Concordia volleyball solves Morningside

Concordia volleyball solves Morningside

SEWARD, Neb. – It had been a long time coming for Bulldog volleyball, but finally Concordia took down Morningside with a 26-24, 25-19, 23-25, 25-20 victory on Saturday afternoon inside Walz Arena. The win gave the Bulldogs their third in the last five GPAC matches and raised their season records to 12-7 overall and 3-5 in GPAC play.

“The best part about this match is we didn’t play perfect,” Concordia head coach Scott Mattera said. “It means we don’t have to be perfect to compete with the best teams in our league. We just have to be good over and over again. That’s so encouraging.”

A matchup that featured evenly matched teams on paper proved to be hotly contested on the court. The first and third sets were both decided by just two points. Another balanced attack, led by freshman Paige Getz’s career high 14 kills, allowed the Bulldogs to knock off the Mustangs for the first time since Oct. 6, 2006.

“We were feeling pretty good, up 2-0. We haven’t been up 2-0 against a Morningside in a long time,” Mattera said. “And we didn’t really know how to deal with it. We were excited. We need that demeanor of expecting a great team to come back on us. There is nobody in our league anymore that’s just going to roll over.”

Getz didn’t just pile up kills, she put them away at seemingly big moments. Her powerful smash near the end of the first set tied the score at 22-22 and had a Morningside player turning her head away from the ball as it hit nailed her shoulder and hit the floor. Getz was just getting started.

The freshman from Paola, Kan., also had important kills near the end of the second and third sets before pounding her 14th kill to put Concordia back in front, 15-14, in the fourth and final game.

“It was definitely because of practice,” Getz said of her success on Saturday. “We worked on single blocking and going around the blockers, so I really focused on that. It helped me a lot.”

Getz was backed by double-figure kill performances by junior Mariah Schamp (11) and sophomore Claire White (10). In addition, four different Bulldogs tallied 10 or more digs: juniors Carli Smith (18) and Kayla James (15), freshman Alayna Kavanaugh (12) and White (10).

Kavanaugh again enjoyed a nice day setting up the attack as she notched 37 assists to go along with her 12 digs.

White got two of her three service aces on back-to-back swings in the first set that ended a 9-1 Bulldog run that helped set the tone for the match. The Bulldogs suddenly led 17-13 after trailing 12-8 to open the match’s first set.

As Mattera alluded to, Morningside never did back down. Behind top player Maggie Vondrak (match high 17 kills), the Mustangs were able to force a fourth set. However, Getz and the Bulldogs never lost faith.

“We told ourselves that we we’re going to win,” Getz said. “And we were going to fight for it and put our heart into it and we did.”

As a team, Concordia outhit Morningside (8-7, 1-5 GPAC), .170 to .098. The Bulldogs were best on the attack in the second set when they posted a .239 attack percentage.

The Bulldogs remain at home on Tuesday to take on Nebraska Wesleyan (11-2, 3-2 GPAC) at 7:30 p.m. as part of four-match string inside Walz Arena. Last season Concordia split two matches with the Prairie Wolves with the road team winning in both instances. Nebraska Wesleyan upset No. 19 Dordt in straight sets on Friday night.

28 September 2013

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Alayna Kavanaugh (No. 14) and Taylor Workman (No. 27)