Nov. 22, 1996
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Men's Basketball Looking to be Tough After Last Season's Strong Finish
The Cobbers are coming off a season in which they finished 21-6 and 16-4 in the conference. Concordia was the MIAC playoff champion and competed in the NCAA tournament. Concordia lost to Gustavus in the first round of the national tournament, despite Concordia's victory over the Gusties in the conference tournament.
This year, the Cobbers return three starters: senior forward Daimen Crump, senior point guard Greg Dean, and senior forward Kevin Pearson. However, four key players graduated: Kenny Nelson, Jesse Williams, Jason Sorenson and Bryan Christianson.
"Losing those guys will hurt, but we have five new guys who can step up and play those positions," said Dean.
The team has high expectations after finishing top in the MIAC last year. However, Crump is expecting some changes because of the turnover.
"We lost our shot blocker and our three-point shooter. This year we are the smallest team in the league," Crump said. "However, we still have strong players in the post."
Dean is one of these strengths. Last year he was second in the MIAC in assists, with 7.5 per game, and he was named to the All-MIAC defensive team. He has also set school records for steals in a game, season, and career, scoring 11 steals against St. John's last year, 108 steals last season and 181 in his career.
Pearson will lead the defensive squad. Last season, he averaged 7.5 points and 5 rebounds per game and was one of the Cobbers strongest defenders.
Concordia will begin its season this weekend in a tournament against the New Jersey Institute of Technology. On Tuesday, the Cobbers take on cross-town rivals Moorhead State.
Men's Soccer Wins One, Loses One in NCAA Sends Soccer to NCAA
Menās soccer ended last weekend at the West Regional playoffs in Macalaster. On Saturday, the Cobbers defeated Macalaster College 2-1 in an overtime shootout to advance to Sundayās championship game against Luther College, which they lost 4-1. Concordia finished up the year with an overall record of 13-4-2.
On Saturday, the Cobbers got on the board first in the 14th minute with a goal, the second of the year by senior midfielder Pete Benson, assisted by Jamie Johnson. Macalaster came back to tie the game in the 70th minute.
After two halves of overtime, no team had scored, forcing a shootout. Forrest Olsen, Eric Berg, Jim Stone, and Brian Johnson scored goals, and Macalaster matched each shot.
Macalasterās fifth shot on the goal was stopped by senior goalie Chad Anderson. Benson then put in the Cobberās fifth shot for the 2-1 win.
"[Anderson] was sick all week, and then he came out of nowhere and played the best game he has ever played, making saves out of nowhere, and then the huge save in the shootout that gave us the chance to win," said head coach Jim Cella.
On Sunday, Concordia did not fare as well as it had hoped, losing 4-1 to Luther. Luther scored early, and Concordia never caught up.
Freshman forward Chad Fancher did net his third goal of the season in the 34th minute, giving the Cobberās their only goal. However, Luther scored twice in the second half to ice the victory, literally.
"The field on Saturday was like a skating rink, which hurt some of our guys who like to move laterally quickly; there was just no footing out there," Cella said.
Concordia will lose seven seniors this year, all of whom played a key role in the teamās success. Many underclassmen also played some big roles on this yearās team, and they will be back, along with newcomers drawn to the Cobbersā winning seasons.
"When I continue coaching, guys are going to be sick of hearing about the team of Ī96 and how successful they were, on and off the field," said Cella.
Senior midfielder Brian Johnson and Todd Hashbarger were the two selections from Concordia to be on the All-MIAC team, as chosen by conference coaches. However, as conference champs, the fact that Concordia only landed two out of 20 spots on the conference team is a mystery.
"We were a solid first place in the conference at 9-1, and we only got two players on the team," said Cella. "Maybe some coaches were trying to send us a message. However, these guys were more geared toward team success. The seniors have the best record in the MIAC as a group, and they have shown others what it takes."
Men's Hockey Hoping for MIAC Improvement
As the Cobber menās hockey team prepares to kick off its season this weekend with a two-game home stand against Marian College of Fon du Lac, Wisconsin, the teamās goals for the year sound like a laundry list of sports cliches: "work hard," "win early," "work as a team," "just play hockey," "donāt think like last year."
It is understandable that the team doesnāt want to think like last year, a season in which they posted a 3-21-1 record overall while going 2-14 in the conference. In hopes of improving, the Cobbers have set their goals high. According to junior forward Todd Hashbarger, the goal of the team is to be among "the top four teams in the MIAC and make the playoffs."
If that goal is to be realized, the few returning seniors on this young team will have to improve last yearsā performance. They include defensemen Ryan Johnson, winger Chris Thomes and forward Jeff Corkish, who returns after having racked up 27 points on 13 goals and 14 assists last season.
Two high-scoring juniors also return this year. Hashbarger scored 20 points on 6 goals and 14 assists last season, while winger Josh Brekke had four goals and tied for the team lead in assists with 14.
The team also returns four talented sophomore defenseman who saw signifigant ice time last season: Rory Kortan, Paul Bender, Justin Reinholz, and Corey Rapp. The net-minding duties will be split between juniors Peter Hamilton and Chris Horgan.
Wrestling : Intensity Key for Cobber Grapplers
"This may be going out on limb, but man for man, this is the best team weāve ever had," said head wrestling coach Doug Perry.
For Perry, this may not be such a stretch, as the Concordia wrestling team enters the 1996-97 wrestling season. The Cobber wrestling team kicked off its season last weekend at North Dakota State University sending four competitors to the Bison Open. Concordia sent sophomore Jeremy Hernandez at 118 lbs., junior Shawn Nicholas and freshman Brett Maki at 134 lbs. and junior Colby Marich at 150 lbs. to NDSU.
Hernandez, a former Montana State Champion, had not wrestled for two years. Although Hernandez suffered a 6-1 loss to NDSU wrestler Jeff Kapusta, a former national champion runner-up in Division II, Perry said he was impressed with Hernandezās performance at the Bison Open.
"Kapusta said heās one of the toughest kids heās ever wrestled," Perry said, "Weāll make Hernandezās name known."
Nicholas finished the meet with a 2-2 record, which included an overtime loss to the University of Minnesotaās Muarico Mora, 7-3. Maki finished the meet with a 1-2 record and Marich ended with an impressive 4-2 record. Within the conference, Perry expects to finish with a record equal to or better than last yearās finish.
"Of course our goal is to keep improving and be in the top three , if not beat everyone," Perry said.
The Cobber wrestling team finished third in the conference last year but is facing some tough competition this year. Augsburg has taken the conference title every year since 1973, except when St. Thomas prevailed in 1986.
"Well, theyāre national champions, but we will get a chance since we see them [Augsburg] so much," Perry said.
For Concordia that chance will come soon , this weekend during the Augsburg Open. "This weekend I want to wrestle everyone I can so I can see where I stand," Hernandez said.
According to Perry, itās the attitude of Hernandez and the whole team that should propel the team to a successful season.
"The thing that sets this team apart from others is the maturity and intensity," Perry said. "We get along great," Hernandez said, "If we have problems, we help each other." The team is led by four seasoned veterans: Nicholas, Marich, sophomore Nathan Reiff and senior Kevin Jackson.
"People whoāll come out to see us this year will have fun, guaranteed," Perry said. For Jackson, his senior year takes on special meaning. He started wrestling when he was a first-year student. At that time, he was one of two wrestlers on the team. "Weāre getting respect. Everyone on this team wants to win , weāre not going just going through the motions," Jackson said.
Volleyball: Drops in First Round of NCAA Playoffs
In In NCAA playoffs, Concordia womenās volleyball fell to St. Olaf in the first round. The Cobbers lost 14-16, 15-8, 15-8, and 15-2. St. Olaf went on to win round one and will be playing other regional winners in round two.
"We played really well in the first game. In the second, third, and fourth games, we didnāt stay as excited and they [St.Olaf] picked up the pace," said sophomore hitter Laura Reitmeier.
This was the Cobbersā second consecutive appearance at the NCAA playoffs. Despite the loss, the team members feel they had a solid season.
"We all get along really well. We had a lot of faith in each other. If there was ever a problem, we just look to each other," said junior hitter Leah Klevin.
The Cobbers expect a strong team next year, because all members will be returning. However, some members feel the connection is deeper than just experience on the same team. After playing on the same team for years, Reitmeier says there is an emotional connection among teammates as well.
"We wonāt be losing anybody. We know how each other plays, we know each othersā personalities," she said.
Junior setter Marsha Suko, junior hitter Angie Carlin and Reitmeier will be returning All-MIAC winners. This will be Carlinās third consecutive year, Sukoās second, and Reitmeierās first.
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