SEWARD, Neb. – On an afternoon when the Concordia University volleyball team celebrated the careers of four seniors, it also finished off a perfect 3-0 week at home. Despite a bit of a slow start, the Bulldogs took care of visiting Mount Marty, 27-25, 25-19, 25-14 inside Walz Arena on Saturday (Oct. 21). Sophomore Emmie Noyd polished off a big week individually with 10 more kills.
Three-straight wins have put sixth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad into eighth place in the conference standings. Now 8-16 overall and 3-11 in conference play, Concordia hopes to remain inside the top eight in order to secure a spot in the GPAC tournament.
“You can start to see some of the stuff that’s coming,” Mattera said. “The pace to the outside really wasn’t connecting particularly well, but we started getting it right towards the third game. When we’re connecting we’re going to be really dangerous. That’s something we’re still working on. That’s something that’s a long process to really be consistent with.”
Over this week’s wins over College of Saint Mary, Dakota Wesleyan and Mount Marty, Noyd posted kill totals of 13, 11 and 10, respectively, while hitting better than .400 in each match. She hit .444 on Saturday, helping lead her side to a hitting percentage edge of .245 to .106.
Three other Bulldogs recorded six or more kills: junior Jenna Habegger (seven), senior Annie Friesen (six) and freshman Anna Lund (six). Friesen has collected 544 career kills and was a first team all-conference performer as a sophomore when the 2015 team reached the national tournament. Friesen is hoping to see her career extend into the postseason.
“It definitely feels good to get these three, but we want more,” Friesen said. “We have Grace coming up on Tuesday. Briar Cliff next weekend and we’re ready for a battle against Midland. We’re going to battle in the tournament. It’s going to be fun.”
Freshman Tara Callahan ended an extended rally in the opening set when she perfectly placed a kill. Concordia held off the Lancers (8-15, 1-12 GPAC) in that opening set despite six kills apiece from Laura Cattle and Rachel Reiff during that stretch. Concordia operated most efficiently in the third set, hitting .370 to put the match on ice.
The hope is that this week will carry the Bulldogs to a strong finish. Though there have been some trying times this season, Mattera has found reward in the process of growing a youthful squad.
“When you look at the record, it’s easy to say tough year,” Mattera said. “It’s actually been a really fun year. Nobody likes losing. We’re frustrated about the results, but this has been an incredible group to coach. Even during the losing streak, they were so much fun and ready to go. I’m proud of this group. I love coaching this team.”
Callahan finished with 31 assists, six digs and four kills. Freshman Marissa Hoerman topped the team with nine digs. On the other side of the net, Reiff paced Mount Marty with 11 kills. The lone Lancer GPAC victory came over College of Saint Mary.
Three matches remain on the regular-season schedule for the Bulldogs, who will complete a run of four-straight home contests on Tuesday (Oct. 24) when Grace University (6-18) pays a visit to Walz Arena. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT. It will be the final nonconference match of the season for Concordia, which has a record of 5-5 outside of GPAC competition.