SEWARD, Neb. – Nothing seems to breaking right for the Concordia University volleyball team at the moment. Despite taking the first set on Saturday evening, the Bulldogs eventually tasted defeat once again, 18-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-17, this time at the hands of visiting Briar Cliff.
This hasn’t been the type of season Concordia dreamt up over the offseason. Sixth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad has slumped to 5-13 overall and to 0-8 in conference play.
“They’re frustrated no doubt about it,” Mattera said. “They’re hurting, but they haven’t turned on each other in any way. They’re still working hard. It’s the mark of some really good young people. There are an awful lot of teams that would break down. Our girls haven’t at all. I love them for it. It’s still fun to come to the gym every day for practice.”
Mattera has continued to tweak with his configurations on the court. The Bulldogs have tried to make full use of freshman Tara Callahan’s skillset, allowing her to see time on the right side. She hammered eight kills and tossed up 37 assists versus Briar Cliff. Fellow rookie Anna Lund has been playing more frequently on the outside and freshman Marissa Hoerman took over the libero role this week.
With such youth, Concordia is hoping to grow up in a hurry while competing against a grueling conference schedule. The Chargers (12-4, 3-4 GPAC) appear a bit more seasoned at this point. Briar Cliff took No. 6 Dordt to five sets earlier this week. It got the job done in four sets on Saturday thanks in large part to the power play of Keely Woods. She slammed a match high 19 kills on 31 swings. Teammate Emily Sanburg swatted 13 kills. The Chargers outhit the Bulldogs, .238 to .224.
Six Concordia players ranged from seven to 10 kills. Senior middle Annie Friesen led the way with 10 kills. Emmie Noyd added nine kills and four blocks. Jenna Eller topped the team with 14 digs.
The Bulldogs will wait until Friday (Oct. 6) to get back on the court. Concordia will host No. 15 Doane (10-9, 2-5 GPAC) at 7:30 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs hope to avenge a four-set loss suffered in Crete on Sept. 13.
“I told them, ‘Doane on Friday night sure would be a nice win to turn this thing around,’” Mattera said. “All of them smiled and had this hungry look in their eyes. They haven’t given up at all.”