|Oct. 10, 1997
Volleyball | Men's Golf | Women's Soccer | Women's Golf Title |
Women's golf takes MIAC by Kristen Young
It's difficult to determine what gave Concordia's golf team the bigger challenge at the tournament; other competitors or the weather. But despite the brutal conditions, the Cobbers brought home their sixth MIAC championship tournament win in seven years, and placed all six of Concordia's golfers in the tournament top ten.
The Cobbers capitalized on Saturday's 32 stroke advantage, and made Sunday's championship victory look easy. After 27 holes, they took the title with a total of 534, 46 strokes ahead of the second-place team.
But according to head coach Duane Siverson, the tournament was anything but easy.
The teams golfed in heavy rain, 40 mph winds, and at times, virtual darkness. "You had no idea where the golf ball was going," said Siverson. "You were at the mercy of the wind.
"It was like being in a monsoon," he continued. "It was terrible."
But Concordia must have done something right. Although unusually high scores raised the team's stroke average from 333.2 to 334.2, they lived up to their reputation as a perennial power and won the title.
"I admire them for how tough they worked," said Siverson. "Nobody has played in worse conditions than we played in. [Concordia's team] didn't complain, even though they didn't want to play." According to Siverson, the tournament should not have been played in such adverse conditions. "But when the decision was made [to play], we went out and killed everybody."
Siverson is as proud of the team's preparation as he is of their performance last weekend. Not only did the Cobbers beat everyone physically, but they beat everybody mentally as well, he said.
"Our whole team was definitely mentally prepared," said junior Nicole Koskey. "If we hadn't been mentally tough, there's no way [we would have won.]"
And not only did Concordia win, but they dominated the top ten.
"It's a great honor to be considered one of the best in the conference," said Siverson. "To have six [in the top ten] is beyond most people's imagination."
Carlin and Hanson tied for second place in the All-MIAC's top ten with two-day totals of 134. Carlin was pleased and a little surprised to finish in the top ten. "While I played I kept looking at my score, and I saw how badly I was doing," she said. "Then I realized everyone had to deal with the elements, and everyone did poorly."
This was the first MIAC championship tournament for Koskey, who placed fourth overall. In Saturday's extreme conditions, Koskey carded Concordia's highest score. But she was pleasantly surprised to learn that her 18-hole total of 95 was good enough for the tournament's top ten. She scored the lowest score Sunday and finished with 137 overall. Senior Jenny Dick rounded out the Cobber team with 142 for an eighth place finish.
On day two, strong winds and heavy rain reduced the tournament to 27 holes, with nine holes played Sunday.
According to Siverson, 27 holes must be played for a tournament to be officially recognized by the NCAA.
Although the season ended on a disappointing note score-wise, Siverson
said this tournament was a nice way to finish the season. With the exception
of the championship tournament, the team has had consistent team scores,
but up and down finishes. "They deserved this win after how hard they competed,"
he said. "We shouldn't have been playing at all [in such conditions]. It's
pretty amazing we scored as well as we did."
What was supposed to be a seasoned, veteran volleyball team this year didn't exactly pick up where they left off after last season. Although they didn't graduate any seniors last year, because of injuries and non-returners they started this season with four new starters and an unknown future.
Now, after 15 matches and a nearly balanced record, the team is starting to find its stride. "They're starting to feel comfortable with each other," said head coach Tim Mosser. "We're starting to take things to a whole new level."
"We had high expectations from the beginning because of the talent of our freshman," said junior Laurie Flick. "But we had some wrinkles to iron out, and we knew it would take awhile to get into it."
Judging by recent games, they're into it now. Concordia defeated St. Mary's 3-1 Saturday in Winona. The Cobbers won the first game 15-8, then fell to St. Mary's 11-15. Concordia came back 15-9 and 15-7 to take the match.
The team proved themselves again Wednesday in a 3-1 win over Bethel. Concordia racked up 107 digs, led by juniors Camille Graven, 19, and Amanda Glas, 17. Game scores were 16-14, 15-9, 12-15 and 17-15.
"I can hardly give enough praise to the team, especially freshmen Jessica Cousins and Stacy Davis," Mosser said after Wednesday's win. "They passed, hit and blocked well, and the team played outstanding defense. The defense won it for us."
Concordia's record is now 8-7 overall and 4-1 in the conference. According to Mosser, their record reflects their wins and losses, but it doesn't accurately reflect their season. "We've played some tough teams," he said. "We just haven't played as many matches as most of our opponents."
And although they have nearly as many losses as wins, the team is working hard and getting the job done.
"We set performance goals, not outcome goals," Mosser said. "We go hard and play well, and we believe the wins and losses will come."
Hamline, 0-5 in the conference, hosts Concordia next Wednesday. Looking at the team records, Concordia is likely to walk away with the win. But one thing Mosser has learned about the MIAC is any team can beat any other team on any given night. "You never know when a team will explode and pull one off," said Mosser. "Our goal is to try and play at a consistent level. We must always be sharp and always play our best."
Second, third, fourth and fifth. That's how the men's golf team ranked in their last four meets, respectively. After a disappointing 13th place finish at the Bemidji State Invitational, the Cobbers geared up for better finishes at the Erv Kaiser Invitational, St. John's Invitational and the Twin Cities Invitational and ended the season with a fifth place finish at the MIAC Championship.
Juniors Brandon Riddering and Mike Simonich, sophomores Jeremy Anderson and Matt Tharaldson and freshman Seth Johnson competed for the Cobbers in last weekend's tournament. Riddering led the Cobbers with a two-day total of 151 and placed ninth overall in individual scoring. Tharaldson followed with a score of 155.
According to Riddering, the team's fifth place was disappointing. "I golfed pretty well, but then as a team we didn't do as well as we could have," he said. "We expected to do better."
But Riddering noted that the team's placings throughout the season were better than they had anticipated. "If the coach had told us at the beginning of the season how we would place, we wouldn't have believed him," he said. "Next year we hope to be more consistent."
Gustavus Adolphus took top honors at the tournament, winning their second consecutive MIAC title.
A 1-0 win over Carleton College last weekend boosted the Cobbers to a 2-2 MIAC record, but a 3-0 conference loss to Macalester Wednesday brought their total conference losses to three.
Although the Cobbers came up short, the team was in high spirits after the game. "We played great defense, and it was mostly a defensive game," said junior Britt Nielsen. "They were a little quicker onto the ball and always one step ahead."
"There's a reason Macalester is number three in the country, and they showed it Wednesday," said head coach Dean Hashbarger.
"Every game is a learning game for us," Hashbarger continued. He then added that the Cobbers have the youngest starters in the conference. "We're young, and if we learn from teams like Macalester, we win too."
At roughly the midpoint of the season, Hashbarger says the team is headed in the right direction to meet their expectations, but he's not satisfied. "It's easy to step back and be satisfied," he said. "Once you're satisfied, you stop growing."
"We work them harder because we see their potential," he added.
The hard work Hashbarger and assistant coach Deb Hallquist demand shows in the improvements the team is making. With six new starters this season and only one senior, the team needed time to get used to each other's individual playing styles.
"We've grown a lot since the season started," said sophomore Julie Fretheim. "We realize we're young, and we're now getting used to how everyone plays."
In last Saturday's win over Carleton, sophomore Allison Smith scored the only goal of the game in the sixth minute of play. Smith scored off a corner kick by sophomore Julie Fretheim. Junior goalkeeper Amy Gentz had 12 saves and kept Carleton scoreless.
St. Mary's hosts the Cobbers Saturday for another conference match-up. "It's going to be a big game," said Smith. "If we can beat them, it will prove a lot."
According to Hashbarger, St. Mary's has traditionally had a strong women's soccer program and is 3-3 in the conference now. "It's tough to go to St. Mary's and come back with a win," he said.
"But we can do it," assured Fretheim. "We
have a lot of spirit and a lot of heart."