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Heath Hotzler, Published September 14 2007

Cobbers flattered as No. 1

Concordia volleyball coach Tim Mosser expected to be ranked as low as fourth in the preseason Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference coaches poll this season.

After all, Mosser figured, the Cobbers had lost two-thirds of their offense to graduation. Big, front-line hitters Becca Shane and Danielle Dahl, who combined for 700 of the team’s 1,520 total kills, were among the departing seniors.

Concordia’s top defensive specialist Anna Walden was also gone.

So it was a shock when Mosser received the coach’s picks and saw the Cobbers at No. 1.

“I think part of it was that people knew who we had coming back,” Mosser said. “But I don’t know if it wasn’t a measure of respect. The kids have worked hard to get the program to where it is.”

Concordia has started the season 6-3, with victories against No. 15 Ohio Northern and Division II Bemidji State. The Cobbers defeated St. Kate’s 3-0 on Wednesday in the team’s MIAC opener.

Mosser said the Cobbers have benefited from the early maturity of sophomores Dana Wermers and Erin Sykora and Angie Bonde, and freshman middle hitter Valerie Glynn.

Michelle Honek, the team’s lone senior, has stepped into the role of No. 1 offensive threat. The Staples-Motley (Minn.) High School graduate leads the Cobbers with 134 kills. Bonde is second on the team with 93kills.

“We are not what we always have been,” said Mosser, who is 275-173 in 15 seasons as the Cobbers coach. “In some ways we might actually be better. We focus more on defense. We don’t have the one or two terminators that we had last year. But we are more diverse.

“We are not as predictable as we were last season.”

Odds and ends

Jamestown College quarterback Tanner Kelting was named Dakota Athletic Conference offensive player of the week. Kelting finished 15 of 27 for 176 yards and two touchdowns in a 17-9 win over Division II Southwest Minnesota State. … Minnesota, Crookston and Crookston High School will co-host the Crookston Fall Sports Festival today and Saturday at the UMC campus. The free event will include instruction from Golden Eagles and Pirates athletes. … Concordia starting running back Cory Johnson, who is 762 yards shy of eclipsing the school’s career rushing leader, injured his hamstring on his first carry against Dickinson State last week. He will start against Bethel on Saturday, but may play a limited role. … Valley City State will induct Don Bauer, Bill Beranek, Shelley Cockerill, Bobby Hoffner and the school’s 1993 conference co-championship volleyball team into its Hall of Fame on Sept. 22. … Fox Sports Net North will televise the matchup between Division III power St. John’s and Wisconsin-River Falls at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Johnnies defeated River Falls 21-10 last week. FSN North will also televise the NSIC football game between defending league champion Bemidji State and Winona State live at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 20th.

Readers can reach Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562 or hhotzler@forumcomm.com. Hotzler’s small college blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com