February 6, 2016

Concordia advances to NAIA D-II championship. Hastings comes up short in the semifinals

Concordia plays for their first national title (photo/NAIA.org)

Concordia plays for their first national title (photo/NAIA.org)

The Concordia women’s basketball team advanced to their first ever NAIA Division II national championship after winning their semifinal over Briar Cliff Iowa 72-62. The Bulldogs have made it to the semifinals in ’03, ’05 and ’12, but reach the finals for the first time and have a chance to bring Concordia their first national championship.

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We just missed out on having an all-Nebraska final. Hastings College was beat for the third time this season by Morningside, Iowa, 66-63 in the other semifinal. The Broncos made a great run, coming back from down 16 with just under six to play to have the ball with a chance to tie, but they turned it over in the closing seconds.

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Concordia will face Morningside for the fourth time this season

Hastings hires former star as new women’s hoops coach

Former Hastings basketball player Carrie Hofstetter has been named the new women’s basketball coach at Hastings College. Hofstetter graduated from Hastings in 2004 and replaces Jeff Dittman, who resigned to return to Dakota State as women’s basketball coach and athletic director. Hofstetter is a native of Edgar and played at Sandy Creek, helping her school to four state titles while never losing a single game. Hofstetter is a member of the Hastings College Hall of Fame.

Hastings can’t hold on after fast start

Hastings appeared to be in great position to claim an upset of third-ranked College of the Ozarks (Mo.) as the Broncos raced out to a 16-point early second half lead. Behind a throng of students who made the trip to Sioux City, the Lady Bobcats charged back and pulled out an anticlimactic 64-52 victory over Hastings in the second round of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship.

Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year Morgan Smith willed her team to victory. She scored 28 of the team’s 64 points and managed 12 of Ozarks’ 20 field goals. With her dominant play on the interior, the Lady Bobcats out-rebounded Hastings 48-36. Smith also poured in 10 points during the Lady Bobcats’ 24-5 run that put Ozarks on top 43-40 with 9:17 left in the game. Ozarks later followed that up with a 14-4 run that put the game out of reach with 1:25 to go.

Concordia and Hastings women win in first round NAIA action

Both Hastings (Neb.) and Tennessee Wesleyan struggled through a low-scoring first half in which neither team shot better than 37.5 percent from the field. The Broncos warmed up just enough in the second half to pull away from the Bulldogs for a 57-43 first round victory at the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship. Laurel Zwiener came off the bench to score 15 points. The Broncos finished with a 32-18 edge in points in the paint. Hastings (22-10) has advanced to Friday’s 1:45 p.m. second round game.

Concordia (Neb.) benefited from a dazzling display from its backcourt as it cruised to a 78-54 first round victory over Sterling (Kan.) on Thursday. Guard Katie Rich enjoyed a perfect shooting night off the bench for the Bulldogs on the way to a game-high 20 points. Rich shot 7-for-7 from the field, 5-for-5 from the free throw line and drained her only attempt from 3-point range. Rich also contributed eight rebounds and three steals. Concordia will advance to Friday’s 7 p.m. second round game.

Lincoln brothers begin their professional soccer careers

Two brothers started their Major League Soccer professional careers on Monday. First, Creighton start Tyler Polak was selected in the second round of Major League Soccer’s SuperDraft, then Tyler’s brother, Nate Polak, was taken in the fourth round of the MLS supplemental draft last Thursday.

Nate, a senior from Hastings College, becomes the first player in Great Plains Athletic Conference history to be picked in the MLS draft. Nate was named the GPAC offensive player of the year. The Polak kids are from Lincoln and played at Lincoln Pius X. Tyler will play in New England, Nate in New York.