SEWARD, Neb. – It was a long time coming, but the Concordia University volleyball team is on the board in conference play. The Bulldogs are hoping a three-match week at home will be just the right medicine. The home stand began on Wednesday night (Oct. 18) with a 25-13, 25-22, 23-25, 25-22 win over visiting College of Saint Mary, avenging a five-set loss at the Flames’ home court back on Sept. 27.
Sixth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad really needed this one if it wanted to maintain hopes of qualifying for the eight-team GPAC tournament. Concordia has moved to 6-16 overall and to 1-11 in conference play.
“I’m proud of them. I’m happy for us,” Mattera said. “That’s what we’re supposed to do. There’s some really good stuff in here. We have to clean up a couple things. I thought the speed when we connected looked really good. You can see how much faster we’re going to the pins. We felt like we should have finished it in three.”
Good things happen for the Bulldogs when they set the ball in the middle, where sophomore Emmie Noyd resides. With greater opportunities, Noyd looked more like the budding star she appeared to be earlier this season when she collected all-invitational honors at a weekend event hosted by Missouri Valley College. The Shelby, Neb., native slammed 13 kills on 31 swings on Wednesday.
This was the best Concordia’s looked from an offensive perspective in some time. Noyd and company hope this just a start in returning good vibes back to the program.
“This was really important,” Noyd said. “We’ve been working so hard throughout this whole season even though we’ve been coming up short in a lot of games. It’s a relief. We want to push forward. We want more.”
Noyd and three other Bulldogs reached double figures in kills. She was joined by sophomore Alex La Plant (12), freshman Anna Lund (12) and junior Jenna Habegger (11). Collectively, Concordia outhit the Flames, .185 to .090. Noyd didn’t just produce big offensively, she also was in on six of the team’s 12 blocks.
One of the most prolific attackers in the GPAC in terms of kills per set, Dani Carlson topped all players with 15 kills. However, it took her 44 attempts (10 errors) to get there. For College of Saint Mary (8-14, 1-10 GPAC), its only GPAC win remains the one it captured over the Bulldogs.
On a night Concordia touted as its “pink match” in awareness of breast cancer, Marissa Hoerman donned the pink libero jersey and equaled Tara Callahan’s team best 17 digs. Callahan also floated up 41 assists. Callahan is a big part of the present and the future.
“She’s really stepping up with her lead role,” Noyd said. “It’s awesome to see her as a freshman leading the team like that. In practice we’ve really been working on pushing our sets faster and new offenses. She’s awesome about working hard and wanting to get the connections right.”
A three-home-matches-in-four-days stretch continues this weekend for the Bulldogs. Concordia will welcome Dakota Wesleyan (15-14, 2-9 GPAC) for a 7:30 p.m. CT Friday matchup to be contested inside Walz Arena. The Tigers are coming off a four-set home win over Mount Marty on Tuesday.