5 Things We Learned This Weekend – Jan. 20
5. It’s Better To Be Good Late
The Cobbers women’s basketball team has started to find their team M.O. (modus operandi for the new gerneration – Wiki it). In the past five games they have turned into the “Second Half Stoppers”. Jessica Rahman’s team has used their depth and pressure defense to wear down teams in the second half and steal wins in the final 10 minutes of play. Concordia has won five straight games and in three of those contests they were trailing at halftime. On Saturday they trailed nationally ranked St. Thomas 33-29 but then outscored the Tomcats 42-25 in the second period of play.
The bottom line for CC is that fans shouldn’t be concerned if the other team is doing well in the first half and is all pumped up about having a lead over the 11-3 Cobbers. Stick around until the final 10 minutes of the game now known as “Cobber Time”. Remember, there is a reason the games don’t end at halftime. Basketball games are a full 40 minutes and the final score is recorded at the end of both periods.
4. If One Good Goalie Is Great, Having Two Good Goalies Is Like Winning the Lottery
The Cobber women’s hockey team has the luxury of having two tremendous goalies. The position of hockey goalie is one of the single most important in all of college sports. A good goalie can literally give you 7-8 extra wins per season and help you make deep runs in the playoffs. It is rare for a team to have one of those game-stealing netminders but to have a pair in the same uniform happens about as often as Miley Cyrus has her tongue inside her mouth. Maddy Denny and Andrea Klug give Concordia two of the best goalies in the league. The best part of the Dynamic Duo is that they are only in their sophomore and freshman seasons.
3. You Can’t Coach Speed
Speed is the one characteristic that coaches can’t teach. Either you were born with the ability to run by opponents at will or you were saddled with CobberSID speed and have to rely on your wits. Cobber junior men’s track athlete Ben Vickstrom fits into the first category. On Saturday he set, not one but, two school records at the season-opening Bison Classic. He shattered the program record in the 60 meters and 200 meters and placed second in both events against NCAA Division competition. And that was the first meet of the year – we can’t wait to see what he will do for the rest of the season.
2. If You Want to Be in the Playoffs, Schedule Tough Non-Conference Opponents
There are two types of coaches in college – those that schedule easy non-conference games so they can boost their win total and those that schedule the toughest opponents they can find to help their team during conference play. The first group of coaches rarely make deep runs in the playoffs. The second group is usually at the top of the standings come playoff time.
We are learning all about this theory from this year’s Cobber wrestling and women’s hockey teams. Both programs had brutal opening schedules. They went up against the top teams in the country and both programs are starting to reap the rewards of that schedule. The wrestling team steps on the mat with the confidence that they will beat any opponent and is now 9-2 in dual meets. The women’s hockey team knows that they have been close with the top teams in the country and the remaining schedule will be a lot easier. They have two straight and three of their last five games. Look for both programs to be headed towards the postseason.
1. Coaches DO Matter
It’s one of the most debated topics in college athletics, especially at the Division I level – do coaches really warrant all that money and attention?
We won’t argue the points at the Division I level but we will tell you that coaches make a HUGE difference at the Division III level. Look no farther than the Cobber wrestling program. In five seasons since coming to Concordia, head coach Matt Nagel has helped produce a two-time national champion, multiple All-Americans and a team that is ranked in the top 20 of the nation every single season. His Dad, Clay was the driving force behind the rise to prominence for the Cobber wrestlers and Matt has carried on the tradition this year.
Concordia has now beaten perennial national power Augsburg in back-to-back duals and is justifiably ranked second in the nation. The coaching staff of Matt, Clay and Nick Magee are the reason the team is the talk of the town. They Do matter!
And that is what we learned this weekend.
A big week of home sports for Cobber teams this week. The No.2-ranked wrestling team kicks off the week by hosting Jamestown at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The women’s and men’s basketball team host Macalester in a doubleheader on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., the men’s hockey team hosts Augsburg in a weekend series on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m., the men’s and women’s track and field teams host their alumni meet on Saturday at 12 p.m. and then the women’s and men’s basketball teams finish off the annual “Buck Day” extravaganza by hosting Gustavus at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Feel free to drop off that 12-pack of Mountain Dew in the CobberSID office!