Upset bid denied by sixth-ranked Warriors
FREMONT, Neb. – Sixth-ranked Midland came out smoking and held off Concordia in four sets (25-13, 20-25, 25-16, 25-20) in Fremont, Neb., on Wednesday night. The Bulldogs pulled through with a big second-set performance, but it was not enough to stop themselves from falling to 17-13 overall and 5-11 in the GPAC to close the regular season.
Concordia will get another shot at Midland (31-3) on Saturday in the GPAC quarterfinals. Concordia will be the No. 7 seed while the Warriors have earned home-court advantage with the second seed.
“We played well but not great tonight,” Concordia head coach Scott Mattera said. “That's a good thing and a bad thing. It shows that we can hang and even win games against the best without playing perfectly, but hanging with and taking games isn't enough anymore. We had our chances tonight and we just weren't disciplined enough to take advantage.”
Unsurprisingly, freshman Paige Getz and sophomore Claire White gave Concordia a shot with devastating swings from time-to-time on the outside. They combined for 18 kills as part of an effort that simply wasn’t consistent enough to topple one of the league’s heavyweights.
The powerful Warriors rolled in the first set, reeling off seven of the first eight points in a dominant opening game. The Bulldogs would take a full set to get settled in as they came back in the second and led 11-6 after a Claire White finesse shot that dropped for a kill. Concordia pushed the lead to 14-8 with White going for another kill and freshman Taylor Workman rising for a block.
White and company continued their fine work throughout the second set, maintaining the lead for the remainder, thanks in large part to a .343 hitting percentage. Midland rattled off three-straight points to get within 21-18, but the Bulldogs were too much. Freshman Paige Getz smashed a floor-pounding kill for the 24th point prior to a service error that provided point No. 25 to even the match at 1-1.
However, Midland reverted back to its first-set form and came out hot in games three and four to put an end to the upset bid that had gained traction in the second set. Still, Concordia did not mail it in down 24-17 in the fourth set. The Bulldogs notched three points in a row until Heather Pribyl ended the match with a kill.
Freshman setter Alayna Kavanaugh, Concordia’s female athlete of the week, dished out 29 assists. Junior Mariah Schamp equaled the output of Getz and White with nine of her own kills. Defensively, Schamp mustered four total blocks and junior Carli Smith led the team with 15 digs.
Now 0-6 this season against ranked opponents, Mattera hopes his team has grown enough to seize another opportunity against a top 25 foe and make a splash at the conference tournament.
“We've got one more shot at that marquee win we've been craving,” Mattera said. “Saturday is going to be interesting.”
6 November 2013