Louis (2) 14-0
3. Wittenberg 8-1
4. Emory 13-1
5. Eastern 9-1
6. Christopher Newport 9-2
7. Carthage 11-2
8. Heidelberg 10-2
9. Southwestern (Texas) 9-2
10. Concordia (Minn.) 12-2
11. Juniata 6-4
12. St. Thomas (Minn.) 10-2
13. Hope 9-2
14. Colorado College 9-3
15. Cal Lutheran 7-4
16. Puget Sound 10-0
17. Chicago 11-0
18. UMass-Boston 5-2
19. Pacific Lutheran 9-1
20. SUNY Cortland 13-0
21. UW-Whitewater 8-3
22. Occidental 7-2
23. UW-Platteville 8-4
24. Wartburg 9-2
25. Springfield 10-0

Others Receiving Votes: MIT 21; Nebraska Wesleyan 20; Trinity (Texas) 20; Washington & Lee 15; St. Olaf 14; Coast Guard 12; Whitworth 11; Elmhurst 6; Bethany (WV) 2

Sykora Named MIAC Setter of the Week

MOORHEAD, Minn. (9/19/11)—Concordia senior Amy Sykora (Rapid City, S.D.) was named the MIAC Setter of the Week it was announced on Monday. Sykora had 143 assists, 36 digs, seven service aces and eight blocks in helping the Cobbers win four of their five matches on the week.

Sykora becomes the second player from Concordia to earn an MIAC weekly award. Last week fellow senior Jenna Green was named the MIAC Hitter of the Week.

No.15-ranked Concordia opened the week by sweeping Hamline in the conference opener. Sykora had 15 assists and eight digs as the Cobbers dispatched the Pipers in exactly one hour.

Sykora’s real worth to Concordia showed up in the Colorado College Invitational on Friday and Saturday where she helped the Cobbers go 3-1 and record a pair a wins over teams ranked in the top 12 of the country. For the weekend, Sykora had 128 assists, added seven service aces, 28 digs and seven blocks. Sykora has become a force in the Mile High state. As a freshman she was named the Tournament MVP at the Colorado College Invite.

The Cobbers beat Endicott (Mass.) and perennial national title contender Juniata on Friday. Against No.9-ranked Juniata, Sykora had a tournament-high 43 assists and chipped in seven kills and nine digs. It was the fourth time this year she has recorded a 40-plus assist total for a match.

Sykora then led the way on Saturday as the Cobbers beat No.12-ranked Colorado College in the final match of the tournament. She had 34 assists against the host Tigers and had three blocks and six digs.

Sykora currently leads the MIAC in overall assists. She has 448 assists in the team’s first 14 matches of the year. Sykora has also cemented her spot as one of the top 3 setters in the history of the program. She currently has 2,523 career assists and is 517 assists away from moving into second place on the school’s all-time assist list.

Concordia will now turn their attention to the bulk of the MIAC regular season. The Cobbers will play at Bethel on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. They will then return home to host St. Catherine on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 3 p.m.

Football Preview vs. St. John’s

Concordia-Moorhead opens MIAC conference play on Saturday, Sept. 17 when they host St. John’s at 1 p.m. at Jake Christiansen Stadium. The Cobbers are 2-0 on the year while the Johnnies are 1-1. Both teams are listed in the “also receiving votes” category in the latest D3football.com national poll.

Saturday’s game is the marquee match-up in the conference and should christen this year’s league schedule in champagne fashion.

The Cobbers enter Saturday’s game unbeaten, having downed Dickinson State at home and Buena Vista on the road. The 2-0 start for CC marks the third time in the past five years that the Cobbers have started the season with two straight wins. St. John’s heads to Moorhead with a 1-1 record and fresh off a tough 47-19 loss at home to UW-Eau Claire. The Johnnies opened the 2011 campaign by blanking Northwestern (Minn.).

Complete Concordia/St. John’s Gameday Preview

Hentges Named MIAC Defensive Player of the Week

Cobber sophomore defensive back Bryce Hentges (Sauk Centre, Minn.) was named the MIAC Defensive Player of the Week after his two-interception performance at Buena Vista on Saturday.

Hentges becomes the second consecutive Concordia player to earn MIAC defensive Player of the Week honors. Last week defensive end Robin Wisner collected the award.

Hentges, playing in his first game of the season after sitting out the opener with an injury, came away with two interceptions in the Cobbers’ 35-14 win at Buena Vista. He also had 6.0 tackles, including 4.0 solo tackles. Hentges’ first “pick” came on the Beavers’ very first drive of the game. After CC took a 7-0 lead, BVU drove the ball all the way down to the CC 20-yard-line. Hentges then leapt high in the air to corral a jump ball pass on the goal line which thwarted a would-be Buena Vista scoring drive.

His second interception of the game sealed the win for Concordia. The Cobbers had just taken a 28-14 lead on a 58-yard run by Trent Johnson and the BVU offense was trying to roll towards a TD that would bring them within seven points. Hentges then jumped one of the BVU’s wideouts routes on a third-and-10 play at the CC 31, picked off the pass and then raced 68 yards for the insurance score.

Overall, the Cobber defense only allowed 14 yards of rushing and 244 total yards of offense. CC has not allowed an opponent to gain more than 270 of total offense in the first two games and they have given up an average of only 13.5 points per game.

Concordia will open MIAC play by hosting perennial league power St. John’s on Saturday, September 17 at 1 p.m. at Jake Christiansen Stadium.

Cobber Women’s Soccer 2011 Preview

The 2011 women’s soccer season has been circled on every calendar in the MIAC as the one where Concordia will finally come back to the rest of the conference.

After watching last year’s seniors tear through the conference by winning 32 conference games, earning four MIAC regular season or playoff championships and making three trips to the NCAA Tournament the league is ready to take their swings at a program which lost 10 players to graduation. Not only did CC lose quantity from last year’s team which won the conference postseason tournament, they also lost a boatload of quality. Gone is two-time All-American Sam Johnson as well as four-time All-Region midfielder Sue Obermiller and two-time All-Region defender Erika Swenson.

The 2011 season might finally be the year where Weiler will finally have to coach instead of just filling out the lineup card and sitting down to watch a talented group of players overpower their opponent.

Despite the high turnover from 2010, there is still room for optimism in the Cobber camp. Concordia will return several players who have been solid players the past couple of seasons but have stood in the shadows of the class of 2011. The top two returners bookend the field and will give CC a solid core to build upon. Juniors Ali Nelson (Maple Grove, Minn.) and Sarah Rounds (Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata HS) are two-year starters who are ready to step forward and take over “star” status. Nelson has started in goal in 40 games over the past two seasons. She has amassed 18 shutouts over her career and has a career goals against average of 0.67. Last year she had a 0.69 GAA and was named to the NSCAA All-North Region Second Team. Rounds led the team in scoring in 2010 as she netted 13 goals and added nine assists. She has 64 points in her first two years in maroon and gold – a pace that is 17 better than Johnson had in her first two years. Rounds earned All-Region honors for the first time in her career last season.

The biggest whole to fill for the Cobbers will come in the midfield where the departure of Obermiller pn the wing and Abby Habein and Brittany Mayer in the middle will create a void in the Cobbers’ ability to keep possession and also slow down the opposing team’s offensive attack. The only returning starting midfield player for CC is sophomore Gina Weiss (Monticello, Minn.) who was fourth on the team in scoring with five goals and eight assists. Weiler will have to decide if he is going to train more experienced players who played other positions to take over the midfield or turn the center of the park over to newcomers.

Despite the lack of experience in the midfield, Concordia will return three of its four starting defenders. Senior Kelsey Swagger (Burnsville, Minn./Apple valley HS) as well as junior Nikole Koehn (Fargo, N.D./Fargo South HS) and sophomore Jessica Scherr (Great Falls, Mont.) have all started on the back line since they stepped on the CC campus. Swagger has been a starter for over 60 games and her presence on the wing will help the Cobber wing midfielders ease into the season. Koehn is the most versatile of the three as she can play in the middle or on the wing. Scherr has a year of experience under her belt and should make the loss of Swenson less severe.

The key for Weiler and the rest of the Cobbers will be to get through the early part of their conference schedule where they will face defending regular-season champion Carleton and last year’s MIAC semifinal foe St. Thomas in back-to-back games. Weiler will be hoping that tradition and experience in pressure situations will help Concordia continue their winning ways as they try and reload the dynasty they have established over the past seven years.

Complete 2011 MIAC Women’s Soccer Preview


2001 MIAC Women’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll

1. Carleton (10) – 120
2. Concordia (2) – 110
3. St. Thomas – 94
T4. Saint Benedict – 88
T4. St. Olaf – 88
6. Macalester – 76
T7. Augsburg – 50
T7. Bethel – 50
9. Gustavus – 39
10. Saint Mary’s – 30
11. St. Catherine – 24
12. Hamline – 23