Concordia comeback bid falls short at No. 23 Hastings

Concordia comeback bid falls short at No. 23 Hastings

HASTINGS, Neb. – Concordia volleyball relinquished the first five points of Wednesday night’s match and played catch up the rest of the way in a 25-21, 25-16, 19-25, 25-19 loss at No. 23 Hastings (12-6, 4-1 GPAC). With the win, the host Broncos earned a season sweep of the two regular-season meetings with the Bulldogs, who fell to 11-6 overall and 2-4 in conference action.

“We played really well in the third and fourth sets,” Concordia head coach Scott Mattera said. “Unfortunately we started out slow and didn’t have the right mindset. Once we changed that mindset we played much better. We punched them in the mouth in the third game.”

The Bulldogs brought that same intensity to the fourth set and continued to control the action. However, a multitude of Concordia hitting errors down the stretch helped the Broncos avoid going to a fifth set.

“In game four we were dictating how points ended,” Mattera said. “It wasn’t so much the other team. To be able to control play against a top 25 opponent is a good sign for the progress we’ve made.”

Concordia sophomore outside hitter Claire White came through with a solid night to help lift Concordia in the third set. The Exeter, Neb., native gave the Broncos different looks by mixing up her shots to allow her to swat a team high 15 kills while adding 10 digs and four block assists.

White and junior defensive specialist continued a theme this year of great play on serve receive. A Hastings squad noted for its serving acumen missed the mark on several serves in the latter half of the match, knowing the Bulldogs would clean up on any volleys not perfectly placed.

Smith finished with a match high 16 digs while freshman Alayna Kavanaugh went for 35 assists. A large number of those came in the third set when the Bulldog attack picked up.

Hastings had a significant edge with 12 blocks to Concordia’s six. The Broncos’ Jessica Osterhaus assisted on nine denials at the net, contributing to the Bulldogs’ .058 hitting percentage. Led by Kalynn Dahlke’s 18 kills, the Broncos hit .261.

While Hastings jumped out to a big early lead in the first set, Concordia turned up the heat by cutting an 18-10 deficit to 23-21. The Broncos took the next two points and the set to put the Bulldogs in a hole. Hastings then had its way in the second set before the tide turned in the third game.

The Bulldogs return home for a pair of conference matches this weekend. Concordia hosts No. 7 Northwestern (20-1, 4-0 GPAC) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. before turning around to play Morningside (8-5, 1-3 GPAC) on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Red Raiders will be the Bulldogs’ third top 10 ranked opponent so far this season.

“Northwestern is a very good team – top 10 in the nation,” Mattera said. “We played them tough at their place and played them decent at our place last year. We know what they will bring at us. We can hang with them. We’re going to get one of these. The dam will break soon and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

25 September 2013

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