Volleyball hosts No. 7 Northwestern Friday night to kick off weekend in Bulldog athletics

Volleyball hosts No. 7 Northwestern Friday night to kick off weekend in Bulldog athletics

SEWARD, Neb. – The final weekend of September features a pair of home volleyball matches as well as plenty of other Bulldog competitions away from Seward. Concordia football will attempt to spoil Dakota State University’s homecoming as Vance Winter’s crew goes to work with a national ranking for the first since September 2002. And for Scott Mattera’s volleyball team, the next win will make it a dozen on the season – the most for the program since 2007.

Here’s a look at all of this weekend’s Bulldog action.

VOLLEYBALL

Friday: Concordia (11-6, 2-4 GPAC) vs. No. 7 Northwestern (20-1, 4-0 GPAC), 7:30 p.m., Seward, Neb.

Saturday: Concordia (11-6, 2-4 GPAC) vs. Morningside (8-5, 1-3 GPAC), 1 p.m., Seward, Neb.

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Outlook: The rugged GPAC slate continues for the Bulldogs with No. 7 Northwestern invading Walz Arena on Friday night. The Red Raiders have vaulted from a No. 23 national ranking in the preseason all the way into the top 10 with a 20-1 start that includes three wins over ranked opponents. Last season Northwestern defeated Concordia twice in straight sets, but four of the six sets were decided by three points or less. The Red Raiders boast the GPAC’s top two players in terms of overall number of kills in Karlie Schut (283) and Kaitlin Floerchinger (256). Concordia will need to play the way it did in the third set of Wednesday’s loss at Hastings in order to have a chance to pull off the upset of Northwestern.

The Bulldogs will quickly turn around to take on Morningside on Saturday afternoon. The Mustangs will be similarly taxed as they play at Doane on Friday night before trekking to Seward. Morningside lost its first three GPAC matches – two against ranked foes – before defeating Dakota Wesleyan in straight sets on Tuesday. Last season the Mustangs got the best of Concordia in four sets in a match played in Sioux City, Iowa. Morningside’s Grace Chvatal tops the GPAC in digs per set at 5.1, slightly better than the 4.9 figure owned by Bulldog junior Carli Smith.

Other Concordia statistical leaders include sophomore Claire White (3.3 kills/set – 8th in GPAC), freshman Alayna Kavanaugh (7.1 assists/set – 7th in GPAC), Mariah Schamp (1.0 blocks/set – 6th in GPAC; .305 hitting percentage – 8th in GPAC).

CROSS COUNTRY

Saturday: Concordia at Roy Griak Invitational, 9 a.m., Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, Minn.

Outlook: Head coach Kregg Einspahr again leads his teams into competition at the 28th annual Roy Griak Invitational hosted by the University of Minnesota. The event is one of the largest cross country meets in the nation with about 4,500 runners expected to compete in all divisions.  Last year the Concordia men finished 12th out of 28 teams in the “Division II” Roy Griak grouping while the women claimed 11th out of 32 squads. Several returners on both Bulldog teams have prior experience at the meet. Junior Ben Sievert finished the 8K race in 26:28 to place 29th in Concordia’s division. On the women’s side, sophomore Kim Wood is the highest returning finisher from the 2012 Roy Griak Invite. Wood completed the 6K course in 25:11, placing her 129th. Both Sievert and Wood are expected to compete for high finishes again this year. The No. 14-ranked Concordia men will look to pace the GPAC competition as it did in last week’s Woody Greeno Invite.

FOOTBALL

Saturday: No. 20 Concordia (3-0, 2-0 GPAC) at Dakota State University (1-3), 4 p.m., Trojan Field, Madison, S.D.

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Outlook: Saturday’s game is a rematch of last year’s contest when Concordia defeated Dakota State 28-7 in Madison, S.D. For the second-straight year, the Trojans welcome the Bulldogs for homecoming. Dakota State, a member of the newly formed North Star Athletic Association, is coming off its first win of the season – a 35-28 victory over Presentation College. The Trojans are averaging 22.3 points per game while allowing 40.3 They average 277.1 yards per game and give up 368.8. On the flip side, Concordia has outscored opponents 30.3 to 16.7 on average. The Bulldogs also have a yards-per-game edge of 415.3 to 260.7 on their opponents. Concordia ranks first in the GPAC in both total and scoring defense. The Bulldogs, by Dakota State alum Vance Winter, will try to live up to their national ranking and move to 4-0 for the first time since 2001. Featuring a balanced offense, Concordia will again rely on both quarterback Von Thomas and the freshmen running back duo of Trey Barnes and Bryce Collins in an effort to topple the Trojans for the third-straight year.

WOMEN’S SOCCER

Sunday: Concordia (5-3, 1-0 GPAC) at Morningside (6-2-2, 2-0 GPAC), 5 p.m., Elwood Olsen Stadium, Sioux City, Iowa

Outlook: The Bulldogs take to the road for the first time in GPAC play on Sunday at Morningside College. The Mustangs appear to be a strong contender for the conference crown after handing preseason favorite Hastings a 1-0 double overtime loss on Sept. 20. The Mustangs boast three goal scorers who rank in the top 10 of the conference: Kelsey Niles (2nd – 7), Amy Samuelson (7th – 4) and Brenna Turner (10th – 3). Niles is tied with Concordia junior Rachel Mussell for second on the GPAC goals leaderboard. As a team, Morningside averages 2.0 goals per game while allowing a GPAC low 1.1 goals per contest. Head coach Greg Henson’s squad ranks second in the GPAC with 2.5 goals per game after Wednesday’s seven-goal outburst in the win over Grace University. The Bulldogs are tied for fifth in the conference in goals allowed per game (1.38). Last season Concordia topped Morningside, 4-1, in Seward in the only meeting between the two ssquads.

MEN’S SOCCER

Sunday: Concordia (4-4, 1-0 GPAC) at Morningside (4-5, 1-1 GPAC), 7 p.m., Elwood Olsen Stadium, Sioux City, Iowa

Outlook: The Concordia men will follow the women’s game on Sunday night in Sioux City. The Mustangs have played well in their first two conference games, narrowly falling (2-1 in double overtime) to No. 1-ranked Hastings prior to defeating Mount Marty 4-1 in their most recent contest. Morningside’s Saxx Adams is tied with Bulldog senior Nathan Douglas, among others, for third in the conference with five goals. The Mustangs rank ninth in the conference with 1.44 goals per game and eighth in goals allowed per game with a 2.0 clip. Meanwhile, Concordia is eighth in the GPAC with 1.63 goals per game and fifth with an average of 1.50 goals allowed. Douglas is coming off a two-goal, one-assist performance that allowed him to earn GPAC Offensive Player of the Week honors. Concordia routed Mount Marty, 5-0, on Sept. 21 and has not played since. The Mustangs edged the Bulldogs, 3-2, in last year’s only meeting between the two sides.

27 September 2013

Mariah Schamp

Ben Sievert

Von Thomas

Rachel Mussell (No. 29)

Mark Anderson