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After Further Review: September sets the tone

Photo by Lane Schwartz
Photo by Lane Schwartz

Men's Soccer reaches top-25 status, Field Hockey and Triathlon begin programs, Football posts 2-1 record before bye week and Women's Tennis remains undefeated in this edition of After Further Review; looking back at the month of September.

It took years before the pieces finally fell in place for the Men's Soccer program, as they captured their first NACC regular season title or for that matter first conference regular season title since the 2004 season in 2015.

Coaches recruit pieces to fit the puzzle each season and for a variety of reasons – injuries, performance, etc. – the results don't always ensue as they hope. However, when the ball bounces the right way,the game seems so easy.

Ever since last season, the Falcons have been on a roll, posting a 23-4-1 record. What all coaches know is that a program has to be built from the ground up and Women's Tennis is another example of success. Men's Soccer has been so successful this season that they had garnered a top-25 ranking and were ranked in the region.

On the court, they won the NACC regular season and NACC Tournament titles a year ago and are well on their way to repeat with an undefeated record through the month of September. As well, the Falcons have lost just one league match on the court in the last 26 contests.

A pair of programs on their way to building a base of excellence are Concordia Wisconsin's Field Hockey and Triathlon program. Both are in their first season of competition and have shown success, despite their inexperience.

Men's and Women's Cross Country – Both Cross Country programs have each competed in three events during September and individual runners have posted several outstanding times. The Falcon women own a first place finish at the Ken Weidt Classic and a sixth place at the Roy Griak Invitational, while on the men's side they own a fifth and eighth place finish.

Highlighting the runners is junior Nora Imperl (Greenfield, Wis.) who won the Ken Weidt Classic with a time of 23:13.3 to best the field of 137 runners. She also took fourth at the Roy Griak Invitational, which 201 runners.

"The cross country season is off to a fantastic start for the men and women," head coach Russ DeLap said. "This is a great group to be coaching, as they work very hard and are dedicated to the sport We just need to stay healthy and I believe these teams are set up to do very well at conference this year."

Football – The Falcons are basically a defensive stop away from being 3-0 this season, but the game is a thin line and a 2-1 record isn't something to hang their heads about. They blew by Finlandia in the season opener, 34-14, before defeating Augsburg for the first time in program history, 24-14. The MIAA-NACC Challenge Series contest was unfavorable again with a 31-28 loss to Alma.

This season has been highlighted by Aaron Nixon passing to Dante Edwards on the offensive side of the ball, while the defense has held a pair of opponents from scoring much at all. Isaiah Tenette returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown against Alma and the defensive unit has accounted for eight turnovers.

"We have started successfully with a 2-1 record," head coach Greg Etter stated. "We are one play away from being undefeated, which is why we stress the importance of fundamentals and the little things. We are excited to get into NACC play following our bye week."

Men's Soccer – It doesn't take long to notice the Falcons are clicking on all cylinders this season, evident by their 8-2-0 overall record. They have held the opposition scoreless in two games and allowed just one score in four other victories.

Transfer Colin Dibb (junior, Hartland, Wis.) has been outstanding with seven goals and five assists (19 points) through nine games played. As well, sophomore Dagoberto Diaz (Woodburn, Ore.) and junior Luis Loya (Bolingbrook, Ill.) are offensive threats with 14 and 11 points, respectively. A multitude of defenders are shining and junior Killian Mielotz (Grafton, Wis.) has a .833 save percentage in goal.

"Our young men accomplished a lot in September, finishing the month at 8-1-0," head coach Tom Saleska said. "But one of our most important goals is to win conference and that's the challenge that lies ahead in October. Hopefully, we can continue to improve individually and collectively make that happen."

Women's Tennis – Concordia Wisconsin has made it look easy so far in September with a 6-0 overall record and a 5-0 mark in NACC play. They have recorded three shutout victories and had their most successful outcome at the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional and Gustie Fall Invitational this past weekend.

Overall, sophomore Bailey Kelly (Racine, Wis.) leads the way in singles play with a near unblemished 8-1 record. Moreso, four Falcons have a 5-0 singles record in league play. The doubles pairing of junior Sabine Jacobsen (Palatine, Ill.) and senior Michaela Wagner (Oswego, Ill.) have been nearly unstoppable with a 9-1 record.

"Our record speaks for itself," head coach Steve Anschutz stated. "We have played many NACC schools and have either won 9-0 or 7-2, which shows how talented we are. We need to keep playing hard to win the NACC title and repeat what we did last season."

Women's Soccer – The outcome can be decided by so little sometimes and the Falcons have been on the wrong end of too many games during the month of September. They lost all seven of their games by a goal.

Losses are never easy, but the schedule has been difficult, to say the least. Overall, Concordia Wisconsin has played against five teams in the regional rankings. The Falcons have five games of the next nine on the schedule in October at home, with all but one against NACC foes.

"We've certainly challenged ourselves this season with our non-conference schedule," head coach Ryan Middendorf said about the team's setbacks. "Having faced the adversity, we are now more capable and prepared to make a run at the conference championship and conference tournament championship."

Triathlon – Concordia Wisconsin's Triathlon program really has nothing to build on because the sport doesn't have many women competing at the collegiate level. The sport itself is on the NCAA's list of emerging female sports with the hopes of obtaining championship status in the future.

In the meantime, the Falcons are learning each and every day on how to train better and compete harder. All of the triathletes have shown success, but junior Mary Karsten (Waupun, Wis.) and freshman Meghan Klement (Muskego, Wis.) have stood out above the rest. Karsten owns a first and two-second place finishes in her age group, while Klement took first in her age group at the TriRock Triathlon.

"It's been a wild journey starting this program from scratch and there were a few speed bumps along the way. Now that we're a full month into the season things are starting to click for the team and the results are showing that. I'm jazzed with the progress the ladies have made and I'm looking forward to see what the future holds!"

Field Hockey – Like the Falcons Triathlon program, the Field Hockey team is building a program from scratch, but their difficulties also contain an unfathomable amount of travel. They have just one home game the entire season and have made road trips during September to Indiana (twice), Ohio (twice), Arkansas.

Despite the long hours on bus trips, the Falcons won a pair of games and will end September with a game at DePauw. They have been led by Rachel Scholz who has five goals (10 points). Defensively, it has been Kennedy Boyer and Alyssa Palmer who have split time in goal so far.

"In the first month of our inaugural season, we have spent long hours on the road, all while earning success and growing together as a team," head coach Samantha Landis stated. "We have faced strong competition so far, including a NCAA Division II team, and have more to come in the month of October. We have a unique team with mixed experience levels, but they never back down from an opponent, no matter who they are facing. The team's work ethic and team chemistry is the leading force for our early accomplishments. We look forward to even more success during the month of October as we continue to make history."

Men's and Women's Golf – Concordia Wisconsin has played a lot of golf during the month of September, with the men's team competing in seven tournament and the women in eight events. The Falcons rosters are the largest they have ever been and as a result, numerous Falcons have drove, chipped and putted their way into the lineup.

Freshman Sam Schlosser (West Bend, Wis.) leads the men's program with a 77.0 scoring average in six rounds, while sophomore Jacob Tenlen (Montreal, Wis.) isn't far behind with a 77.7 scoring average in six rounds. On the women's side junior Maddy Zastrow (Greendale, Wis.) is the team leader with a 94.2 scoring average in 10 rounds played.

"We have competed a lot during the month of September with mixed results," head coach Greg Nikolai stated. "I am happy with some of our results, but we need to compete at a higher level and find a way to put all facets of the game together during a round or tournament. When we do that our scores will be much lower."

Volleyball – Concordia Wisconsin had a successful month of September, posting an 11-5 record. Of those matches, all but two were in non-conference play to prepare the team for the NACC portion of the schedule. The Falcons did win a pair of league matches in September in easy fashion to move atop the standings.

One area Concordia Wisconsin is excelling at is blocking on the defensive side of the net. They are ranked 12th nationally in blocks per set (2.28) as of September 25 and junior Lauren Nevinski (New Berlin, Wis.) was 12th individually with a 1.26 blocks per set average.

"We are working on improving each day and each match," head coach Janelle Katz. "We have played some great competition and now will be getting into the grind of conference play. I feel like we are prepared to play at our top level and our goal is to be number one in the standings. We have talked a lot about mental toughness and staying in the present – not letting past losses or points affect our play in the now. Our team is ready to compete and improve each match!"

There have been numerous highlight real plays during the month of September, but none more outstanding than Diaz's game-winning bicycle kick to win the game in overtime for Men's Soccer against St. Mary's at home.

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