'Pink night' precision extinguishes Flames

‘Pink night’ precision extinguishes Flames

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia volleyball got on a roll in the middle of the first set and could not be stopped the rest of the way in a snappy 25-16, 25-12, 25-18 win over visiting College of Saint Mary (17-15) on Tuesday night. Behind a large crowd draped in pink in support of women struggling with breast cancer, the Bulldogs sizzled with a .274 hitting percentage. They improved to 16-12 overall, including a 12-2 record in nonconference outings.

“That was one of our more consistent matches this year,” Concordia head coach Scott Mattera said. “Our serve receive was fantastic until the last couple points.

“I love the way we’re setting our outsides right now – extremely fast and low and not up to the moon.”

Freshmen like Taylor Workman and Paige Getz sparkled once again with booming kills to energize the team and the crowd. Workman’s efficient effort produced 11 kills on 15 swings. Working in conjunction, Getz knocked down 12 devastating kills, including one off the chin of a Flame player who had little chance to react.

“I think we’ve gotten a lot more confident and more comfortable in our roles,” Workman said of the talented group of freshmen. “I think that’s really helped.”

Freshman Alayna Kavanaugh manipulated the offense beautifully in orchestrating an attack that worked with surgical precision for much of the night. The Lincoln native dished out 36 assists while taking on more responsibility on the court.

“I thought Alayna was outstanding tonight,” Mattera said. “Really distributing the ball well and making great decisions. The past week or two we’ve actually taken the training wheels off of her. I was actually calling the offense from the bench for several weeks and now we’re letting her call it on the fly. She’s doing a great job.”

Kavanaugh assisted on all but seven of the team’s 43 kills on the night, exemplifying a team that is jelling at the right time.

“I think we connected really well,” Workman said. “The passes had a lot to do with that. They were really good. The connection was there.”

Things were quite clearly going Concordia’s way when excellent teamwork led to a scramble point in the second set. A Mariah Schamp attack was blocked back, but the Bulldogs regrouped calmly and ended up with a Getz drop shot of a kill. That made it 6-1 Concordia in a continuation of a dominant first set.

College of Saint Mary fought back from an early four-point deficit in the first set to tie the score at 10 apiece. That’s when the Bulldogs took control, rattling off six-straight points punctuated by junior Michala Maurer’s ace. Maurer’s whistling serve handcuffed the Flame reception attempt. Concordia never looked back on the way to a comfortable first-set triumph.

Junior defensive specialist Carli Smith dug up a match high 15 attack attempts to lead a defensive effort that held the Flames to an .011 hitting percentage. Junior middle Mariah Schamp added seven kills and four total blocks and sophomore outside hitter Claire White chipped in six kills and six digs.

By picking up win No. 16 on Tuesday, Bulldog volleyball has guaranteed its first winning season since the 2007 squad went 21-14. Concordia has two more regular-season matches remaining before the GPAC tournament gets started on Saturday, Nov. 9.

The Bulldogs remain at home for their senior day contest with Dakota Wesleyan (7-25, 0-14 GPAC) on Saturday. First serve is set for 4:30 p.m. as Concordia tries to run its final home record to 8-5. Mattera’s crew defeated Dakota Wesleyan 25-19, 25-16, 25-11 in Mitchell, S.D., on Sept. 20. Seniors Jillian Jensen and Jennifer Smith will be recognized on Saturday.

29 October 2013

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Freshman Paige Getz

Sophomore Claire White