Bulldog newcomers lead win over defending KCAC champion

Bulldog newcomers lead win over defending KCAC champion

BELLEVUE, Neb. – Continuing a strong early season run, Concordia volleyball claimed victory over another quality opponent. Head coach Scott Mattera’s squad topped Ottawa University (Kan.), 25-19, 27-29, 25-15, 24-26, 15-9, in a seesaw match on Saturday afternoon at the Bellevue University Labor Day Classic. The Bulldogs improved to 6-1 on the season after winning two of three matches in Bellevue on the weekend.

“This is an early statement win for us,” Mattera said. “5-1 was nice but 6-1 with a win over a team like Ottawa that was 30-6 last year gives us a little taste. That being said, we aren't satisfied at all.”

The win gives Concordia its fourth of the season over an opponent that won at least 20 matches in 2012. Last season Ottawa went unbeaten in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play on the way to reaching the NAIA National Championships.

Ottawa (2-2) showed resilience by winning the second and fourth sets after falling behind in the match. In the process, Mattera was quick to point out that his young squad still has room for growth.

“We gave up some leads and really made this one harder on ourselves,” Mattera said. “Give Ottawa credit. You don't win 30 matches without knowing how to fight. The next step for us is to learn the little things that win the ugly points. We are winning a lot of pretty points but can't seem to catch breaks. That comes from better discipline, better understanding of our systems and just playing together more.”

Even so, there were plenty of bright spots for a hot Bulldog squad led by sophomore outside hitter Claire White. The native of Exeter, Neb., sizzled, especially early on, in getting Concordia off to a good start with a win in the first set. White finished with a match-high 21 kills.

She was flanked by a trio of fellow newcomers in freshmen Paige Getz, Alayna Kavanaugh and Taylor Workman. All three have seen their roles increase since the season began last weekend at the Montreat College Volley in the Mountains.

Kavanaugh has become the primary setter and served as a catalyst in spreading the ball to White and company. Kavanaugh, a product of Lincoln Christian High School, tallied 56 assists and even dropped in a kill of her own. In the last two matches, Kavanaugh has amassed 103 assists for an average of 11.4 per game.

Meanwhile, Workman filled up the stat sheet with nine kills and seven block assists while Getz went for 10 kills.

Ultra-athletic Mariah Schamp posted nine kills, four aces and two block assists. Sophomore Kelsey Dinkel enjoyed a nice day with 11 kills as the Bulldogs unleashed an array of attackers upon Ottawa.

Defensively, junior defensive specialist Carli Smith produced 35 digs, combining with White for 53 digs.

Concordia out-hit the Braves .208 – .143 on the afternoon.

Allie Arnold paced Ottawa with 14 kills on 34 swings.

Concordia is off until Wednesday when defending GPAC regular-season champion Hastings visits Walz Arena. The Bulldog home opener is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. following a junior varsity match.

31 August 2013

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Alayna Kavanaugh