HASTINGS, Neb. – Defending national champion and fourth-ranked Hastings set the tone on Wednesday night by hitting .500 in the opening set. The visiting Concordia University volleyball team got better as the match wore on, but the Bulldogs had to be at their best to take down the Broncos on the road. Hastings (17-1, 9-1 GPAC) remained in the hunt for another GPAC regular-season title with a 25-10, 25-14, 25-19 victory.
Sixth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad slipped to 5-15 overall and to 0-10 in the conference. A long stretch of home matches looms following this weekend.
“That was certainly national championship form by Hastings tonight,” Mattera said. “They were serving bullets and controlled the ball extremely well and every time we started getting some momentum, we'd catch a bad break or they would make a spectacular play. I was really proud of our fight in game three. We could have rolled over after what happened in one and two, but we didn't. There was some really good volleyball by both sides in the third. We can absolutely build on that and come out swinging on Saturday in Orange City.”
Mattera wasn’t joking about that Broncos serve game. Hastings pelted the floorboards with 15 aces and made it difficult for the Bulldogs to get into any sort of offensive rhythm. Jill Bax served eight aces by herself. That worked helped overcome just a so-so night for star Katie Placke, who totaled five kills and hit .167.
No individuals stood out from a statistical standpoint for Concordia. Sophomore Alex La Plant put down a team best six kills and freshman Anna Lund added five. Freshman Marissa Hoerman gave it a go after missing last week’s match with Doane. She shared a team high of six digs with Tara Callahan and Jenna Eller.
Another treacherous road trip awaits on Saturday. The Bulldogs will head to Orange City, Iowa, for a rematch with third-ranked Northwestern (21-2, 8-1 GPAC), which fell in four sets at No. 7 Dordt on Wednesday. Saturday’s match is set for a 3 p.m. CT first serve. Concordia won at Northwestern as recently as 2015. The Red Raiders, Defenders and Broncos all have just one loss apiece at the top of the league standings.