| Jan.23, 1998 Concordian
| Cobber Sports |
| Swimming | Women's BB | Women's Hockey |
Swimmers Swimmers make waves
at St. John's Invitational
The Concordia women's swimming and diving team is making waves in its pursuit for success. Concordia's team finished in fifth place out of 11 teams at last weekends St. John's and College of St. Benedict Swimming and Diving Invitational. In only their second season as a Concordia athletic team, the women have improved from a tenth place finish in the conference last year to a current ranking of fifth, according to Coach Connie Kirchoffner.
"It's good to see the team placing higher overall," Kirchoffner said. "We're doing very well against other colleges in Minnesota."
At the St. John's Invitational, University of North Dakota placed first with a score of 1,346 points. College of St. Benedict was second with 1011.50 points. St. Cloud State University and Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., finished second and third respectively. Concordia placed fifth with 310 which was a tie with fourth place Macalester College, St. Paul. Freshman
Shana Letnes finished in third place in the 100 meter breast stroke. She is four-tenths of a second away from qualifying for nationals in the 100 meter. Letnes is also only a half-second from qualifying in the 200 meter breast stroke.
"I'm really excited about it," Letnes said. "I'm pretty confident that I will qualify for nationals because we haven't tapered yet. I think my chances are pretty good."
Tapering the races means that the yardage the swimmers must swim in each race is decreased in order to increase race speeds, according to Letnes. Her goal, if she makes it to nationals, is to place in the top 16 swimmers in the 100 and 200 meter breast stroke events.
Freshman Carrie Bunger and sophomore Janey
Hill took fifth and sixth place respectively in the 1,650 meter race
at the St. John's Invitational.
The 200 meter medley relay team placed fifth at the invitational which is the best weve done in that event, according to Kirchoffner. Freshmen Lacy Wallace, Shana Letnes and seniors Becky Howard and Lindsey Bailey make up the relay team.
The season is far from over for the team. Their next meet will be on Jan. 27 at Moorhead High School with teams from Moorhead State University and St. Benedict's competing. They also have competitions scheduled for Jan. 31 at Macalester, a Feb. 5 home meet with MSU and a Feb. 7 home meet with St. Catherine's. On Feb. 19-21 the conference meet will be held at St. John's University. The NCAA Division III Women's Swimming and Diving Championships are March 12-14 in St. Louis, Mo.
Concordia women's basketball put on a spectacular offensive display as the Cobbers cruised to a 85-41 victory against Bethel Wednesday night. The Cobbers are now 10-4 overall and 8-3 in the MIAC conference.
The Cobbers showed a more aggressive style Wednesday than they did against Augsburg last Saturday. Freshman Sara Spears had 16 points, and Concordia's only senior Leah Sonstelie stepped up her play with 14 points. Concordia was more patient on offense, and they used the shot clock better.
"We worked the ball around better to get the easy shots," said Kathy Wall, head coach. "We passed the ball in and out until a good shot was open."
But Wednesday marked a different look for the Cobbers during Wednesday's game. There was a look in their eyes... they were ready to play Wednesday night. The Cobbers posted 32 defensive rebounds and 15 offensive rebounds. The Cobber defense didn't let Bethel get a good look at the basket all night as the Cobbers held Bethel to under 20 points. The Cobbers went into the locker room with a 40-16 lead at the half.
In the second half the offense shot 55 percent from the field. The Cobber offense wore down Bethel's defense with their new found patience. Midway through the second half, Wall pulled most of the starters to give them a rest and to give the bench some playing time. Concordia never looked back as they coasted to a seemingly effortless 85-41 pounding. On Saturday the Cobbers won a nail-biter 61-57. The Cobbers, young and inexperienced, showed their youthfulness when the team's offense sputtered with mental mistakes and missed opportunities. However, the team showed promise with their spectacular defensive plays.
Sonstelie led the Cobbers with 11 points with freshmen Rebecca Karli and Spears adding ten points each. Concordia stepped out to an early lead, but that lead quickly disappeared as the score was tied 12-12 midway through the first half with Augsburg putting on the pressure. Concordia had some mental mistakes as they were called twice for traveling.
Wall thought some of the trouble on offense
was caused by the team
The Cobbers dominated the boards again, grabbing 33 defensiverebounds. "We were able to control the boards because they were in a zone defense and were not able to box us out for the rebounds," said Wall.
Concordia led 34-22 despite only shooting 38 percent from the field. In the second half Concordia continued to have problems with turnovers and missed shots. Augsburg played a zone defense so Concordia again went to the outside shot. The defense kept up with Augsburg for much of the half, but looked tired in the last ten minutes, and Augsburg was able to get inside to the basket.
As Augsburg made a late run, Cobber fans got nervous as Augsburg cut Concordia's lead to five points with just under five minutes left to go in the game.
But the Cobbers held on with great defensive play to pull out a win in the final minutes.
"We kept our composure and didn't get tight when the game got tight for us," said Wall.
Girls just wanna have fun
The Concordia women are on the ice.
"It's a whole new experience," said sophomore Sara Al-Bassam. Senior Amy Hewitt, a hockey player from Canada, agrees. "It's about time we got this type of team here," she said. "I've been waiting four years for this. I hope it keeps going after I'm gone."
About 20 members practice Tuesday and Thursday nights at the Moorhead
Sports Center. Coach Cindy Johnson and assisting coach Paul Rickveil are
impressed with the practices so far. Johnson says the women are fired up,
working hard and showing a lot of enthusiasm.
When they first hit the ice on one Tuesday night practice, the differing ability levels were clear. As they lapped the rink, several appeared very comfortable and relaxed, concentrating on smooth turns, sudden stops and effortless transitions from forwards into backwards strides. Others were a bit more nervous. One woman skated carefully forwards around the rink, reluctant to try too many turns or stops this early in the practice.
Johnson says that the variety of ability levels in the club makes coaching a challenge sometimes, but for the most part it's working. She started at the beginning, with basic skills and drills. "You have to go back to the basics no matter how good you are," Johnson said.
"I suppose it's hard for Cindy sometimes, but I think everyone is learning fast," said freshman Jeni Nigg, seasoned hockey player and graduate of Moorhead Senior High. "It will even out soon."
Al-Bassam, new to hockey this year, said she's come to realize it's going to take time to catch on to the game. "It feels like were little kids. . . PeeWees," she said.
Hewitt stresses the support the members have for one another, regardless of their abilities. "There's too much support on the team to feel down," she said.
"It's nice to see how well it's working. I'm so impressed with how much we're learning," added senior Sarah Johnson, another first-time hockey player.
She feels that although the club is starting at the basics it is still
moving quickly. The first week of practice they skated. By week two they
added sticks and by week three they included pucks in their drills.
Even as quickly as it's going, sometimes Sarah Johnson can't wait to learn
skills faster. "You want to get a taste of it so you know what you have
to look forward to," she said.
Team members just got their equipment Monday, and games start this week. According to Sarah Johnson they play an F-M Women's team and Grand Forks next week. They are also planning to take a couple trips to The Cities to play junior varsity and club teams.
The new equipment has really helped during practices and added a new dimension to the way the game is played. "It's awesome," exclaimed Sarah Johnson. "It's a totally different game."
Although the delay for equipment delayed the start of game scheduling,
As her fellow club members skate laps around her, Sarah Johnson fits a shiny black helmet to her head. Rickveil assists, carefully adjusting her chin straps as she pulls back her hair, out of the way of the head gear.
The helmet is in place, and she nods her head up and down testing the
fit and accustoming herself with the equipment. A firm and encouraging
pat on the head from Rickveil and Sarah Johnson pushes off to join the
Several players have the same outlook. "I don't care if we win or lose," Hewitt said. "I just want to have fun."
"We just want to get everyone comfortable with the game this year," Nigg said.
Next year Coach Johnson wants the club to be more focused. "I want a competitive team at that point," she said.
Concordia's men's hockey coach Steve Baumgartner feels that the women's
team should do well in the Concordia and F-M communities. "Hockey is generally
received really well," he said. "There's enough people around here to support
both [mens and womens]."
A week after the Tuesday practice when the ability levels were so distinct, the club members are already beginning to blend. They skate hard through multiple drills, this time with sticks and pucks.
They line up at the goal line on one end of the rink and split into teams of three. Players from each team skate down to the opposite end, completing various turns and stick maneuvers around bright orange cones scattered on the ice. Upon crossing the blue line they pass to the next eager players. The women cheer each other on, regardless of teams. Their faces show a balance of excitement and determination.
Following the drill, Rickveil calls them to huddle around him a few feet from the net. He reviews their work of the day. Then he stops and takes a good look around. "Nobody's breathing heavy," he calls out. "Take one hard lap."
And with that the Concordia women end one of many practices scheduled
for this year and possibly years to come. Sarah Johnson said: "We're on