Bulldogs' unbeaten ride ends at five

Bulldogs' unbeaten ride ends at five

BELLEVUE, Neb. – Concordia rallied from a 2-0 deficit to claim victory in its first of two matches on Friday at the Bellevue Labor Day Classic. The thrilling 20-25, 24-26, 25-17, 28-26, 15-10 comeback win over William Woods University (Mo.) pushed the Bulldogs to 5-0 on the season. Head coach Scott Mattera and company then ended the day with a close-contested defeat at the hands of College of the Ozarks (Mo.).

Even with the team’s unbeaten run coming to an end, Mattera was pleased with the team’s effort as he used Friday as a day to tinker with different lineup combinations against quality non-conference competition.

“Amazingly high level match,” Mattera said. “We made some fantastic plays this match and showed great fight having to play within 30 minutes of going five with William Woods.  A couple breaks here and there especially in game three and this result could have been a different story.

The five wins have the Bulldogs halfway to last year’s victory count already. With the immediate impact of newcomers such as sophomore outside hitter Claire White and freshman right side Paige Getz, Concordia is a different team in 2013.

“Overall I’m really happy with a 5-1 start and we got to try a few things and a few new players today,” Mattera said. “I can't wait to get into our regular practice and match schedule with this team. It's going to be fun.”

The Bulldogs fought back to beat William Woods on the strength of solid performances from White (18 kills), junior Mariah Schamp (14 kills, 3.5 blocks), junior Carli Smith (25 digs) and junior Jami Nekoliczak (31 assists). Those efforts allowed Concordia to narrowly escape with a win in the fourth set, 28-26, to spur the triumph.

Up next came another stiff test as an Ozarks team that received votes in the preseason top 25 poll awaited. Impressively, the Bulldogs took the first set after the short break between matches. The Bobcats then rattled off the next three sets to earn the victory, 20-25, 25-20, 27-25, 25-20, although Concordia made them earn it.

Freshman Taylor Workman of Lincoln, Neb., turned in one of the best performances of her young collegiate career with 11 kills. Once again White paced the squad with 21 kills.

Moving into a larger role as setter, freshman Alayna Kavanaugh, a high school teammate of Workman at Lincoln Christian, piled up 47 assists in the day’s final match. Defensively, Concordia again leaned upon Smith, who notched 32 more digs.

The Bulldogs continue play from Bellevue, Neb., on Saturday. Mattera’s squad will match up with Ottawa University (Kan.) at 3 p.m. in its only contest on the day. Concordia will turn around and host its home opener on Wednesday, Sept. 4 when defending GPAC champion Hastings visits Seward for a 7:30 p.m. battle.

Bellevue University will have live stats for Saturday’s match HERE.

30 August 2013

View box score vs. William Woods »

Carli Smith