Bulldogs fall again to Doane despite fast start

Bulldogs fall again to Doane despite fast start

CRETE, Neb. – Wednesday’s result leaves Concordia volleyball still searching for that elusive victory over GPAC rival Doane. The Tigers continued their run of success against the Bulldogs by earning a 20-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-20 win in Crete. Despite coming out strong with a first-set victory, Concordia fell to 13-9 overall and 3-7 in GPAC play.

“That first game was about as good as we’re capable of playing,” Bulldog head coach Scott Mattera said. “Our blocking was on and our hitting was exceptionally smart. They didn’t have answers for us. Then we got a little bit tight. Doane stepped up their game huge and (Tiger senior Ashley) Axmann took over.”

As Mattera mentioned, Concordia put together by far its best performance in the first set when it outhit the Tigers .310 to .200. The Bulldogs, who made only three errors in the opening game, were unable to sustain that level of play and slipped to .214 in the second set and .153 for the match. Meanwhile, Doane followed Axmann’s lead (match-high 22 kills) and got hot in the second set on the way to a team .258 hitting percentage on the night.

“Games 2, 3 and 4 weren’t bad,” Mattera said. “They just weren’t good enough to win.”

Down 21-14 in the fourth and final set of the night, Bulldog sophomore Claire White tried to will her squad to a fifth game by burying back-to-back kills. She displayed her array of attacking moves by tapping the ball into the open space for a point prior to smashing a kill that handcuffed the Doane dig attempt. White finished with seven kills and 12 digs.

The pivotal third set went back and forth until Doane ran off five-straight points to go ahead 15-10. Concordia called timeout to regroup, but the Tigers remained comfortably in front for the remainder of the set on the way to taking a 2-1 advantage in the match.

Freshman Paige Getz led the Bulldogs with 10 kills in the process of pushing her streak of matches with 10 or more kills to four. She now has nine such productive outings on the season.

Fellow freshman Alayna Kavanaugh had a solid statistical night with 31 assists, three kills and two aces. Junior defensive specialist Carli Smith paced the team with 15 digs. Sophomore Kelsey Dinkel and junior middle Mariah Schamp equaled White’s output on the attack with seven kills apiece.

“There’s not a player on our team that I couldn’t name two, three or four plays where they really stood out,” Mattera said. “It was one of those things where we couldn’t seem to catch a break. The 50-50 balls didn’t go our way. We couldn’t overcome that.

“We were hoping they would make mistakes and that’s never a good strategy.”

The Tigers also did a nice job defensively at the net, piling up 11 blocks as five different players assisted on at least one denial. Three players, including Axmann, notched four block assists each for Doane.

The Tigers have swept the regular-season series. They also defeated Concordia in straight sets on Sept. 17 inside Walz Arena.

Wednesday’s affair marked the first GPAC match for Mattera’s crew in more than two weeks. Concordia had played just a single nonconference contest since dropping a four-set decision to Nebraska Wesleyan in Seward on Oct. 1.

The Bulldogs return home this weekend for a pair of matches. Concordia will host Dakota State (5-21) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. before turning around to welcome in Mount Marty (10-15, 0-9 GPAC) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Both contests will be preceded by a junior varsity match. The Bulldogs already hold straight-sets victories this season over both weekend opponents.

16 October 2013

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