Cobber Men's Basketball |
Feb. 26, 1999 | Concordian | Cobber Sports |
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Men's basketball falls in final game
Senior Brian Kesselring scored 20 points in his final game as a Cobber Saturday, but it wasn't enough to save the men's basketball team from a season-ending loss to nationally-ranked Gustavus 85-71.
The team ended their season with six straight losses, and finished the year with a 5-19 overall record, including going 3-17 in the MIAC.
"We went into the game thinking we could beat them," Kesserling said. “There's no better way to end the season than to go up against one of the top teams in the nation. That's really the type of game we wanted to go out with."
Despite their win-loss record, the Cobbers made a vast improvement over last year's squad. No team came to Memorial Auditorium expecting an easy win.
"I thought the season ended fairly well. As far as wins and losses, it doesn't really reflect the improvements and strides the team made as a whole," Kesselring said.
After a strong season start, the team went on a six game losing streak. According to sophomore Garret Greterman, team members refusing to accept their role slowed the team's jelling process.
"When we first started everyone was looking for individual statistics. Coach sat us down and we all realized that we were all going for a team goal," Greterman said. "We really took a big step after that happened and we started playing better."
Kesselring's sentiments following his final game reflect the selfless attitude that the team waited too long to emulate.
"It was fortunate for me to have a game like that to end my career with," Kesselring said. "But, it would have been great to have a win. Personal achievements will only take you so far. If I had scored another 20, we would have won the game. You take everything with a grain of salt when you lose."
Kesselring led the team in scoring this season with 15 points per game. Greterman said that losing their leading scorer and team leader will be the one of team’s toughest challenges if they are going to be a contending MIAC team next year.
"He took us in and got us all ready to play this year,”Greterman said. “He was the person to look for on the offense. And he was a big leader on the floor for a lot of reasons. It's going to be big shoes to fill next year."
Kesselring has no regrets looking back on his career as a Cobber.
"It's definitely going to be a positive experience for me, Kesselring.
“When you look back 10, 20 years from now, the wins and losses kind of
get muddled up, and what really matters is the relationships you form with
the guys. We've been together a countless amount of hours working hard.
That's what you're going to remember, and that's what I remember right
now. It was a great ride to be playing college basketball.”
Women's basketball suffers one-point loss
Concordia’s women's basketball team played strong against Gustavus last Saturday, but came up one point short, 71-70.
Concordia led by as many as five in the first half but found themselves ahead by only one at halftime, 35-34. The Cobbers held the lead the entire second half until Gustavus tied it at 56 with six minutes left. With the score tied at 60, Gustavus went on an 8-3, but the Cobbers fought back. With 45 seconds remaining, sophomore Sarah Jacobson nailed two free throws to give the lead back to Concordia, 70-69. Gustavus then tied it up with one made free throw of their own.
It looked like the game would go into overtime, but a Gustavus player was fouled with two seconds remaining. With the double bonus in play, Gustavus had two chances to take the lead. The first free throw was no good, but Gustavus made the second to squeeze out a one-point victory as time expired.
With Gustavus at third place in the MIAC and Concordia in fifth, the Cobbers were proud of the way they played against the Gusties. "We all played really hard," freshmen Mandy Berggren said. "We played physical, and we played tough."
With playoff hopes out of sight, but two games left on the schedule, the Cobbers still hope to finish strong. With no seniors on the roster, Concordia will have all of their players returning next year.
"Even though we aren't going to the playoffs, we still need to play
our hardest, “said sophomore Jill Brown.
“Our team is pretty young so this year has been a learning experience for
Men's hockey playoff bound
The Cobber men’s hockey team advanced to the MIAC playoffs for the first time since the 1989-90 season with a 5-2 win over visiting Gustavus on Friday.
“It was a relief,” said sophomore Erik Nilsen. “It was a goal we had at the beginning of the season. It's something that we haven’t done in nine years, so it was a big deal for the team itself, and the coaching staff. Everyone was proud of the work we’ve done.”
The Cobbers (13-10-2, 9-5-2) maintained the advantage throughout the whole game on Friday. However, Gustavus battled back and matched each of Concordia’s goals, and the game went into the third period tied at two. The Cobbers scored three in the final period to cement a spot in post season play. Five different Cobbers had goals in the game. “Friday night was a big game, because we needed a win to make the playoffs,” Nilsen said. “We didn’t mess around. We just wanted to get that win behind us.”
While the team had assured themselves a spot in the top four MIAC teams, the pressure was not off them on Saturday afternoon.
Despite a 4-1 lead after one period, the third place Cobbers lost to Gustavus when the Gusties scored with five seconds remaining in the game. The 6-5 loss ended the Cobbers’ hopes of home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
“It was a bitter loss on Saturday,” said senior Paul Thacker. “And that’s not something that we wanted to end the season with. But, in the long run, it could be beneficial, because we’ve been playing extremely well, and it was probably good to have a game like that to get it out of our system. When not as much was at stake.”
The Cobbers will travel to St. John’s the weekend to take on the Johnnies in the first round of the MIAC playoffs.
“We played against them about a month ago, and we beat and tied them,” Nilsen said. “We feel confident because we know what they have, and we know that we have, and we know that we can match up against them and beat them.”
The two teams will play at least two games. If the Cobbers and St. John’s split, a third mini-game will be played to decide who advances to the finals. The mini-game is 20 minutes long, with unlimited sudden-death overtimes.
The winner of this weekend’s series will take on the winner of the St. Thomas and Augsburg series on March 5-6. The winner of the MIAC tournament receives an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. In order for the Cobbers to advance, Thacker said that they must keep themselves from getting comfortable with a lead and allow lapses in playing to occur. Nilsen said the team can take a lesson from the Gustavus series with them in to the playoffs.
“We’ve got to play all 60 minutes,” Nilsen said. “We can’t let up after one period and hope the just roll over and die. If we come into St. John’s and play really well in the first period, hopefully we can think back and say, ‘let’s not sit back and have this lapse now. Let’s not rest and hope that we’ll win. Let’s keep playing our game.”
Whether they have home ice advantage or not. The team feels confident in their ability to capture the MIAC championship.
“There have been coaches around the league that have seen us play other
teams, and they’ve said that we’re the team to beat,” Thacker said.
No story this week. The Cobbers were at MIAC
Championship meet the 18th -20th.
No story this week.
No story this week.