Cobber Football |
Sept. 10, 1999 Concordian | Cobber Sports |
| Football | Volleyball | Men's Soccer | Women's Soccer | Men's Cross Country | Women's Cross Country | Women's Golf | Men's Golf | Top |
Dragons rout Cobbers in Power Bowl
The Cobber football team, coming off a 4-5 record in the MIAC last season, is looking for leadership at the quarterback position after career yardage and touchdown passes record holder Ethan Pole graduated last year. Junior quarterback Rob Szymanski started in the Cobber’s 44-7 loss to Moorhead State University at the Fargodome Saturday, but senior Jeff Hertel also saw action coming off the bench to take over in the second half.
While head coach Jim Christopherson wouldn’t say there is a quarterback controversy, he did say that he isn’t sure which one will start against Bethel.
“A new quarterback always is really just feeling their way along, and getting their confidence up,” Christopherson said. “They made some obvious mistakes which we understand.”
Christopherson said that he thought that Hertel threw a little better than Szymanski, but Szymanski ran better than Hertel.
“We as coaches should have used the option more with Szymanski because that is his strength,” Christopherson said. “He is a good option quarterback. They are pretty even though.”
Christopherson hopes that the extra week off will help him decide
on the starting quarterback against Bethel during Family
Weekend. “Football-wise it is tough, but Hertel and I have a good friendship,”
Christopherson thought that the Cobbers should have played a better than they did in Saturday’s loss to MSU in the Powerbowl. This year’s annual meeting between Concordia and MSU was sponsored by Moorhead Public Service and Missouri River Energy Services and renamed the Powerbowl. In the 77 annual meetings with MSU, Concordia holds a 44-21-12 edge over the Dragons.
“I didn’t play up to par,” Szymanski said. “I don’t think we [as a team] were as prepared as we thought we were. We didn’t execute as well as we would have liked to. We didn’t move the ball at all. We were dropping balls and fumbling a lot.”
Concordia’s only score came in the second quarter after the Cobbers recovered a Dragon fumble on the eight yard line. Szymanski threw a pass to junior Jason Braaten to avoid being shutout.
“We were disappointed,” Christopherson said. “We thought we would defend them better than we did, but they were well prepared and their passing game hurt us a little more than we expected. It might have disrupted our defensive thinking against the option, especially the quarterback, who gained 190 yards rushing.”
The Dragons scored 14 points in each of the first three quarters and added a safety in the final quarter to finish off the Cobbers who are currently 0-1.
“We feel we can be contenders this year,” Christopherson said. “Our
defense and offensive lines are more solid than last year. we stood in
against a Division II team and that was no problem. Physically we are fine,
it is the tackling and some of those things we need to improve on.”
| 1999 Cobber
Volleyball opens season against Division II opponents
Even before conference play begins, it is already evident that this year's MIAC championship volleyball race is going to be a close one, according to Cobber head coach Tim Mosser.
Mosser said the conference has become so even that the title could belong to any of the contending teams.
"It's good to see because that means everyone has to be ready to play," Mosser said.
He added that the trophy will probably go to the team that is most consistent, something that Concordia is trying to work on this year. "We're a great team," Mosser said. "We just need to be a consistently great team."
Senior Anne Larson agrees.
"You can't underestimate any team in the MIAC," she said. "We can beat anyone, it just depends on who shows up to play." The Cobbers have started off the year with a 1-2 exhibition record, falling to both Moorhead State and University of North Dakota and defeating Northern Montana.
Larson said she is not disappointed with the two losses so far this season.
"We've played all Division II teams," she said. "It was a good showing of where we need to go and where we need to improve."
The Cobbers dropped their opening contest to Moorhead State in three games. Despite the loss, the Cobbs still managed to out hit the opposing Dragons. Larson led the way with 13 kills.
Mosser cited Larson as one of Concordia's key players. "She is extremely consistent and does everything well," he said. Larson again led the way for the Cobbs through a doubleheader last Friday. Their first challenge ended up in a victory over Northern Montana in a close, five-game match.
Junior Sam Scariano contributed 12 kills and four blocks, while Larson added 12 kills and three blocks. Junior Stacy Davis led the way defensively with 16 digs, while sophomore Kristy Anderson racked up 32 assists.
Later in the evening, the Cobbers met up with the UND Fighting Sioux, but lost three games to zero. Larson again dominated for the Cobbs along with junior Jessica Cousins with eight kills each. Anderson also added 24 assists and Davis racked up 13 digs.
The Cobbers will be opening their MIAC season on Tuesday against Augsburg
in Memorial Auditorium. With the title up for grabs, Mosser knows
they have to be prepared to play.
| 1999 Cobber
Men's Soccer |
Men's soccer looks to rebound from dissapointing season
The Cobber men’s soccer team began its recovery from an uncharacteristic losing season last year as they won the St. John’s University Tournament over the weekend. The team defeated Blair Cliff 3-0 on Saturday and tied Northland College at one goal apiece on Sunday to win the tournament with a 1-0-1 record. This is the second straight year that Concordia has won this championship.
Senior Chad Fancher said that last season served as a wake-up call for the Cobbers. He explained that many of the seniors on the team were on winning programs in high school and were members of winning squads for two years at Concordia. A losing season is not something they are willing to allow the team to tolerate.
Fancher, who led the Cobbers over the weekend with two goals on Saturday and the Cobber’s lone goal on Sunday, said he already sees a resemblance between this years team and the MIAC champions on which he played. “The big year was ‘96,” Fancher said. “I see the most resemblance to that year. We have a real strong freshman class, and strong leadership. Plus, they had a losing year two years before that, and the seniors would not let us forget that.”
Senior captain Dustin Holt also noticed that the team shares the essential qualities of a champion. Holt has seen improvement in the team’s intensity in practice, overall leadership, work ethic, and enthusiasm.
“This year will be a significant improvement,” Holt said. “We are capable of winning the MIAC this year. I’ve been on a championship team before, and we are a definite contender.”
Last season, the Cobbers were either tied or leading going into half time in 17 of their 18 games. The team lost ten of those games. Sophomore Chance Buzzell, who had two assists in Saturday’s win, credits those losses not to a lack of ability, but a lack of chemistry and mental toughness. Buzzell said that the team has made improvements in both of those areas.
“We’re going to to do great compared to last year,” Buzzell said. “A lot of guys have stepped it up. There’s a lot more camaraderie between teammates. We expect to be at the top of the MIAC.”
In addition to an increased mental maturity, head coach Jim Cella said the team is going to benefit from an increased focus on defense.
“One of our main goals is to shut teams down,” Buzzell said. “We have a lot of faith in our offense, but defense is what wins championships.” The Cobbers exhibited their increased defensive pressure over the weekend, holding Northland to only five shots, and enabling junior goalie Jared Stow to record his first collegiate shutout and win by holding Northlad to five shots once again. As Holt points out, the increased offensive output was a result of tough defense. “If we play defense right, the offense will be a natural biproduct,” Holt said.
According to Cella, everyone on the team knows how far this team will be able to go. It’s only a matter of turning that potential into a palpable on field performance.
| 1999 Cobber
Women's Soccer |
Unlikely stars lead Cobbers in impressive debut
Looking at Wednesday’s impressive showing, it doesn’t seem plausible that just days before the season began for Concordia's women's soccer team, they were left without a goalie. The beginning of a promising season was suddenly in peril. No one on the team had any recent experience tending the net, and the team had to scramble to find a replacement only one scrimmage before their first exhibition games against the University of Wisconsin - Stout on Saturday and Blair Cliff on Sunday.
Kristen Hetland, a senior who has spent her Cobber career mainly as a forward, was chosen by the team to start at goalie on Saturday. It was her fist experience as a college goalkeeper. Ninety minutes later, Hetland completed her first shutout as the Cobbers rolled past Stout, 4-0.
"I got nominated to play goalie, and I wasn't very excited about it," Hetland said. "I took the position for the good of the team, and our defense did a great job, so I didn't have to make any huge saves." The next day, Concordia started a different goalie with even less experience. Sophomore Kathy Braun, playing her first game of organized soccer since elementary school, drew upon her experiences as goalie for the women's hockey team and gave a strong performance in Concordia's 4-1 victory over Blair Cliff. She is slated to be the Cobbers goalie for the remainder of the season.
Braun's lack of experience is not from any lack of trying. "I love soccer," Braun said. "I've always wanted to play, but I have never had the opportunity. There wasn't a girls soccer program in my high school. They had an opening here, and they let me play." Hetland was once again a big factor in the Cobber's win. Showing her versatility, she contributed two goals and an assist to finish the weekend on a high note both personally and for the team.
"Kristen had an awesome series," said junior Whitney Ostrem, who had a goal in Saturday’s game. "You just can't get any better than that." Freshman Kendra Lee provided another pleasant surprise for the Cobbers, emerging as a team leader in her first weekend as a college soccer player. Lee scored two goals and passed for two assists in her first game as a Cobber, then chipped in a goal and an assist on Sunday. Lee, the team’s leading scorer, also scored three goals and passed for two assists on Wednesday.
Despite the original shock of being left without a goalie, Ostrem said that the experimentation and adjustments that the team was forced to go through made them stronger as a unit.
"It's exciting and fun for us," Ostrem said. "We stepped up to the challenge both offensively and defensively, to help our goalies." The team lost only three players to graduation last year, after finishing 7-11 and eighth in the MIAC. Although they are still considered a young team, Hetland said they are already gelling, and playing with good chemistry.
"We know how each other plays, and we can pump each other up when we are down," Hetland said. "We have a lot of potential to score and to win. We can challenge the better teams in the MIAC.” The Cobbers (3-0) will host St. Scholastica in an exhibition game on Sunday at 1:00.
| 1999 Cobber
Men's Cross Country |
Men's Cross Country overcomes the elements in victory
Concordia's men's cross country team trudged their way through five kilometers of rain, mud, and puddles at Itasca State Park en route to a narrow 27-28 victory over Bemidji on Saturday.
The race was the first of the year for the Cobbers, who are returning all but one runner from last year's squad.
Steve Edlund was the top placer for the Cobbers, finishing second out of 26 runners. Nine Cobbers finished in the top 15 places overall. "The conditions were really bad," said junior Chris Goebel, who placed fourth. "It was muddy and wet, but that made the race that much more fun, and that's how we looked at it. We just wanted to go out there and have fun."
Some team members actually felt that the adverse conditions were a benefit for the Cobbers.
"A lot of us like it when it rains, because we feel that it slows other teams down more than us," senior Gabe Arnston said. "We have the mental toughness to handle these sort of conditions."
Arnston is the lone senior on the team. He said that while he is the team's oldest member and captain, he is not their only leader. He points to the teams chemistry and bond as a reason to expect the team's steady improvement over the past three years to continue into this season. The team finished last in the MIAC in 1996, but improved drastically in 1997. Edlund credits extensive recruiting efforts for the original improvements. Concordia brought in a core of talented runners to the team as long-time track coach Garrick Larson took over head coaching responsibilities. This core produced drastic improvements in 1997 and 1998. Now, most of these students are in their junior year, and are looking to advance one step further, possibly finishing in the top three in the MIAC.
"We were a young team in the past couple of years," Edlund said. "Now we finally have the maturity as a team to show the underclassmen what to do. We also have a good freshman class coming in."
Before 1997, the team consisisted of only eight members, now the team numbers 21 runners. This newfound depth should be an advantage, because the team is scored by adding the finishes of their top runners. Besides gaining maturity, Goebel said the team has trained harder than ever for this year. Besides summer conditioning, the team has been practicing every day at 6 a.m. and again in the evening in preparation for a grueling MIAC schedule.
"The guys have practiced hard over the summer and put in a lot of miles," Goebel said. "We are hoping that translates into a high finish in the conference. We should take another step forward this year." The Cobbers will run next tonight at the St. John's Invitational in Collegeville, Minn. The Cobbers will get their first look at MIAC competition at the meet. All other races this year will be eight kilometers, approximately 5 miles, long.
Women's Cross Country |
Women's Cross Country flawless against Bemidji State
Rainy weather may have kept the football team from playing outside on Saturday, but it didn't stop Concordia’s women's cross country team from competing at Itasca State Park against Bemidji State.
"It was really muddy," said freshman Heather Schulstad. "We were plastered in it by the end of the race."
Concordia literally ran over Bemidji State, winning the meet 15-48. Cross Country is scored by adding each team's top five places together. Whoever has the lowest score wins. Concordia swept the top six places, so the team had a perfect score of fifteen.
Senior Barb Breidenbach won the meet, Junior Heidi Brenden finished second, Freshman. Katie Martin placed third, Junior Heather Brenden captured fourth, Junior Becky Frederick took fifth, and Schulstad filled sixth place.
Concordia also took places nine through eleven and thirteen through fifteen.
It was an impressive first meet for the team, who has a new head coach and not many new recruits. Marv Roeske, also the head women's track and field coach, took over Cross Country for the first time this year. Breidenbach "He's done a great job," Breidenbach said.
Roeske has already earned such honors as the 1998 Central Region Women's Track and Field Coach of the Year. He has also been the MIAC Women's Track and Field Coach of the Year for the past two years and has coached the 1998 and 1999 MIAC indoor championship teams and the 1999 MIAC outdoor championship team.
Roeske said both the women's track and cross country teams have the same outlook on what they want to accomplish and he sees a lot of the same faces in both sports.
“We work hard and have a good time," he says.
Both Roeske and Breidenbach felt the team was prepared for the season opener meet.
"People were ready," said Breidenbach. "They put on a lot of miles this summer."
Breidenbach alone ran around 630 miles throughout the summer months. Now the team's training regimen includes three-mile runs followed by weightlifting four mornings a week and long distance or speed workouts every evening.
An evening workout might be running to Hawley, Minn, taking the first three miles there easy and running the last three miles back hard. The team's next meet will be held at St. John's on Friday at 5:30 p.m. "We won it last year, so we're really excited for it," Breidenbach said. Schulstad said that Roeske has added some extra incentive for the team to win the meet.
"Marv said if we get four people in the top fifteen places, we can throw
him in the (St. John's) lake," Schulstad said. Roeske's reply? "All
I can say is that I'm ready to get wet."
Women's Golf |
Women golfers begin another title defense
Concordia’s women's golf team began yet another defense of the MIAC
title last Thursday at the UND Invite with a victory over three Division
The team, which has won four consecutive MIAC championships, entered their first meet of the season without practicing as a team due to inclimate weather. Even with the poor course conditions, the team managed to shoot a combined 334, their average score for last season. “There’s always that question mark there when you haven’t seen them play as a team,” said head coach Duane Siverson, who is entering his 21st year as coach. “The team practiced hard all summer, and they pulled together to battle the conditions well. They really love to play, so they are always working on their game in the summer.”
Senior Jenni Kovash, a 1998 MIAC medalist, led all players at the tournament with a score of 80. Kovash said that the team already has their sights on another MIAC championship and a chance to perform better at the National Tournament in the Spring.
“In the past four years, we haven’t been as successful as we have wanted at the tournament,” said senior Christie Strecker. “We want to make that tournament into something we can place at.”
The team placed third among Division III teams and tied for sixth out of ten teams overall last year. Siverson said that the team is excited this year because the tournament will divide Division II and III teams for the first time ever. He said the team is looking forward to competing with teams from their own division, rather than scholarship schools and schools that have the opportunity to play all winter.
Siverson said the team’s depth has been their strongest point throughout their current MIAC dynasty, and he expects it to be key once again as they battle an improved MIAC for their fifth straight conference title and their fourth consecutive Minnesota State Women’s Golf Tournament title.
“We should be just as strong this year if not stronger,” senior Kari Weidner said. “We have a lot of depth, with three seniors, a couple strong juniors and a new freshman [Tanya Ulvin] that is looking great.” Meets are scored by adding each teams four lowest scores. The bottom two scores are dropped. Senior Amber Severson said the team has the luxury of knowing that, if two players are having off days, the other team members have a history of stepping up and scoring low.
Strecker said that the team’s history as conference champs hasn’t added any pressure this season.
“Concordia has always been a strong team,” Strecker said. “We’ve always been the ones to beat, so we’re used to it. I don’t think there’s pressure there, we just go out and have fun.”
The teams continued success has proven to be a motivator and a source of pride to each team member, according to Weidner.
“We’re disappointed with anything besides first place,” Weidner said.
“With a team like this, we should be disappointed in anything less.” The
Cobbers are hosting the Concordia Invitational on Friday and the Concordia
Open on Saturday and Sunday.
Men's Golf |
No men's Concordian golf story this week. The
Cobbers open the season this weekend by hosting the Cobber open at
the Meadows Saturday and then taking part in the Bemidji State tournament
Sunday and Monday.