Concordia Has Talent to Surprise People in GPAC
Seward – Concordia may have only been picked to finish eighth in the GPAC preseason poll, but don’t let that fool you. There is a lot of talent back for the Bulldogs and they’re looking to take a bite out of anyone that overlooks them.
The amount of talent has led to some quality competition in the preseason under first-year coach Ben Boldt and he said there are some really competitive battles for starting spots going on right now.
“There is a lot of excitement in our gym this year. We are trying to channel that excitement in the right direction by focusing on our process every day. The GPAC is an amazing conference and we know it’s going to be a competitive season,” Boldt said. “Last year’s team had a lot of close matches and we are returning a lot of the core of the that team. Overall, I believe we are a versatile team. We have depth at our pins and in the back row. We are looking to push the tempo of the match, play inspiring defense, and win the serve/pass game. Wherever we end up at the end of the season will be the result of how well we can execute that focus.”
Concordia reached its first-ever NAIA National Tournament in 2015 with a senior-heavy team and then went 24-38 the next two years.
Here is a position-by-position look at Concordia University for 2018.
Tristin Mason, 5’6, Soph., Hampton, Neb.
Tara Callahan, 6’1, Soph., Brady, Neb.
Kaci Hohenthaner, 5’7, Jr., Council Bluffs, Iowa
Erin Johnson, 5’5, Fr., Daykin, Neb.
Emma Brand, 5’9, Jr., Springfield, Mo.
Callahan tallied 889 assists a year ago for the Bulldogs, but with her height, Concordia could look to a two-setter system to take advantage of her attacking skills at the net. Callahan also had 107 kills a year ago. Brand has had extensive playing time in her first two years, Hohenthaner is a transfer from Iowa Western while Mason (Hampton) and Johnson (Meridian) were both standouts in high school.
Lauren Cope, 5’10, Jr., Lincoln, Neb.
Alexa LaPlant, 5’10, Jr., Cypress, Texas
Arleigh Costello, 5’11, Fr., Gothenburg, Neb.
Kelsey Baarck, 5’10, Sr., Frankenmuth, Mich.
Morgan Nibbe, 6’1, Fr., Red Cloud, Neb.
Brooke Baugh, 6’0, Fr., Friend, Neb.
Erica Heinzerling, 5’11, Fr., Ankeny, Iowa
Maggie Durbin, 5’10, Soph., Omaha, Neb.
Jenna Habegger, 6’1, Sr., Pawnee City, Neb.
Kara Stark, 6’2, Soph., Frisco, Texas
Hannah Beethe, 5’8, Fr., Exeter, Neb.
Habegger had a breakout junior year for Concordia in 2017, finishing second on the team in kills with 219 while hitting .193. LaPlant led the team in kills with 247 a year ago while hitting .172 and had 233 kills as a freshman. Nibbe, the Class D-2 Player of the Year in Nebraksa, could potentially see time in the middle or at one of the pins while Stark is long on potential and is improving greatly. Heinzerling earned second-team All-State honors last season at Ankeny Centennial
Emmie Noyd, 6’2, Jr., Shelby, Neb.
Allison Echtenkamp, 5’9, Soph., Wayne, Neb.
Anna Lund, 6’0, Soph., Rochester, Minn.
Kayla Ernstmeyer, 5’9, Fr., Lincoln, Neb.
Noyd was one of the most efficient attackers in the GPAC last year, finishing with 176 kills with a .308 hitting percentage. She also had 15 solo blocks and 57 block assists while being named Second Team All-GPAC. Lund played in 21 matches a year ago and finished with 113 kills and six solo blocks. Echtenkamp did not see match action a year ago and Ernstmeyer comes in after starting for two years at Lincoln Lutheran.
Jenna Eller, 5’7, Jr., David City, Neb.
Harlie Himmelberg, 5’3, Jr., Lawrence, Neb.
Kaylie Dengel, 5’8, Jr., Bellevue, Neb.
Jadeyn Stutzman, 5’3, Fr., Grand Island, Neb.
Marissa Hoerman, 5’7, Soph., Evergreen, Colo.
Allison Klipp, 5’8, Soph., Tobias, Neb.
Morgan James, 5’7, Fr., Bellevue, Neb.
Raymi Marquardt, 5’5, Jr., Lincoln, Neb.
Hoerman is the top returning dig leader from last year for Concordia after having 224 a year ago. Eller and Himmelberg each had more than 130 digs in 2017. James was a standout at Bellevue West and Stutzman was a multi-year starter at libero for Grand Island Northwest.
Ally Glaser, 5’9, Fr., LaVista, Neb.
Katie Funk, 5’5, Jr., Clearwater, Neb.
Kelsey Higgins, 5’11, Sr., Valentine, Neb.
Madison Horne, 5’6, Sr., Exter, Neb.
Annie Schmidt, 5’11, Sr., Rifle, Colo.
Glaser is the only player on the roster officially listed as “utility” because of her ability to do just about anything. She was a back-row standout at Papillion-LaVista but also was used as a setter in the Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star Match this summer. She also played every position along the net during her club career. Horne had four assists and 13 digs a year ago.