2013 Volleyball schedule/results

17-14 Overall, 5-11 GPAC - Season Stats

AUGUST

Montreat College Volley in the Mountains: Aug. 23-24 (Times are Eastern)

Aug. 23 Northwood (Fla.) Montreat, N.C. W, 3-0

Coastal Georgia Montreat, N.C. W, 3-0
Aug. 24 Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) Montreat, N.C. W, 3-2
  Montreat College (N.C.) Webcast Scheduled Montreat, N.C.
W, 3-1
Aug. 27 Blue-White Scrimmage Seward, Neb. 7:30 p.m.

Bellevue Bruin Labor Day Classic: Aug. 30-31 - Live Stats

Aug. 30 William Woods (Mo.)
Bellevue, Neb.
W, 3-2
  College of the Ozarks (Mo.)
Bellevue, Neb.
L, 1-3
Aug. 31 Ottawa (Kan.) Bellevue, Neb.
W, 3-2

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 4 * Hastings College  Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. L, 1-3

Hastings College Classic: Sept. 6

Sept. 6 (5) Oklahoma Baptist
Hastings, Neb.
L, 0-3
  Dakota State University (S.D.)
Hastings, Neb.
W, 3-0
Sept. 11 * (8) Midland University Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. L, 0-3

Tri Match: Sept. 14

Sept. 14 vs. Presentation College (S.D.) Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. W, 3-1

Presentation vs. Univ. of Dallas Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. 12 p.m.

vs. University of Dallas Webcast Scheduled
Seward, Neb. W, 3-0
Sept. 17  * Doane College Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb.  L, 0-3
Sept. 20  * Dakota Wesleyan University Webcast Scheduled Mitchell, S.D. W, 3-0
Sept. 21  * Mount Marty College Yankton, S.D. W, 3-0
Sept. 25 * (23) Hastings College Hastings, Neb. L, 1-3
Sept. 27 * (7) Northwestern College Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. L, 0-3
Sept. 28 * Morningside College Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. W, 3-1

OCTOBER

Oct. 1 * Nebraska Wesleyan University Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. L, 1-3
Oct. 8
York College (Homecoming) Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. 
W, 3-0
Oct. 16
* Doane College Webcast Scheduled Crete, Neb. 
L, 1-3
Oct. 18
Dakota State University Webcast Scheduled
Seward, Neb. 
W, 3-0
Oct. 19 * Mount Marty College Webcast Scheduled Seward, Neb. W, 3-0
Oct. 23
* Nebraska Wesleyan University Webcast Scheduled
Lincoln, Neb.
L, 0-3
Oct. 25
* Briar Cliff University Webcast Scheduled
Sioux City, Iowa 
L, 0-3
Oct. 26
* (18) Dordt College Webcast Scheduled
Sioux Center Iowa L, 0-3
Oct. 29
College of Saint Mary Webcast Scheduled
Seward, Neb.
W, 3-0

NOVEMBER

Nov. 2 * Dakota Wesleyan University Webcast Scheduled
Seward, Neb. 
W, 3-1
Nov. 6 * (6) Midland University Webcast Scheduled
Fremont, Neb. 
L, 1-3

GPAC Tournament: Nov. 9, 13, 16

Nov. 9 Midland (GPAC Quarterfinals) Webcast Scheduled Fremont, Neb. L, 1-3
Nov. 13 GPAC Semifinals TBA
TBA
Nov. 16 GPAC Championships TBA
TBA
Dec. 3-7 NAIA National Championships Sioux City, Iowa TBA

*Indicates Great Plains Athletic Conference Games

All Home Matches in BOLD

2013 Volleyball Roster

No. Name Ht Class Pos Hometown Previous school
1 Katie Peterson 5-8 So. M/OH Ord, Neb. Ord
2 Brianna Hughes 5-11 Jr. M/RS San Diego, Calif. Concordia University Irvine
3 Jami Nekoliczak 5-5 Jr. S Greeley, Neb. Greeley-Wolbach
4 Naomi Quigg 6-0 Fr. OH/RS Springfield, Ill. Springfield Lutheran
5 Mariah Schamp 5-10 Jr. M Arvada, Colo. Ralston Valley
6 Kendra Dinkel 5-4 So. DS Norfolk, Neb. Lutheran Northeast
7 Claire White 5-11 So. OH Exeter, Neb. Washburn University/Exeter-Milligan
8 Samantha McConnell 6-0 So. M/RS Atlantic, Iowa Atlantic
9 Beth Rasmussen 5-11 Fr. S/RS Omaha, Neb. Concordia Omaha
10 Paige Getz 5-11 Fr. OH Paola, Kan. Paola
11 Amanda Abbott 5-11 Jr. OH Temecula, Calif. Chaparral
12 Michala Maurer 5-9 Jr. RS Columbus, Neb. Lakeview
13 Libby Zagel 5-8 So. S/RS Brighton, Colo. Brighton
14 Alayna Kavanaugh 5-9 Fr. S Lincoln, Neb. Lincoln Christian
15 Carli Smith 5-3 Jr. DS Temecula, Calif. Temecula Valley
16 Jillian Jensen 5-7 Sr. OH Lincoln, Neb. Lincoln High
17 Kayla Sombke 5-4 So. DS Indianapolis, Ind. Lutheran
18 Naomi Pfeil 5-8 So. OH/DS Hiawatha, Iowa Cedar Rapids Kennedy
19 Emily Metschke 5-9 Jr. OH Lincoln, Neb. Lincoln Lutheran
20 Allison Wiebe 5-7 Fr. DS Malcolm, Neb. Malcolm
21 Taylor Gager 5-5 So. DS/S Arvada, Colo. Lutheran
22 Kayla James 5-6 Jr. S Kearney, Neb. Kearney Catholic
23 Jordyn Sturms 5-10 Fr. OH/DS Parker, Colo. Parker Lutheran
25 Jennifer Smith 5-10 Sr. M Grafton, Neb. Nebraska Christian
26 Tiegen Skains 5-10 Fr. OH/RS Colorado Springs, Colo. Pine Creek
27 Taylor Workman 6-1 Fr. M Lincoln, Neb. Lincoln Christian
28 Audrey Mehl 5-8 Jr. OH Concordia, Mo. St. Paul Lutheran
29 Kelsey Dinkel 5-9 So. OH Norfolk, Neb. Lutheran Northeast
30 Hannah Oberle 5-8 Fr. S/DS Lincoln, Neb. Lincoln Lutheran

Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Scott Mattera

Graduate Assistant: Kim Uetrecht

Assistant Coach: Alex Szalawiga

Director of Volleyball Operations: Rachel Miller

Concordia volleyball ends spring primed for significant improvement

29 APR 2013

SEWARD, Neb. - Head coach Scott Mattera’s Bulldog volleyball team has concluded the spring season with plenty of positive energy after more than holding its own against conference opponents like Doane and Midland in recent scrimmages. While Mattera won’t put much stock in wins and losses in April exhibitions, he likes the development of the program after completing a full season at the helm.

“Wins and losses in the spring are kind of a misnomer,” Mattera said. “We did win most of the matches we played, but all coaches are trying out different things and we’re trying out different things, too.

“Overall, I’m normally a pretty optimistic guy, but even this spring impressed me more than I thought it would. The girls really stepped up. They understand what competition with themselves and against the standards that we want to have means. Everybody’s competing for positions and we’re really turning the corner on the mindset that it takes to be champions.”

The Bulldogs have also tested themselves this spring against non-conference in-state opponents like York College and Peru State. Throughout these matches, juniors-to-be such as middle blocker Mariah Schamp and defensive specialist Carli Smith have taken their play to another level.

Schamp and Smith are part of sophomore class that saw lots of action this past fall and is expected to serve as primary leaders as seniors like Amanda Kisker and Kim Miller graduate this May.

“When I mentioned how optimistic and impressed I am with the spring, it was probably as much emotional, leadership, chemistry-wise that I was impressed with as much as the on-the-court stuff. Some girls have really stepped up this spring.”

Schamp could prove to be a force in 2013 after recording 189 kills and 77 total blocks this past season. The 2012 GPAC honorable mention selection and Arvada, Colo., native has popped this spring.

“Mariah Schamp just had a monster spring,” Mattera said. “She’s always been a phenomenal athlete and a real intense volleyball player. Now the technical and strategic (aspects) are starting to come along with it, too. She’s been absolutely fantastic.”

Smith, a native of Temecula, Calif., already established herself as a fine player in 2012. She was third in the conference in digs per set (4.5) and earned second team all-GPAC honors. With two full seasons as a significant contributor under her belt, Smith is more confident and becoming even more of a leader.

“Carli Smith has really stepped up,” Mattera said. “Obviously she was second team all-conference as a sophomore, but she’s taken on more of a leadership role. She’s really become a rock in the back row for us, which is really important moving forward.”

Fellow juniors-to-be in outside hitter Amanda Abbott and setters Kayla James and Jami Nekoliczak will also bring plenty of experience to the table. Abbbott ranked second on the team behind Kisker in kills last season while James and Nekoliczak split time evenly as facilitators of the offensive attack.

This nucleus of returning players will be joined in the fall by a recruiting class that will provide needed size and athleticism.

“We have one of the stronger classes comparatively to our competition in terms of the breadth of where these players are coming from and the diversity of position,” Mattera said. “I’m extremely, extremely excited about this class, not only because they’re great volleyball players but because they all come from phenomenal families.”

Bulldog volleyball announces 2013 schedule

13 MAY 2013

The 2013 Concordia volleyball schedule will give Bulldog fans more opportunities to see their team within the friendly confines of the Walz Human Performance Complex. This fall’s slate will feature 12 home dates – a significant increase from the eight matches at Walz last season.

Head coach Scott Mattera, who will enter his second season at the helm of the program in 2013, is excited about how the schedule lays out and the quality of competition it provides.

“I’m really excited about our 2013 as it balances a lot of things we are looking for from a competition standpoint, a travel standpoint and an off time standpoint,” Mattera said.

The season’s first serve will be tossed into the air on Aug. 23 when the Bulldogs take part in Montreat College’s Volley in the Mountains in Western North Carolina. Concordia will play a total of four matches at Montreat, a school where Mattera served as the top assistant coach in 2011 when the Cavaliers went 25-14 and reached the NAIA National Championships.

The home slate begins Sept. 4 when defending GPAC regular-season champion Hastings invades Walz Arena. Mattera is counting on an electric atmosphere for not only this match, but all contests in Seward as the volleyball program continues to make leaps forward.

Through partnerships with local businesses and the addition of Concordia career counselor Corey Gray as public address announcer, the game day atmosphere will receive a jolt of enthusiasm and energy. Expect surprises along the way.

“We are doing some things in the offseason to enhance our home match presentation,” Mattera said. “Fans are going to see some great athletes playing a very fast and fun style of volleyball, but we are also going to package and promote our matches as ‘can’t-miss’ type events.”

Concordia volleyball will also be included in homecoming festivities as the Bulldogs welcome in York College on Oct. 8 – the Tuesday of homecoming week.

In addition, the schedule was pieced together so as not to conflict with Bulldog home football and men’s and women’s soccer home games whenever possible.

“It was really important for us to be able to schedule strategically to not conflict with other Bulldog events and to be able to be a part of homecoming week,” Mattera said. “We love supporting the other teams here and really appreciate their support in return.”

Other notable matches include a pair of battles with 2012 GPAC Tournament champion Doane (No. 22 postseason national ranking) and a potential duel with in-state Bellevue (No. 17 postseason rating) as part of the Bruin Labor Day Classic (Aug. 30-31). The Tigers will break in a new coach after the retirement of Cindy Meyer after the 2012 season.

Home varsity matches will again be webcast live via the Concordia Sports Network.

Details on the 2013 Bulldog volleyball recruiting class, with insight on each recruit from Mattera, will be released later this week.

Mattera, Concordia volleyball welcome nine-member recruiting class

15 MAY 2013

Concordia head volleyball coach Scott Mattera will welcome nine additions (see list below) as part of the recruiting class of 2013 this fall. That number could soon swell into double digits as Mattera continues to improve the roster for his second season at the helm of the program.

Read on as Mattera provides his take on each of the student-athletes in the class. Five of the nine prospects come from the state of Nebraska, including three from nearby Lincoln and one apiece from Omaha and Malcolm. Two players hail from Colorado and the remaining two come from Illinois and Kansas, respectively.

The class is long on height and athleticism. Seven of the nine recruits are 5-foot-10 or taller with Naomi Quigg and Taylor Workman both standing at 6-foot. The group also contains plenty of attackers with six players listed as either outside or right side hitters.

 

Bulldog volleyball recruiting class of 2013:

Paige Getz – 5-11 ● OH ● Paola, Kan.

Mattera: “Paige is a huge get for us. I coached her at the UNL team camp last summer and thought she was the best pure athlete in the gym. She is one of the top players in Kansas, playing in multiple state all-star matches. She has the versatility and athleticism to play any hitting position and with her drive, could be a force for us very early in her career. She’s also a 5’ 4” high jumper for her track team.”

Alayna Kavanaugh – 5-10 ● S/U ● Lincoln, Neb.

Mattera: “Alayna is a fantastic all-around volleyball player. We recruited her as a setter based on her maturity and fantastic release but she can play just about any position on the floor. A key component of Lincoln Christian’s third-place state run this year, she brings depth to a variety of roles and will push our current crop of setters every day.”

Hannah Oberle – 5-7 ● S ● Lincoln, Neb.

Mattera: “Hannah was a starting setter on state qualifier Lincoln Lutheran’s team this year. A perfect fit for Concordia, Hannah will provide depth at the setter and DS positions and adds a nice serve weapon to Bulldog JV program.”

Naomi Quigg – 6-0 ● OH/RS ● Springfield, Ill.

Mattera: “Springfield Lutheran’s MVP for a team that went 29-9, Naomi brings height and solid technique to the table. She still has a lot of upside athletically as she has the frame and fitness level to add at least six more inches to her vertical. If she does, Naomi could do BIG things in her Bulldog career.”

Beth Rasmussen – 5-11 ● S/RS ● Omaha, Neb.

Mattera: “This Concordia Omaha prospect is very intriguing in the she is a 5-11 setter with huge intangibles and a great release. She is currently showing amazing positivity as she battles back from a knee injury during basketball season.  If she continues to grow into her body while developing consistency with that great release, she has the potential to be the ‘steal’ of the class.”

Tiegen Skains – 5-10 ● OH/RS ● Colorado Springs, Colo.

Mattera: “Tiegen is a girl I found through a connection with the director of one of the top clubs in the country – Colorado Juniors. She has played on elite level teams both with and against some of best competition in the United States. Another versatile, long hitter with fantastic technical training, she will compete to see the floor right away.”

Jordyn Sturms – 5-10 ● OH/DS ● Parker, Colo.

Mattera: “Jordyn was a starting outside on Parker Lutheran’s last two state championship teams and was invited to play in the Colorado state all-star match. We are bringing her in as a future DS but if her vertical continues to increase she could become a hitter for us if needed. A superb natural athlete, she’s just coming into her own and could end up being a special talent.”

Allison Wiebe – 5-6 ● DS ● Malcolm, Neb.

Mattera: “A starting outside hitter for a competitive Malcolm team, Allison is a camp kid with awesome intangibles and a wicked serve. She will train as a DS on JV and has the potential to develop into a serve specialist in the coming years. ‘Al’ as we call her, will also see action for the track team, throwing for coach Ed McLaughlin.”

Taylor Workman – 6-0 ● M/RS ● Lincoln, Neb.

Mattera: “Taylor was our first commit for the class. She was second team all-state for Lincoln Christian’s third-place finisher this year. A legit six-footer with solid lateral movement skills, Workman should help early on as a blocker and shows huge potential offensively as well.”

Bulldog volleyball placed ninth in GPAC preseason coaches' poll

12 AUG 2013

View the complete poll

SEWARD, Neb. – A young Concordia volleyball team will enter 2013 expected to finish in ninth place once again, according to league coaches. With 31 total points, head coach Scott Mattera’s squad landed ninth in the 2013 GPAC Volleyball Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

The Bulldogs are coming off back-to-back ninth-place finishes after concluding each of the last two seasons with conference records of 4-12.

Concordia returns several starters this season, including standouts in junior defensive specialist Carli Smith and junior middle blocker Mariah Schamp. Mattera also figures to infuse plenty of youth with a recruiting class long on athleticism and talent coming in.

The Bulldogs begin the 2013 season on Aug. 23-24 at the Montreat College Volley in the Mountains. They will make their first home appearance on Sept. 4 when Hastings visits Walz Arena for a 7:30 p.m. match.

2013 season preview

19 AUG 2013

By Jake Knabel, Sports Information Director

Head Coach: Scott Mattera (10-21, one year)
2012 Record: 10-21 overall; 4-12 GPAC (9th)
Returning Starters: 5
Key Returners: Kelsey Dinkel (OH), Kayla James (S), Jami Nekoliczak (S), Katie Peterson (M/OH), Mariah Schamp (MB), Carli Smith (DS)
Key Losses: Amanda Abbott (out for 2013 due to shoulder surgery – MB/OH), Amanda Kisker (OH), Kim Miller (RS)
2012 GPAC All-Conference: Amanda Kisker (first team), Carli Smith (second team), Amanda Abbott (honorable mention), Mariah Schamp (honorable mention)

Outlook:
Considerable buzz continues to build in relation to Bulldog volleyball, even as the program comes off a 10-win season in 2012. Head coach Scott Mattera brought a new energy to the program upon his arrival in the spring of 2012 and has his Bulldogs pointing in a clear upward trajectory.

Second team all-conference selection Carli Smith, a junior defensive specialist from Temecula, Calif., and junior middle blocker Mariah Schamp of Arvada, Colo., enjoyed outstanding springs and are ready to lead a young, exuberant roster.

“The next step is consistency,” Mattera said. “We have the depth of talent in our program that all of our players are going to have to compete every day if they want to see the floor, and everyone knows that going in. The confidence and the expectation level that builds is going to be entirely different.”

Part of the newfound excitement and enhanced expectations for 2013 centers around Concordia’s propensity to push some of the nation’s top teams last season. The Bulldogs nearly pulled off a stunner over eventual GPAC Tournament champion Doane last October (lost in five sets) and even took a set from top five-ranked Hastings a week later.

With holders like Smith and Schamp on board along with a highly-regarded 10-player recruiting class, the Bulldogs will no longer be merely the little engine that could. The horses are in place for a significant leap forward in 2013.

“We’ve really established a lot of trust and a lot of energy around the program,” Mattera said. “I feel like the positivity around the program and the expectation level is as high as it’s probably been in some time here and that’s a great thing. We’ve really tried to change the culture, the energy and the expectations.”

Smith certainly has done her part to raise expectations. She busted out with a breakthrough sophomore campaign in 2012 in which she racked up 512 digs while still trying to get comfortable with Mattera’s defensive system. Now that she’s got that down, the prospect of what she could be as a junior appears rather tantalizing.

“Carli had a great season obviously,” Mattera said. “Even more impressive was her spring. Her spring was absolutely incredible. She really stepped up her game and changed a couple of things technique wise that turned her into a monster serve receive passer so I see her really stepping into that role. The other thing that obviously we were really proud of was her leadership.”

Smith says it was simply about gaining the confidence to compete in one of the NAIA’s top volleyball leagues.

“I think, for me, it was all about confidence,” Smith said. “Volleyball is a huge mental game, and when a volleyball player doesn't have the right confidence in herself, it's tough. So I knew I gained the confidence in myself and my teammates and that is really what made me succeed this past year.”

Schamp’s impact will be just as important from her position in the middle. Last season she posted 189 kills and a team best 77 total blocks in merely scratching the surface in regards to her vast potential. She is regarded as one of the team’s most athletic players and appears ready to move into a starring role.

The biggest question marks arise at the attacking positions where the team says goodbye to graduates Amanda Kisker (1,111 career kills) and Kim Miller while also taking a hit with junior Amanda Abbott undergoing offseason shoulder surgery that is expected to sideline her for the entire season. The trio combined for a total of 756 kills in 2012.

Enter 5-foot-10 sophomore Claire White, a transfer from NCAA Division II Washburn University (Kan.). White figures to pay immediate dividends after appearing in 30 matches last season as an outside hitter for the Ichabods. The Exeter, Neb., native prepped at Exeter-Milligan High School and fits perfectly into the Bulldog volleyball program.

“It’s a blessing to have her here, not only for her volleyball talent but she’s a very big personality,” Mattera said. “I know she’s going to move right into a leadership role in terms of inspiration and just court knowledge and awareness. We’re really pleased to have her and I know the girls are really excited to play with her.”

Sophomore Kelsey Dinkel of Norfolk, Neb., saw significant action on the outside where she piled up 175 kills and 70 digs last season. She along with other newcomers such as Paige Getz (Paola, Kan.) and Taylor Workman (Lincoln, Neb.) should be part of the equation at the outside and right side positions.

In the middle, Schamp will have help from sophomore Katie Peterson, another piece of last season’s freshmen class that was leaned heavily upon. Peterson showed what lofty play she was capable of more than ever in the late-season home loss to Hastings when she put down three out of four points on blocks to push Concordia to a second-set victory.

The Bulldog attackers will be facilitated by setters like juniors Kayla James and Jami Nekoliczak, who combined to play nearly every serve as the offense’s igniters. Nekoliczak dished out 577 assists while James came up with 478. They will see competition from Lincoln product and freshman Alayna Kavanaugh of Lincoln Christian High School.

All this newfound depth means Smith and company plan to raise the bar in 2013.

“I think we are definitely capable of really pushing our play to a whole other level this year with Coach Mattera,” Smith said. “I already saw the difference we made in spring season and I know this summer we are all pushing ourselves because we each know individually that we are going to be making an impact this year with our skill that we have and the new skill coming in.”

Mattera also sees things coming together nicely for a squad that appears headed for a rise up the GPAC. The returners will be more comfortable in Mattera’s second season and the newcomers bring added quickness and athleticism.

“We did a lot of really good things last fall in terms of pushing teams to the limit that may have been a little bit more talented or higher ranked than us,” Mattera said. “We never got over the hump, though. We never pulled off that big upset that everybody saw was possible, but was always going to be difficult. This spring, though, you could see a real difference in the grasp, especially of the defensive system.”

Bulldog volleyball rings in the new season with the Montreat College Volley in the Mountains on Friday and Saturday. Concordia will play at 9 a.m. ET versus Northwood (Fla.) on Friday to get the 2013 campaign underway.

Coaching staff additions: Mattera will have a larger staff this season with the additions of graduate assistant coach Natalie Nieman and former Concordia head coach Rachel Miller, a member of the school’s athletics hall of fame. Alex Szalawiga, the team’s grad assistant the past two seasons, will remain on staff after taking a full-time admissions counselor position at Concordia. Says Mattera, “I can’t begin to explain to you how excited I am to have a complete staff like this.”

White shines in debut as Bulldogs roll through day 1 of 2013 season

23 AUG 2013

MONTREAT, N.C. – Second-year head coach Scott Mattera’s Bulldogs looked sharp in reeling off a 25-13, 25-22, 25-21 victory over Northwood University (Fla.) on Friday morning to open the 2013 season. Concordia followed the 9 a.m. EDT match with a 25-20, 25-18, 25-23 triumph in a matinee versus College of Coastal Georgia to begin the new campaign in style.

The Bulldogs (2-0) are in the midst of a four-match Friday-Saturday slate at the Volley in the Mountains hosted by Montreat College in Montreat, N.C.

Friday marked the Bulldog debut of Washburn University transfer Claire White, a sophomore who powered down a club high 25 combined kills on the day and teamed with junior defensive specialist Carli Smith to provide what Mattera called “picture-perfect serve receive” in both of the day’s wins.

White and company came through with an impressive performance against the Seahawks, a member of The Sun Conference who went 5-16 in 2012.

“This was a fun match to watch at times as we really saw glimpses of who we can be,” Mattera said. “It also had its moments that showed how early it is in our development.

“Game 3 was one of the most impressive games we've played since I've been here. Of our 25 points, we had 19 kills and five blocks, meaning they only made one error and we had to make 24 plays. Ask any coach – that's just a crazy number.”

Smith finished the first match with 17 digs. Junior Jami Nekoliczak also added eight digs while leading the team with 18 assists. Kayla James dished out 16 assists.

A pair of freshmen also made significant contributions as outside hitter Paige Getz of Paola, Kan., and middle Taylor Workman of Lincoln, Neb., each posted six kills versus Northwood. Sophomore Kelsey Dinkel equaled their production with six kills of her own.

“It was so good to see our leaders lead,” Mattera said. “Every big point was automatic from Claire and (Mariah) Schamp. Our young pups had some impressive moments too. We're going to have to clean up some our our coverages and continue to sharpen our connections but if our setters keep making good decisions and we keep passing like we did today, it's going to be a fun ride.”

The exhilarating ride continued against Coastal Georgia of the Southern States Athletic Conference with White again leading the way on the attack. She hammered another team high with 13 kills to power a second, straight-sets victory.

“Coastal Georgia is a nice team so I'm thrilled to get this one in straight sets,” Mattera said. “We've still got a lot of offense and blocking patterns to install, but I couldn't be more thrilled with the way we are playing this early. Claire is just so clutch on big points and it was great to see Paige Getz step up with two big kills in crunch time in that third game. Our setters are in heaven right now with this level of passing and so many hitting options.”

Every bit as active against the Mariners were the Bulldog middles with Workman coming through with 4.5 blocks and Schamp piling up three of her own. Another rookie – Alayna Kavanaugh – made herself comfortable and contributed 2.5 blocks. As a team, Concordia totaled 13 blocks.

The Bulldogs return to action on Saturday at 3 p.m. EDT when they take on Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio). They wrap up play from the Volley in the Mountains with a 7 p.m. EDT tussle against host Montreat. The match versus Montreat will be webcasted live HERE.

“We've got two tough ones tomorrow so we need to keep getting better every time and believe in the process,” Mattera said.

Homecoming for Nieman: The weekend trip is a homecoming for graduate assistant coach Natalie Nieman, a 2012 graduate of Montreat College. In addition, Mattera served as an assistant coach at Montreat for the 2011 season when Nieman led the Cavaliers to a berth in the NAIA National Championships.

Bulldog volleyball jumps out to first 4-0 start since 2005

24 AUG 2013

MONTREAT, N.C. – The competition level ratcheted up on Saturday on the second and final day of the Montreat College Volley in the Mountains in Montreat, N.C. The Bulldog volleyball squad completed a perfect 4-0 start to the season by outlasting Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Ohio) in five sets, 14-25, 25-22, 28-30, 25-19, 15-7 and then rolling in the fourth set for a 25-16, 19-25, 25-19, 25-10 victory over Montreat.

Concordia is 4-0 for the first time since 2005 when then first-year head coach Rachel Miller guided the Bulldogs to an 18-0 mark to begin the campaign. Head coach Scott Mattera’s squad has already bested its 2012 season high win streak of three.

Mount Vernon Nazarene, led by the NAIA’s winningest active coach in Paul Swanson, took the first set handily and led 2-1 after three games. But the Bulldogs roared back on the strength of a monster effort by junior middle Mariah Schamp. The native of Arvada, Colo., pounded out a career high 24 kills while stifling the Cougar attack with 5.5 blocks.

Despite at times playing sloppily, the Bulldogs came out victorious against a fundamentally sound opponent.

“This was a nightmare matchup for us in so many ways,” Mattera said. “Mount Vernon Nazarene is simply a team that doesn't make mistakes. They are so consistent and they don't give you any points. We also were in danger of looking forward to the matchup tonight with Montreat that is literally the talk of the town.”

Mattera admired the way his young Bulldog squad kept a positive mind and fought back after dropping the first set and then falling behind again after losing the third set.

“We could look at all of our errors and pick out a lot of negatives but we will do that later,” Mattera said. “Right now, we are focusing on just how tough minded we were in the fourth and fifth sets and how we were able to change our play by changing our energy. That's such a huge part of volleyball and it was a fantastic lesson early in the year.”

That led into the anticipated final match of the night between Concordia and Montreat, an Appalachian Athletic Conference member for which Mattera served as an assistant coach in 2011. The Bulldogs looked sharp from the get-go and after a brief hiccup in set No. 2, they shut the door with a dominant effort in the fourth and final set.

Said Mattera, “Fantastic win over a very spirited Montreat group in a very tough environment.”

Sophomore Claire White of Exeter, Neb., played solid again on the attack with 11 kills, giving her 31 kills on the day. She totaled 56 kills on the weekend to top the Bulldogs.

Junior Carli Smith racked up 25 more digs and freshman Paige Getz went for double-digit kills for the second-straight match with a team best 12 against Montreat.

As is typical, Juniors Kayla James and Jami Nekoliczak split time at setter and combined for 30 assists in the victory over the Cavaliers, while junior right side Michala Maurer piled up six service aces.

Saturday’s wins go a long way toward legitimizing the preseason buzz regarding the significant improvement of Mattera’s squad. Both Mount Vernon Nazarene and Montreat won 24 matches last season.

“We are starting to get used to being a team that other teams bring their best shot against,” Mattera said. “Wearing the mantle of raised expectations is a very interesting process and we are starting to embrace it. This whole trip has been an amazing experience with so many different girls stepping up at different times. We've got a lot of work to do but tonight was a nice glimpse of who we could be.”

The Bulldogs will not officially return to action until next Friday at the Bellevue University Labor Day Classic, but fans can catch a glimpse of the team at the Blue-White scrimmage on Tuesday. The action will get started at 7:30 p.m. from Walz Arena.

Bulldogs' unbeaten ride ends at five

30 AUG 2013

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.

Newcomers lead win over defending KCAC champion

31 AUG 2013

BELLEVUE, Neb. – Continuing a strong early season run, Concordia volleyball claimed victory over another quality opponent. Head coach Scott Mattera’s squad topped Ottawa University (Kan.), 25-19, 27-29, 25-15, 24-26, 15-9, in a seesaw match on Saturday afternoon at the Bellevue University Labor Day Classic. The Bulldogs improved to 6-1 on the season after winning two of three matches in Bellevue on the weekend.

“This is an early statement win for us,” Mattera said. “5-1 was nice but 6-1 with a win over a team like Ottawa that was 30-6 last year gives us a little taste. That being said, we aren't satisfied at all.”

The win gives Concordia its fourth of the season over an opponent that won at least 20 matches in 2012. Last season Ottawa went unbeaten in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play on the way to reaching the NAIA National Championships.

Ottawa (2-2) showed resilience by winning the second and fourth sets after falling behind in the match. In the process, Mattera was quick to point out that his young squad still has room for growth.

“We gave up some leads and really made this one harder on ourselves,” Mattera said. “Give Ottawa credit. You don't win 30 matches without knowing how to fight. The next step for us is to learn the little things that win the ugly points. We are winning a lot of pretty points but can't seem to catch breaks. That comes from better discipline, better understanding of our systems and just playing together more.”

Even so, there were plenty of bright spots for a hot Bulldog squad led by sophomore outside hitter Claire White. The native of Exeter, Neb., sizzled, especially early on, in getting Concordia off to a good start with a win in the first set. White finished with a match-high 21 kills.

She was flanked by a trio of fellow newcomers in freshmen Paige Getz, Alayna Kavanaugh and Taylor Workman. All three have seen their roles increase since the season began last weekend at the Montreat College Volley in the Mountains.

Kavanaugh has become the primary setter and served as a catalyst in spreading the ball to White and company. Kavanaugh, a product of Lincoln Christian High School, tallied 56 assists and even dropped in a kill of her own. In the last two matches, Kavanaugh has amassed 103 assists for an average of 11.4 per game.

Meanwhile, Workman filled up the stat sheet with nine kills and seven block assists while Getz went for 10 kills.

Ultra-athletic Mariah Schamp posted nine kills, four aces and two block assists. Sophomore Kelsey Dinkel enjoyed a nice day with 11 kills as the Bulldogs unleashed an array of attackers upon Ottawa.

Defensively, junior defensive specialist Carli Smith produced 35 digs, combining with White for 53 digs.

Concordia out-hit the Braves .208 – .143 on the afternoon.

Allie Arnold paced Ottawa with 14 kills on 34 swings.

Concordia is off until Wednesday when defending GPAC regular-season champion Hastings visits Walz Arena. The Bulldog home opener is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. following a junior varsity match.

Smith and White earn GPAC volleyball weekly honors

3 SEP 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – On the heels of a 6-1 start for Bulldog volleyball, sophomore Claire White and junior Carli Smith have both collected conference weekly honors, as announced by the GPAC on Tuesday. White has been named the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Player of the Week while Smith has been tabbed GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Defensive Player of the Week.

White, a native of Exeter, Neb., and transfer from Washburn University (Kan.), racked up 60 kills in powering Concordia to wins in two of three matches over the weekend at the Bellevue Labor Day Classic. She averaged 4.29 kills and 3.29 digs per game over the 14 sets she played in Bellevue. Her 21 kills against both College of the Ozarks (Mo.) and Ottawa University (Kan.) were career high totals.

On the season, White has piled up a team best 115 kills in 29 sets. Her 4.0 kills per set places her third among all GPAC players. She also has 88 digs, second on the team to Smith, and carries a .246 hitting percentage.

Smith takes GPAC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second time in her career. She also received the honor once last season. The Temecula, Calif., native is off to a great start and leads the GPAC with 6.0 digs per set. She averaged 6.6 digs per set over the weekend, aided by a 35-dig performance (two short of a career high) in the five-set win over Ottawa.

Smith ranks 11th nationally in both digs per set and total digs (174). She’s also been near perfect on serve receive with a percentage of .944. She averages 8.1 service receptions per game.

White, Smith and the rest of the Bulldogs will be in action again on Wednesday night for the team’s home opener against defending GPAC regular-season champion Hastings. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m.

Concordia unable to dig out of sluggish start in home-opening loss

4 SEP 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Defending GPAC champion Hastings invaded Walz Arena on Wednesday night and looked the part of a strong title contender again in 2013. The Broncos dealt Concordia a four-set defeat, 25-20, 25-14, 19-25, 25-19, in the Bulldog home opener in front of a large crowd.

Playing in its biggest match to date, it took two sets before Concordia (6-2, 0-1 GPAC) settled in. The Bulldogs uncharacteristically played several sloppy touches, especially in a second set dominated by Hastings (6-3, 1-0 GPAC).

“We took the court and we were a little wide-eyed tonight,” Bulldog head coach Scott Mattera said. “We kind of anticipated it. We have that many new players, and how about the crowd tonight. It was amazing and it affected us plenty enough.”

In the third set, Concordia started to look more like the team that won six of its first seven matches. Plagued by errors in the previous two sets, the Bulldogs committed only one attack error and sizzled with a .435 hitting percentage in game three. Behind junior middle Mariah Schamp, Concordia breathed life back into a crowd ready to erupt.

“The key was really just trusting each other and playing volleyball,” Schamp said. “We talk about it a lot – just play volleyball. Have fun with it. That was a big component tonight. We were trying to be perfect. Being perfect is almost impossible because you’re going to hit it out. As soon as we stopped thinking and just played volleyball it was a lot better.”

Schamp ended up with a team high 12 kills on only 23 swings. She also added a solo block in serving as a catalyst in Concordia’s effort to keep up with the high-powered Broncos.

“We did some things that we have to be really excited about,” Mattera said. “We also did some things that say, ‘hey, we’ve got a long ways to go.’ But we can walk out of here knowing we fought. We had so many opportunities to just mail the rest of this match in and these ‘Dogs were not willing to go down without a fight.”

Hastings is reloading this season after losing 2012 GPAC Player of the Year Kendra Schwein to graduation. Bronco head coach Matt Buttermore turned to Kalynn Dahlke (match high 14 kills) and Katie Zoucha (11 kills) to put away points for Hastings on Wednesday.

Even in a match that displayed less than Concordia’s best, the Bulldogs gave the home crowd its first chance to see an upgraded array of attackers. Sophomore Claire White, named the GPAC Player of the Week on Tuesday, struggled early but still gave glimpses of why Concordia was so excited to have her transfer in from Washburn University. White nailed one kill so powerfully in the second set that the dig attempt flew wildly into the scorer’s table.

Freshmen Paige Getz and Alayna Kavanaugh also put forth solid overall efforts. Getz hammered several floor-pounding kills herself on the way to 11 on the night. Kavanaugh totaled 32 assists.

Carli Smith, the GPAC Defensive Player of the Week, topped the Bulldogs with 20 digs. White added 13.

Concordia hit .076 on the night with 28 attack errors. Comparatively, Hastings hit .218 with 20 attack errors.

The Bulldogs take Thursday off before traveling to Hastings, Neb., for two matches at the Hastings College Classic on Friday. Concordia will play fifth-ranked Oklahoma Baptist University at 2 p.m. before closing the day with an 8 p.m. battle with Dakota State University (S.D.).

Wednesday’s loss did nothing to dampen Mattera’s enthusiasm in regards to what lies ahead for Concordia volleyball.

Said Mattera, “I’m really excited about where we’re going.”

Schamp, Workman power Bulldogs at Hastings College Classic

6 SEP 2013

HASTINGS, Neb. – After opening the GPAC season on Wednesday, Bulldog volleyball took a break from conference play and split a pair of matches on Friday at the Hastings College Classic. Concordia pushed No. 5 Oklahoma Baptist hard in the first set but was eventually swept by the Bison. The Bulldogs (7-3) capped the day with a dominant 25-12, 25-21, 25-11 win over Dakota State (S.D.).

In the middle, Concordia got eye-popping production from junior Mariah Schamp and freshman Taylor Workman. Schamp continued her fine early season by swatting 10 kills on 13 swings. Workman was even more efficient with 11 kills on 12 swings in completely overpowering the Trojans.

“This is a team that beat us last year and we just came out with an attitude,” Mattera said. “Our passing was good, Alayna (Kavanaugh) distributed well and our middles were just unstoppable.

“Shout out to Jami (Nekoliczak) and Kayla (James) for some great defense and leadership and to Emily Metschke and Jen Smith who had their first varsity kill and block, respectively.”

Kavanaugh put up 42 assists in serving as the catalyst for the offense once again.

For parts of Friday’s first match, Concordia appeared capable of matching up the defending Sooner Athletic Conference champions from Shawnee, Okla. The Bison (7-2) took the match, 28-26, 25-19, 25-18, after escaping the first set by a narrow decision.

“This match was both infuriating and encouraging,” Bulldog head coach Scott Mattera said. “We have to be happy with the way we continued to fight back every time we went down. On the other side it's about time to stop using our youth and lack of experience together as an excuse for mental lapses.

“The most encouraging thing about this match though was that we proved that when we play clean and run our stuff, it works and will work against anyone.”

Sophomores Claire White and Kelsey Dinkel paced Concordia with nine kills apiece on the attack against Oklahoma Baptist. Freshman outside hitter Paige Getz posted eight kills and Schamp and Workman each added five kills in the middle.

Kavanaugh put forth another fine effort with 29 assists. Defensively, junior Carli Smith, named GPAC Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday, tallied another 18 digs.

Kavanaugh, a native of Lincoln, has 206 assists in five matches (19 sets) since taking over as the setter in Mattera’s 5-1 offensive system. She is averaging 10.8 assists per game over that stretch.

The Bulldogs will battle another nationally-ranked foe on Wednesday when they return to GPAC action. No. 11 Midland (14-0) will visit Seward for a 7:30 p.m. match.

Concordia downed by battle-tested Warriors

11 SEP 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Across the net, Concordia volleyball peered at a top ten nationally-ranked foe that resembles the type of team it aspires to be. A seasoned Midland group, equipped with a balanced overall roster, continued its unbeaten run on Wednesday with a 25-15, 25-20, 25-21 victory inside Walz Arena. The Bulldogs dropped to 7-4 overall and 0-2 in conference play.

After a rough first set, Concordia bounced back and made the eighth-ranked Warriors (15-0, 1-0 GPAC) earn the straight-sets victory over the final two sets. Midland, led by fourth-year head coach Paul Giesselmann, used a superior defensive effort to regain control whenever the Bulldogs grabbed a bit of momentum.

“That team’s been together for a full year, year-and-a-half,” Bulldog head coach Scott Mattera said. “That’s where we’re headed. This was a good learning experience for us to see where we need to go, but I’m impatient. I think we all need to be a little bit more impatient with how long it’s going to take.”

There were still plenty of Concordia examples of the “pretty points” that Mattera often refers to. There was junior Mariah Schamp’s crowd-pleasing smack down of a kill that gave Concordia an 8-5 lead in the second set. There was Schamp and freshman Tiegen Skains combining on a block that gave the Bulldogs life when they trailed in the third set. And freshman setter Alayna Kavanaugh did her best to rally Concordia in the third set with a sneak-attack kill and an ace later in the set.

Concordia cut a six-point deficit in the third game down to one at 21-20, until the Warriors decided enough was enough. Returning first team all-conference outside hitter Ashley Wheeler responded with two of her match-high 16 kills and suddenly Midland had its 13th win this season by a straight-sets decision.

For Mattera, the Bulldogs need to improve their ability to sustain long rallies and keep coming back with big plays when the opposition employs such stifling defense.

“We need to make multiple good plays to score a point,” Mattera said. “We need to have that mindset where we just keep and keep going and keep going. We just don’t have it yet.”

The Warriors, the GPAC favorite thanks in large part to the return of all five players who received all-conference honors last season, had five players with seven or more digs. The savvy Midland squad hit only .149 but held Concordia to a .009 attack percentage.

Freshman Taylor Workman enjoyed the best night on the attack for Concordia with five kills on 14 swings. Kavanaugh added 15 assists and sophomore Kendra Dinkel posted 11 digs in front of another solid throng of Bulldog fans.

“Our crowd was great again tonight,” Mattera said. “We couldn’t ask for much more. Hopefully Saturday we come out and show them what we’ve really got, point-in and point-out instead of flashes of it. We’ll get on a roll.”

The Bulldogs will again take a dip outside the conference on Saturday when they host a tri-match with NAIA member Presentation College (S.D.) and NCAA Division III University of Dallas (Texas). Concordia’s matches will begin at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Concordia volleyball's White thrives in new surroundings, new role

12 SEP 2013

By Jake Knabel, Sports Information Director

After starring on the volleyball court as a prep at Exeter-Milligan High School, Claire White moved onto NCAA Division II Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., to play for a strong Ichabods program in the fall of 2012. As a freshman, she never quite found her comfort zone and decided to seek increased playing time in a setting closer to her hometown of Exeter, Neb.

More than anything, the competitive, former all-Nebraska high school player simply needed more time on the court.

“It just kind of came down to playing time,” White said. “I knew that coming back to Nebraska would be a lot more comfortable for me. Concordia was an easy choice because my hometown is 40 minutes away and my parents live 20 (minutes away). So it was really easy to give Concordia a look, and it really worked out.”

Now in her first season at Concordia, White has transitioned quickly to her new surroundings. The sophomore has stepped into the role of outside hitter for head coach Scott Mattera with impressive results. Her very first match in a Bulldog uniform resulted in 11 kills and a tidy three-set victory over Northwood University (Fla.).

Since then, White has simply continued to drill volleyballs to the floor at a rate that rivals the top players in the conference. On Sept. 3 she was even named the first GPAC overall Player of the Week of the 2013 season after piling up 60 kills over a three-match stretch.

She’s the type of player Concordia can build the program around over the next few years. She’s also the type of player that opponents will always have to account for considering the fastballs she peppers all over the opposition’s half of the floor.

Says White of being looked upon as a major boost to the program: “It’s kind of a little pressure. It’s definitely something that I didn’t see coming and I’ve had to deal with a little bit now since school started and we’ve had home games. It’s exciting. It’s a little pressure that I didn’t see coming, but it’s exciting.”

Mattera believes the benefits are mutual in regards to White’s arrival at Concordia. The Bulldogs’ second-year head coach feared how the addition of a new star could cause issues within the locker room, but those worries quickly evaporated.

“To be honest, I was scared,” Mattera said. “With or without her, we are building something special. When you bring in a major player and big personality like Claire so late in the year, there is a lot of risk in terms of chemistry and changing roles within the program. We were very careful about the process we took to decide and after several meetings, conversations, and quite a bit of prayer, it became obvious that this was a huge blessing for us but more importantly, for her.”

White’s personality proved to be a good fit as she got acclimated with her new teammates over the summer. Plus she filled a hole brought about by the graduation of 2012 first team all-conference outside hitter Amanda Kisker.

“Over the summer it was kind of a process of learning everybody’s names and meeting new people,” White said. “The team was awesome. They couldn’t have been more accepting of me with me being one of the only people to transfer onto the team. It was really new to them too. I give them a lot of credit for being so accepting.”

The hospitality offered up by her Bulldog teammates has made everything easier for White, who says she feels like a freshman all over again.

“I’m learning everything from scratch,” White said. “I’m learning the ins and outs of the school and the team. I’m getting used to my new teammates, and getting used to my new coach has been really awesome. It’s been a super easy transition so far. We’re having a great season, so basically the transition’s been pretty easy and pretty good.”

White’s transfer to Concordia has come with obvious benefits for Mattera and the program. White leads the team with 144 kills, averaging 3.43 per set. She has three matches already this season with 20 or more kills.

“Claire has impacted us in so many ways,” Mattera said. “Obviously her talent level is a big help as she really fit our need in terms of an outside that can terminate but also pass in all six rotations. But it’s so much more than that. Claire is a strong-willed winner who brings a toughness to us that we were lacking and are still developing, and she manages to bring that hard-nosed mentality without stepping on toes.”

White credits her mother with helping her develop many of these positive traits that Mattera speaks of. White was coached by her mother, Darcy, all four years at Exeter-Milligan. Together, mother and daughter produced astounding success, winning two state titles while also posting a runner-up finish during Claire’s high school career for the Timberwolves.

With her mother’s encouragement, Claire began swatting volleyballs around as a mere toddler. Claire has been groomed to be a volleyball player since a young age.

“She is 100 percent the reason I’m the player that I am,” Claire said of her mother. “I started playing volleyball when I was like two-years-old because of her. She started training me when I was super little. I give her 100 percent credit because she’s been there every step of the way and she’s the reason I’m here today playing volleyball.”

Darcy and the rest of Claire’s family are a fixture at Bulldog matches. Even though Darcy no longer coaches Claire, she is always there to provide her daughter with advice.

“Oh yeah,” Claire responded when asked if her mother still talks to her like a coach after matches. “Even if she doesn’t want to, I always ask for advice because I value her opinion highly and I see the game through the same ideas as she does. It gives me a lot of good insight to have someone in the stands watching who can give me good advice.”

As advanced and as dominant as Claire looks at times, it’s easy to forget that she’s just a sophomore. That means bad news for the hardwood inside Walz Arena. Now in her comfort zone, Claire’s powerful right arm has many more floor-pounding kills left in it.

Bulldogs take two over nonconference foes

14 SEP 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Saturday’s tri-match hosted by Concordia provided head coach Scott Mattera’s Bulldogs an opportunity to take on a pair of unfamiliar foes. Concordia returned to its winning ways with a four-set victory over Presentation College (S.D.) and then a straight-sets triumph over the University of Dallas.

“I’m very happy with this win,” Mattera said of the Dallas match at the conclusion of the day. “That would have been a very easy team to get frustrated against because they picked up their defense in game two.”

The Bulldogs dropped the first set of the day’s opening match before awakening with a dominant effort over the final three games to knock off Presentation. Concordia really got rolling midway through the third set and then carried it over into a blowout fourth set on the way to a 22-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-8 victory.

After falling behind 12-7 in set No. 3, the Bulldogs eventually evened up at 14-14 and took control from there. Presentation called a timeout after Mariah Schamp’s kill gave Concordia its 14th point in the set, but the Bulldogs would not be slowed down.

Concordia freshman Paige Getz went for a kill to make it 20-16 and then a block to push the score to 23-17 in the third set.  She finished with nine kills.

Sophomore Claire White powered home 13 kills in a bounce back effort for her. This year’s first GPAC Player of the Week hit .324 with just two errors.

Schamp had another monster effort with 10 kills on 20 attempts while also adding four total blocks. Freshman Alayna Kavanuagh piled up 44 assists, giving her 40 or more assists in four of seven matches at the time. She then amassed 30 assists in the second match of the day.

“Today I was really focused on playing big and not being intimidated by anything,” Kavanaugh said. “I just went out there and played for Him. I wasn’t really focusing on that the previous game, so that was my focus today.”

The Bulldogs also defeated the University of Dallas, 25-22, 25-15, 25-22, carrying over their impressive play towards the latter stages of the win over Presentation. The Concordia defense held the Crusaders’ attack to an .058 hitting percentage.

Schamp and White tied for the team lead with nine kills. White also topped the Bulldogs with 14 digs, while Carli Smith added 11 and Katie Peterson posted 10.

“It all starts with Carli,” Mattera said. “With her staying disciplined and staying deep the way she did. Nothing was dropping in those deep corners. They got us maybe once on a dump there, but she was staying deep and making her reads.”

The Bulldogs return to GPAC play on Tuesday when they host last year’s GPAC Tournament champion, Doane, at 7:30 p.m. A junior varsity match will be held at 6 p.m.

Doane blocks Bulldogs in bid for first GPAC win

17 SEP 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – For the young Bulldog volleyball squad, learning how to win in the rugged GPAC is still a work in progress. On Tuesday visiting Doane (7-7, 1-1 GPAC) continued its series dominance against Concordia by grabbing a 25-20, 25-20, 25-23 win inside Walz Arena. The Bulldogs fell to 9-5 overall and 0-3 in league action.

“We did not play the big points well,” Concordia head coach Scott Mattera said. “We didn’t get a couple of breaks but you know what, they played extremely hard. When you play extremely hard you generally get more breaks. We need to be able to match the energy and intensity level that it seems like Doane brings.”

Once again there were moments of brilliance for Concordia, which looked far from overmatched despite succumbing in straight sets. The Bulldogs got on a roll early in the second set soon after earning a point on the longest rally of the night. Claire White mashed a kill to finally end a sequence that included 13 attack attempts. The Bulldogs led 11-7 in the set before the Tigers called timeout, regrouped and regained control.

Through parts of the match, especially in the second set, the defending GPAC Tournament champions frustrated Concordia with superior play right at the net. Doane totaled 11 blocks on the night with six coming in the second set when it held the Bulldogs to a negative attack percentage. Senior Ashley Axmann was particularly active with three solo blocks and one assisted denial.

Mattera believes his team needs to figure out how to settle in and stay calm throughout emotionally-charged GPAC battles.

“That’s not how we play. We like to play fast but not frantic,” Mattera said. “And they got us into a frantic game. You could see it just based on our hitting percentage. We were playing way too fast to connect the way we need to be connecting to keep the pressure on them. Their serve and serve receive game was fantastic.”

Doane finished with a .123 to -.010 edge in hitting percentage in a match that was more about defensive play and finding a way to grind out scramble points. The Tigers’ group of ball-hawkers simply proved more adept at keeping the ball alive on this particular night.

Six different Bulldogs hammered between two and six kills, led by the half a dozen from sophomore Kelsey Dinkel. Freshman Alayna Kavanaugh dished out 16 assists and junior Carli Smith dug up 14 Doane attacks.

Axmann added 13 kills and 10 digs to her stat line. Doane senior Emily Max notched two block solos and three block assists and sophomore Megan Fletcher chipped in three block assists as part of the stout Tiger defensive effort.

The Bulldogs will take to the road for weekend matches within the conference on both Friday and Saturday. Concordia travels to Mitchell, S.D., to battle Dakota Wesleyan on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The next day Mattera’s squad will play at 1:30 p.m. against Mount Marty in Yankton, S.D.

“Making that trip is always a challenge,” Mattera said. “That’s a long ride up there and a long ride back. Dakota Wesleyan is doing OK this year and Mount Marty is almost .500 as well – maybe more than a challenge than they’ve been in the past. And Dakota Wesleyan beat us last year, so there’s a little bit of a revenge factor.”

Near-perfect performance drives dominant GPAC road victory

20 SEP 2013

MITCHELL, S.D. – The Bulldog volleyball team equaled its win total from a year ago in the process of dispatching of host Dakota Wesleyan (4-11, 0-2 GPAC), 25-19, 25-16, 25-11, at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D., on Friday night. The victory also gave head coach Scott Mattera’s team its first of the season inside the conference. Concordia improved to 10-5 overall and 1-3 in the GPAC.

Mattera said Friday’s effort was as crisp as he’s seen this season for his young squad. The Bulldogs hit .278 on the attack and did not commit a single error on serve receive as a great collective defensive effort stifled the Tigers.

“This was probably the best we’ve played this year, especially in the third game,” Mattera said. “We just made play after play with aces, blocks and kills. It was really pretty to see. We showed what we can be.”

Both junior Mariah Schamp and sophomore Claire White contributed in a big way in all facets of the game. Schamp and White tied for a match high 10 kills while hitting, .600 and .417, respectively. Defensively, Schamp piled up five block assists as well as a solo denial to go with four service aces. White notched a double-double with 12 digs.

On this night, Schamp and White got plenty of help as freshman setter Alayna Kavanaugh (36 assists) facilitated an offense with near-perfect execution.

“Kudos to Alayna,” Mattera said. “Her distribution was great again. When you can spread the attack around with 10 kills, eight and eight, you know you’re getting good play from your setter.”

Junior defensive specialist Carli Smith teamed with White and Schamp on the stellar defensive effort. Smith tallied a match high 14 digs and served as the key cog in Concordia’s perfect night on serve receive. In addition, the Bulldogs held Dakota Wesleyan to a .043 attack percentage in a snappy match that lasted just over an hour.

Freshman Taylor Workman paired with Schamp for a dominant performance in the middle. The Lincoln native totaled four block assists and two solos. Meanwhile on the outside, sophomore Kelsey Dinkel went for five block assists of her own. The Bulldogs racked up 12 blocks as a team.

“The stats tell the story,” Mattera said. “We really played a clean match, especially in game three.

“We’re exactly halfway through the season and we’ve already reached our win total from last season.”

Concordia avenged last season’s four-set loss at Dakota Wesleyan from a year ago (Concordia also defeated the Tigers at home in 2012). Mattera said that defeat added to the Bulldogs’ focus on Friday night. Concordia has now won four of the last five meetings in the series with the Tigers.

The Bulldogs remain in South Dakota on Saturday to take on Mount Marty (8-7, 0-1 GPAC) at 1:30 p.m. Last season Concordia defeated the Lancers in straight sets in the only meeting between the two squads.

White, Bulldogs complete undefeated weekend in South Dakota

21 SEP 2013

YANKTON, S.D. – The Bulldog volleyball squad’s trip north proved fruitful as it came away with a second-consecutive straight-sets victory by defeating host Mount Marty, 25-17, 25-20, 25-22, in Yankton, S.D., on Saturday afternoon. The win comes on the heels of Friday night’s dominant win at Dakota Wesleyan. At 11-5 overall and 2-3 in league play, Concordia has already topped its 10 wins in 2012.

Concordia sophomore outside hitter Claire White sizzled again on the attack, going for a match high 11 kills on 22 swings while recording a .409 hitting percentage. She also led the team with nine digs.

A night after playing error free on serve receive, the Bulldogs shined in that department again. This time they committed three errors with White and senior Carli Smith allowing Concordia to set up offensively.

The Bulldogs were balanced once again on the attack as five Bulldogs racked up at least five kills. Freshman Paige Getz had nine, junior Mariah Schamp added eight, freshman Taylor Workman posted six and sophomore Kelsey Dinkel notched five to back White.

Freshman Alayna Kavanaugh set up most of those kills as she dished out 30 assists. The Lincoln native has collected 30 or more assists in eight of the last 11 matches.

The Bulldogs continued a trend of winning away from Walz Arena. Concordia is now 9-2 in matches played outside of Seward. That mark includes a perfect 3-0 record in true road contests.

Concordia’s win on Saturday marked the fourth-straight in the series against Mount Marty. The Lancers lasted defeated the Bulldogs on Oct. 4, 2008. Concordia head coach Scott Mattera noted via the Bulldog volleyball Facebook page that Mount Marty is much improved this season despite the straight-sets decision.

As a team, the Bulldogs outhit Mount Marty, .294 to .194. Concordia piled up seven service aces to the Lancers’ three.

The Bulldogs embark on a busy four-day stretch of conference play beginning with Hastings on the road for a 7:30 p.m. match on Wednesday, Sept. 25. Concordia will then host Northwestern on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Morningside on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Concordia comeback bid falls short at No. 23 Hastings

25 SEP 2013

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.”

Bulldogs unable to cool off red hot Northwestern

27 SEP 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – The high-powered Northwestern locomotive swept through Walz Arena on Friday night as the visiting Red Raiders ran their winning streak to 20. Behind star right side Karlie Schut, seventh-ranked Northwestern (21-1, 5-0 GPAC) cruised to a 25-14, 25-12, 26-24 victory over the Bulldogs. Head coach Scott Mattera’s squad fell to 11-7 overall and 2-5 in GPAC action.

“When you’re playing this many young new players, you’re going to see some awesome stuff and you’re going to see some stuff that you just can’t explain,” Mattera said. “They’re going to make great plays. Down the stretch you saw us not shift on a ball that was too far outside.”

The seasoned Red Raiders took control early, piling up eight-straight points to extend their lead to 16-6 in the first set. They never looked back from there with only a brief deficit at the beginning of the second set and late in the third. Head coach Kyle Van Den Bosch’s squad sizzled with a .379 hitting percentage in the second game and a .344 clip for the match.

The likes of Schut, Kaitlin Floerchinger and Payton Samuelson dominated at the net as the trio combined for 21 kills and seven blocks. For the match, Northwestern’s towering front row piled up 11 blocks, including six in the second set.

Concordia provided by far the most resistance in the third set when it came back from an 11-4 deficit to knot things up at 13 and then again several more times throughout the match’s final set. The Bulldogs even grabbed a 22-21 lead on a Mariah Schamp kill. Three points later, Schamp drilled another kill that knocked a Northwestern player to the floor.

The crowd, spurred by an appearance from the Bulldog pep band, got rocking late in that third set. However, the Red Raiders stayed poised and came up with points 25 and 26 of the third game to close out Concordia.

“The first two games were not as bad as the scores,” Mattera said. “The play was much, much better. We just weren’t ending points. When it comes down to it, that’s the reason they’re No. 7 in the country and we’re not yet.

“We’re moving in that direction. There was a lot of progress being made tonight. Our demeanor on the court was much better.”

The Bulldogs got a team high nine kills from sophomore Claire White. Junior Carli Smith was active defensively with 21 digs, including an impressive diving bump in the first set that kept alive a long rally that ended with a White hammer of a kill. In addition, freshman setter Alayna Kavanaugh totaled 22 assists.

The Red Raiders also got stellar production from outside hitter Haley Chambers, who swatted 10 kills on just 16 swings. Middle hitter Kellie Goedken added 10 kills on 18 swings. The quintet of Chambers, Floerchinger, Goedken, Samuelson and Schut all range from 5-foot-11 to 6-foot-1 in height.

While Northwestern controlled much of Friday’s match, Van Den Bosch was complimentary of Concordia’s team and the direction of the program following his team’s victory.

The Bulldogs get right back to action on Saturday as Morningside (8-5, 1-3 GPAC) comes to town for a 1 p.m. match inside Walz Arena. Last season the Mustangs won the only meeting between the two squads in four sets.

“Morningside is a really solid team,” Mattera said. “They play extremely hard. It’s one of those, it takes more than one swing to get a kill type thing. We’ve got to plan on them making some diving, one-handed digs.”

Concordia solves Morningside

28 SEP 2013

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.

Balance of Prairie Wolves too much for Bulldogs

1 OCT 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – There were times on Tuesday night when Bulldog volleyball appeared primed to take that next step toward toppling a top GPAC opponent. However, a hot Nebraska Wesleyan (13-2, 5-2 GPAC) squad used a balanced effort to dispatch of Concordia in four, 25-19, 27-25, 19-25, 25-18, inside Walz Arena. The Bulldogs declined to 12-8 overall and 3-6 in GPAC play.

“We had moments of brilliance but not enough of them,” Concordia head coach Scott Mattera said. “We had some of our best play of the year quite honestly, especially in game three there. We just didn’t have the consistency tonight. We were kind of an emotional roller coaster tonight.”

The second set proved pivotal as Nebraska Wesleyan took control of the match by eking out a 27-25 decision. The Bulldogs led 20-17 after a Claire White kill that forced the Prairie Wolves to call timeout. With the set knotted at 25-all, Alyssa Stanek and Alexa Rosenau combined on a block and Malory Dahl floored a kill to give Nebraska Wesleyan the 2-0 advantage.

The Bulldogs saved their best for the third set when White went for five of her match high 16 kills. Concordia led virtually the entire set and would have won by an even larger margin if not for an uncharacteristic seven service errors in the third game.

“Before the third set we really talked about staying loose,” White said. “The other sets we played well, but we were a little bit tight and plays weren’t going our way because of it. I think the key was just to stay loose and I think it helped open up our defense for more plays and our offense came through.”

Concordia played on Tuesday without 2012 second team all-GPAC honoree Carli Smith, who sat out with an injury. Mattera inserted sophomore Kendra Dinkel (24 digs) into the lineup as Concordia continued its two-person serve receive pairing Dinkel and White.

“There were times you could see that we were missing Carli – we do miss her – but Kendra stepped up and really played great tonight,” Mattera said. “I am really proud of her.

“Carli’s the prime passer in all six of our rotations. Even though the people who were in for her did great, it’s just different.”

Added White, “Kendra did awesome. She really stepped in when we needed her.”

Nebraska Wesleyan came out with a victory by keeping its play at a high level more consistently than Concordia. The Prairie Wolves got a big defensive night from Mackenzie Hite, who turned in 31 digs, and a team best 14 kills from Alyssa Stanek. On a night when long rallies were the norm, Nebraska Wesleyan outlasted the Bulldogs.

“They did things the right way quite often tonight,” Mattera said of the Prairie Wolves, who received votes in Tuesday’s NCAA Division III national rankings. “They’re 13-2 for a reason. It’s the same story we keep saying every week. We’re playing great competition and we need to be consistently good to hang with this level of competition.”

Freshman outside hitter Paige Getz equaled a career high with 14 kills for the second-straight match. White added 19 digs to go with her 16 kills. The Exeter, Neb., native now has eight kill-dig double-doubles on the season.

Schamp's 'crazy good' performance drives win over York

8 OCT 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia volleyball dipped outside of conference play for the final time during the 2013 regular season and dominated most of the way in earning a 25-14, 26-24, 25-10 win over visiting York College. The Bulldogs’ athleticism was too much for a Lady Panther squad that dropped to 0-5 this season against GPAC opponents. Host Concordia improved to 13-8 overall and 4-5 in home matches.

While the Bulldogs ran away with sets one and three, things got interesting during a tightly-contested second set.

“We hit over .333 in that second game but we allowed them to hit over .300, too,” Concordia head coach Scott Mattera said. “We were so intent on our transition that we forgot to play defense first.

“I was proud of them – down 24-22 in the (second set) and we ran off four-straight to win it. We needed that (scare), but it’s really frustrating to go through.”

Up against a smaller front row than the Bulldogs typically see in conference play, 5-foot-11 freshman outside hitter Paige Getz and 5-foot-10 junior middle Mariah Schamp combined for 25 kills on 46 attack attempts. Getz had a huge first game with six kills and then another five in the second to put Concordia on the verge of the straight-sets win.

For the fifth time this season, Schamp, who hails from Arvada, Colo., hit over .500 in a match. She posted an impressive .706 clip (12 kills on 17 attempts) without an error in Tuesday’s win.

“Schamp was a beast in the middle,” Mattera said. “She started out not getting up on time and we had a talk with her after the first timeout. After that she was absolutely unstoppable. A .706 hitting percentage – that’s crazy good.”

With freshman Alayna Kavanaugh (35 assists) setting her up, Schamp had little trouble getting the ball to land on the hardwood.

“We’ve been really working on our connections,” Schamp said. “And Coach (Rachel) Miller really talked to me about getting in quicker. She said, ‘you’re there but if you get in even sooner, you’re going to be able to beat the block.’ When I finally remembered that and caught on to that, they just couldn’t get up to stop me.”

The Panthers put up a fight in the second set thanks to a .313 attack percentage spurred by just four errors. After trailing 7-2, York came back to grab a lead as large as three, 16-13, with freshman Alyssa Didier leading the way on the attack. The Panthers even served for set point, up 24-22.

Sophomore outside hitter Claire White came through with thunderous kills to notch two of the next three points. Freshman Taylor Workman then finished the run of four-straight points by dropping in a kill that put the Bulldogs up 2-0 in the match.

“I think we just realized this is not how we play – this is not our game,” Schamp said of the team’s response to getting down late in the second game.

Getz, a Paola, Kan., native, tallied a career-high tying 14 kills for the third-straight match. In addition, White posted 10 kills, nine digs and three aces while freshman Taylor Workman had six kills on 11 attempts.

Senior defensive specialist Carli Smith returned after missing last week’s match with an injury. She totaled a match high 15 digs. Her improved play in set No. 3 was a big reason for the lopsided score. Says Mattera: “Our whole team starts with Carli.”

The Bulldogs have another break in the schedule as they wait more than a week before playing at Doane (9-10, 3-4 GPAC) on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. The Tigers defeated Concordia in straight sets inside Walz Arena on Sept. 17.

Said Schamp after Tuesday’s match, “We’re all ready to beat Doane.”

Bulldogs fall again to Doane despite fast start

16 OCT 2013

CRETE, Neb. – Wednesday’s result leaves Concordia volleyball still searching for that elusive victory over GPAC rival Doane. The Tigers continued their run of success against the Bulldogs by earning a 20-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-20 win in Crete. Despite coming out strong with a first-set victory, Concordia fell to 13-9 overall and 3-7 in GPAC play.

“That first game was about as good as we’re capable of playing,” Bulldog head coach Scott Mattera said. “Our blocking was on and our hitting was exceptionally smart. They didn’t have answers for us. Then we got a little bit tight. Doane stepped up their game huge and (Tiger senior Ashley) Axmann took over.”

As Mattera mentioned, Concordia put together by far its best performance in the first set when it outhit the Tigers .310 to .200. The Bulldogs, who made only three errors in the opening game, were unable to sustain that level of play and slipped to .214 in the second set and .153 for the match. Meanwhile, Doane followed Axmann’s lead (match-high 22 kills) and got hot in the second set on the way to a team .258 hitting percentage on the night.

“Games 2, 3 and 4 weren’t bad,” Mattera said. “They just weren’t good enough to win.”

Down 21-14 in the fourth and final set of the night, Bulldog sophomore Claire White tried to will her squad to a fifth game by burying back-to-back kills. She displayed her array of attacking moves by tapping the ball into the open space for a point prior to smashing a kill that handcuffed the Doane dig attempt. White finished with seven kills and 12 digs.

The pivotal third set went back and forth until Doane ran off five-straight points to go ahead 15-10. Concordia called timeout to regroup, but the Tigers remained comfortably in front for the remainder of the set on the way to taking a 2-1 advantage in the match.

Freshman Paige Getz led the Bulldogs with 10 kills in the process of pushing her streak of matches with 10 or more kills to four. She now has nine such productive outings on the season.

Fellow freshman Alayna Kavanaugh had a solid statistical night with 31 assists, three kills and two aces. Junior defensive specialist Carli Smith paced the team with 15 digs. Sophomore Kelsey Dinkel and junior middle Mariah Schamp equaled White’s output on the attack with seven kills apiece.

“There’s not a player on our team that I couldn’t name two, three or four plays where they really stood out,” Mattera said. “It was one of those things where we couldn’t seem to catch a break. The 50-50 balls didn’t go our way. We couldn’t overcome that.

“We were hoping they would make mistakes and that’s never a good strategy.”

The Tigers also did a nice job defensively at the net, piling up 11 blocks as five different players assisted on at least one denial. Three players, including Axmann, notched four block assists each for Doane.

The Tigers have swept the regular-season series. They also defeated Concordia in straight sets on Sept. 17 inside Walz Arena.

Wednesday’s affair marked the first GPAC match for Mattera’s crew in more than two weeks. Concordia had played just a single nonconference contest since dropping a four-set decision to Nebraska Wesleyan in Seward on Oct. 1.

The Bulldogs return home this weekend for a pair of matches. Concordia will host Dakota State (5-21) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. before turning around to welcome in Mount Marty (10-15, 0-9 GPAC) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Both contests will be preceded by a junior varsity match. The Bulldogs already hold straight-sets victories this season over both weekend opponents.

Getz continues hot streak as Bulldogs down Dakota State

18 OCT 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Freshman Paige Getz smoldered once again and the Bulldogs cruised to a 25-22, 25-17, 25-16 win over nonconference foe Dakota State University (5-22) inside Walz Arena on Friday night. The win continued Concordia’s dominance against teams outside the GPAC as it improved to 11-2 in nonconference matches. On the season, the Bulldogs moved to 14-9 overall.

“We got a win and we’re happy with that,” Concordia head coach Scott Mattera said. “The scores were probably about where they should have been, it just didn’t feel quite right often. We couldn’t find a flow.

“We did enough to win and that’s part of growing up as a team – figuring out how to win games when you don’t have your ‘A’ game.”

Getz got rolling in the second set in squelching any hopes that the Trojans had of a rally. The Paola, Kan., native totaled a match high 12 kills on 23 swings to lead an efficient Concordia attack that outhit Dakota State .206 to -.013 for the match. It was Getz’s fifth-straight contest with double-figure kills.

Getz says she’s hit her stride late in her first collegiate season.

“It was hard adjusting from high school to college, but I think I’m adjusted now and comfortable,” Getz said.

“(Tonight the key was) focus and energy and staying disciplined and doing what I had to do.”

The visiting Trojans, who entered play with a record of 1-9 against GPAC opponents, played competitively throughout the first set and actually led 3-0 at the outset. The Bulldogs finally took their first lead of the opening set with sophomore Claire White’s thunderous kill that made it 12-11. Freshman Tiegen Skains, who led both teams with four first-game kills, powered down set point to end the Trojan threat.

The freshman duo of Skains and Getz provided plenty of fireworks, hammering home several crowd-pleasing kills each. Skains pummeled a pass from freshman Alayna Kavanaugh so hard that the Dakota State dig attempt landed two rows into the bleachers, extending the Concordia lead to 7-1 in the second game.

Dakota State fought back in the second set and got back within 18-15, forcing Mattera to call a timeout. The Bulldogs then reeled off the next three points on the way to grabbing a 2-0 lead in the match. Getz put away six points by herself – all on kills – to steal the spotlight.

At times on Friday, a feisty Dakota State defense gave Concordia trouble.

“We didn’t get on any runs where it was clean over and over,” Mattera said. “You know what, Dakota State does that to you too. They don’t have any huge hitters but they’re smart with their tips and they put it in awkward places that make your transition game difficult.”

Getz got plenty of support from Concordia’s usual balanced effort on the attack. Junior middle Mariah Schamp posted 10 kills and Skains and White tallied eight apiece. That number gave Skains a career high.

In addition, Kavanaugh piled up 30 assists. Eight different Bulldogs had at least one dig, led by White’s eight. White also contributed three aces.

Concordia has now defeated Dakota State twice this season. Getz and company also put away the Trojans in three sets in a neutral site match on Sept. 6.

The Bulldogs remain at home on Saturday to take on Mount Marty (11-15, 0-9 GPAC) at 2:30 p.m. Concordia defeated the Lancers, 25-17, 25-20, 25-22, in Yankton, S.D., on Sept. 21. Mount Marty also played Friday night and defeated Presentation College (S.D.) in straight sets.

“They’re a vastly improving program,” Mattera said of Mount Marty. “They’ve got some athletes that can put the ball away so we’re going to have to step it up on Saturday.”

Bulldogs serve up snappy straight-sets win over Mount Marty

19 OCT 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – The Bulldogs came out sizzling in the first set on the way to a dominant 25-9, 29-27, 25-9 win over Mount Marty (11-16, 0-10 GPAC) inside Walz Arena on Saturday afternoon. Concordia experienced only a minor hiccup in the second set but came out on top to set the stage for a second three-set win in a row. The Bulldogs improved to 15-9 overall and 4-7 in GPAC play.

“We played really well in game one and we played pretty well in game three as well,” Concordia head coach Scott Mattera said. “But our serving was just off the charts. (Mariah) Schamp and (Michala) Maurer just took them out of everything they wanted to do. It was fantastic.”

Concordia set the tone for its fourth victory in the past six matches with a blistering first set that saw it outhit the Lancers, .478 to -.045. Everyone fired on all cylinders as the quartet of sophomores Kelsey Dinkel and Claire White and freshmen Paige Getz and Taylor Workman combined for 14 kills on only 21 swings in the first game.

Workman, who hails from Lincoln, Neb., enjoyed one of the best performances of her young career with nine kills on 18 attempts and four total blocks (two solos).

“We worked a lot on connections in practice so I think that really helped a lot,” Workman said. “The connection was there (on Saturday).”

Workman and junior middle Mariah Schamp were instrumental in Concordia’s come-from-behind effort in the second set. Both were part of three denials at the net as the Bulldogs rallied back down 24-22 with Mount Marty serving for set point. Workman posted both of her solo blocks at the end of the second set and Schamp came through with two blocks near the end of the set, including one that knotted the score at 24-24.

“We were OK with that because of how maturely we handled it,” Mattera said of the close call in the second set. “We probably shouldn’t have let them hang around that long. We were down two and they probably had four or five game points there. Every time they had a game point, we made a play.”

The third set looked much like the first as the Bulldogs won by an identical 25-9 score. Concordia stifled the Lancers, who recorded negative attack percentages in the first and third games and hit only .042 for the match.

In service, junior specialist Michala Maurer gave Mount Marty fits all day. She hammered three aces and combined with the likes of White and Schamp on service to make it difficult for the Lancers to get into an offensive rhythm. Maurer, a Columbus, Neb., native, now has 28 aces on the season.

White led Concordia with 10 kills. Schamp added eight and Getz stayed hot with seven kills on 18 swings. Both freshman Alayna Kavanaugh and Carli Smith had eight digs.

The Lancers got a team high seven kills from Bailey Kuchta.

The Bulldogs have swept the regular-season series with Mount Marty. Concordia also defeated the Lancers, 25-17, 25-20, 25-22 in Yankton, S.D., on Sept. 21.

The Bulldogs face a challenging week on the road ahead. Concordia will play three GPAC matches away from Seward next week, beginning with Nebraska Wesleyan (17-6, 7-4 GPAC) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The Prairie Wolves knocked off the Bulldogs in four sets inside Walz Arena on Oct. 1.

Getz and company cut down despite strong road performance

23 OCT 2013

LINCOLN, Neb. – Despite several strong individual efforts and a clean overall performance, Concordia volleyball went down in straight sets at Nebraska Wesleyan on Wednesday night. The host Prairie Wolves (18-6, 8-4 GPAC) got standout matches from Malory Dahl and Alyssa Stanek on the way to a 26-24, 25-23, 25-20 victory. The Bulldogs’ records moved to 15-10 overall and 4-8 in GPAC competition.

“It was an amazing match to watch,” Concordia head coach Scott Mattera said. “I wish I could have just been a fan tonight because the level of play was fantastic on both sides. They just made a few more plays than we did and we couldn't get a stop when we needed one.”

Freshman outside hitter Paige Getz continued her remarkable run with 15 more kills on 43 swings. The Bulldog Booster Club Athlete of the Week, a Paola, Kan., native, has come into her own in the stretch run of her rookie season.

“Getz was incredible tonight, not only getting kills but hitting harder than she ever has before,” Mattera said.

Getz used her powerful right arm to swat a kill in the first set that tied it at 24 apiece. However, Nebraska Wesleyan thrived in clutch situations on this night and responded by powering a pair of kills for a 1-0 lead in the match. Concordia had built a lead as large as 13-9 in the set.

The Bulldogs found themselves right there in the second set as well when kills by freshman Alayna Kavanaugh and junior Mariah Schamp staked them to a 17-16 advantage. Eventually Wesleyan would again put away the final two points to secure another nailbiting set point.

The third and final set proved to be the outlier as the Prairie Wolves built a 15-5 advantage before the Bulldogs fought back to within 21-17. The rough patch at the beginning of the third set was the only disappointing aspect of a solid effort on the road.

“We had so many good performances tonight,” Mattera said, while also lauding Schamp and Taylor Workman for their play in the middle. “We just had one 10 minute lapse in game three and were unable to stop their offense on big points.”

Schamp finished with 11 kills (20 attempts) and one block. Workman added seven kills on 11 swings to go with a block assist.

Mattera commended the trio of Carli Smith, Claire White and Jami Nekoliczak for their combined passing and serve receive work. Smith led the team with 16 digs while White chipped in nine kills and 11 digs. In addition, Kavanaugh piled up 38 assists.

The Prairie Wolves outhit Concordia .248 to .220. The Bulldogs had entered play with a record of 12-1 when hitting above .200.

Wesleyan got a match high 12 kills from Katelyn Walsh and efficient attacking outputs from Dahl and Stanek, who notched 10 kills apiece.

The Bulldogs stay on the road for matches in western Iowa on Friday and Saturday. The Bulldogs draw Briar Cliff in Sioux City (16-11, 5-7 GPAC) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The two teams last met on Oct. 5, 2012, when Concordia won in five sets in Seward.

GPAC road swing continues with loss at Briar Cliff

25 OCT 2013

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Concordia volleyball continued its GPAC road tour with the second of three-straight away matches. The Bulldogs fell to 0-2 on the road swing after Friday night’s 25-17, 25-17, 26-24 loss at Briar Cliff in Sioux City, Iowa. Head coach Scott Mattera’s club stands at 15-11 overall and 4-9 in conference action.

“We didn't play particularly well tonight and Briar Cliff fed off their raucous ‘pink night’ crowd,” Mattera said. “They played inspired volleyball that we couldn't overcome.”

The Chargers, spurred by their crowd along with a great service game, got 11 kills on 17 swings and four total blocks from middle blocker Jenna Berg. For the match, Briar Cliff outhit Concordia .270 to .099.

“Briar Cliff served extremely well and it caused some issues in our passing game,” Mattera said. “We got desperate with everything that was going on and didn't play smart. This was the simple case of a mature team at home and a developing team on the road. We're going to regroup and come back harder tomorrow against Dordt.”

The Bulldogs were just one play away from taking the third set, leading 24-22. The Chargers (17-11, 6-7 GPAC) came through in the clutch with four-straight points as the match ended with a Concordia error on the attack.

The Bulldogs had fought back from a three-point deficit early in the third set to take a 13-12 lead. Freshman Taylor Workman went for a kill and then combined with freshman Tiegen Skains on a block that put their side ahead, 13-12. Sophomore Claire White later smashed a kill that pushed the lead to 20-18 and made Briar Cliff burn a timeout.

Concordia again gave its opponent fits at times with its aggressive serving. The Bulldogs grabbed an 11-9 first-set advantage powered by early aces from juniors Michala Maurer and Mariah Schamp (two aces on the night). The Chargers adjusted and took a 16-13 lead to force a Concordia timeout. However, it did little to slow down Briar Cliff, which reeled off 16 of the last 22 points in the contest’s opening set.

Schamp and freshman Paige Getz led the Bulldogs with eight kills apiece. Freshman Alayna Kavanaugh had 23 assists and White and junior Carli Smith both dug up nine attacks.

The loss knocks Concordia’s record down to 3-4 in true road matches. The Bulldogs hold conference road wins over Dakota Wesleyan and Mount Marty.

The Bulldogs remain in western Iowa to take on No. 18-ranked Dordt (18-5, 9-3 GPAC) at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The Defenders have won seven of their last eight matches, including an upset of then No. 5 Midland on Sept. 28. Last season Dordt defeated Concordia in straight sets in Sioux Center, Iowa.

With three conference matches remaining, the Bulldogs are close to solidifying a spot in the eight-team GPAC tournament, which begins Nov. 9. Concordia, a likely No. 7 or 8 seed in the tournament, could still rise as high as the sixth seed.

White shines in defeat at No. 18 Dordt

26 OCT 2013

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – Concordia sophomore Claire White put together a complete individual performance despite a 25-16, 25-20, 25-23, loss at No. 18 Dordt on Saturday evening. The loss completed a challenging week on the road inside the conference for head coach Scott Mattera’s Bulldogs, who now sit at 15-12 overall and 4-10 in the GPAC.

“Dordt played with great maturity and survived a scare in game three,” Mattera said. “Our third game was the toughest minded volleyball we've played all year. Coming off a hard night at Briar Cliff and losing the first two tonight, I am so proud of how we pushed them to the limit in that third game.”

White came through with perhaps her best performance in conference play this season. She hit .333 while piling up a match high 11 kills to go with her team best 10 digs.

“Claire was unstoppable on the outside,” Mattera said. “She was really in rhythm and made great decisions about when to go big and when to play smart.”

Saturday’s match marked the ninth time this season that White, a native of Exeter, Neb., has reached double figures in both kills and digs.

In addition, freshman outside hitter Paige Getz racked up 10 kills. She has posted 10 or more kills in seven of the last nine matches.

Freshman Alayna Kavanaugh dished out 32 assists and Mariah Schamp chipped in eight kills in the middle.

Dordt, which outhit Concordia .319 to .221, got nine kills apiece from Lindsay Floen and Jenna Horstman. Floen also blocked four attacks in the middle.

Concordia has now played five ranked opponents on the season. The Bulldogs are now 9-7 away from Walz Arena.

“The goal now is to take the level of fight we showed in the third and make that who we are all the time, not just when our backs are against the wall,” Mattera said.

The Bulldogs return home on Tuesday when they host College of Saint Mary (17-14) at 7 p.m. The match has been billed as ‘Think Pink Night,’ which serves as the culmination of Concordia volleyball’s collaboration with the Pink Bandannas organization to support women struggling with breast cancer.

'Pink night' precision extinguishes Flames

29 OCT 2013

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.

Bulldog outsides power season sweep of Dakota Wesleyan

2 NOV 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – After dropping the first set, Concordia volleyball stormed back for a 25-27, 25-20, 25-17, 25-11 win over visiting Dakota Wesleyan on a senior day Saturday for the Bulldogs. Both Concordia outside hitters produced big afternoons on the way to a season sweep of the Tigers. The Bulldogs improved their records to 17-12 overall and 5-10 in GPAC competition.

Head coach Scott Mattera said that his team regained its focus in the second set.

“It was probably very useful for us,” Mattera said of the adversity his team faced after losing the first set. “We turned a corner about two weeks ago in terms of understanding the amount of energy and focus it takes to win three sets in a row.

“Tonight was a good reminder that if we don’t bring it, it’s possible for us to get into a hole.”

The duo of sophomore Claire White and freshman Paige Getz combined for 30 kills on 68 swings on the outside. Dakota Wesleyan (7-26, 0-15 GPAC) found little answer as White and Getz were the driving force behind the team’s solid .284 hitting percentage for the match. Their play helped bring up the rest of the team after an uninspiring start.

“We really needed to get our energy up,” White said. “Saturday afternoon matches are kind of hard to get pumped up for, but as soon we got focused we kind of let that game slide. We started off really, really slow. We just really needed to build our momentum up and after that it really came through.”

White and Getz could not have done such damage without the work of freshman setter Alayna Kavanaugh, who again connected effectively with a host of teammates. Kavanaugh finished with 36 assists and even dropped in a career best six kills.

White brought the noise level in the arena to its highest level all evening when her thunderous kill beat the Dakota Wesleyan block in the fourth set to push Concordia’s lead to 18-10. That gave the Exeter, Neb., her 15th and final kill.

Freshman Tiegen Skains came up with a big defensive performance at the net with six total blocks. Fellow freshman Taylor Workman added nine kills and four total blocks. Junior Carli Smith pitched in with a match high 24 digs.

Both of Concordia’s only two seniors who were honored, Jillian Jensen and Jennifer Smith, saw action at the end of the fourth and final set.

Saturday’s match snapped a string of six-straight Concordia outings that ended in straight sets. Seventeen of the team’s 29 matches (58.6 percent) have been decided in only three sets.

Dakota Wesleyan was led by the 10 kills apiece from Hannah Hammer and Taylor Spence.

The Bulldogs close the regular season on Wednesday when they challenge No. 6 Midland (30-3, 12-3 GPAC) at 7:30 p.m. in Fremont, Neb. The Warriors won the first meeting between the two teams in straight sets on Sept. 11 in Seward. They also could meet up again in the quarterfinals of the GPAC tournament on Saturday, Nov. 9.

Upset bid denied by sixth-ranked Warriors

6 NOV 2013

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.”

Concordia hints at future promise in season-ending defeat

9 NOV 2013

FREMONT, Neb. – There were times on Saturday night when Concordia volleyball appeared poised to pull off a stunner over No. 6 Midland in the GPAC tournament quarterfinals in Fremont, Neb. The Bulldogs outlasted the Warriors in the first set, but Midland rallied for a 26-28, 25-12, 25-21, 25-20 win over head coach Scott Mattera’s hard-charging crew. The loss completes the 2013 season for Concordia, which went 17-14 overall.

“This was one of those matches where their fans, players and coaches make a point to tell us how much respect we earned,” Mattera said. “I'm very proud of this team and beyond excited for the future.”

The Bulldogs trailed 24-21 in the first set before making a gutty rally on the road against a team that beat them just a few days earlier. Concordia ran off the next four points to take the lead only to see Midland take the next two. Facing another Midland set point, the Bulldogs got kills from freshman Taylor Workman and junior Jami Nekoliczak before the set came to a conclusion with a Midland attack error.

"I’ve got no complaints,” Mattera said. “We’re walking out of here heads held high. Game one was an amazing comeback. We had a meltdown in game two but came out of the locker room firing in three and four. It sure felt like we were going five as we had control of four until a key run in the late teens when Midland really turned it on and showed why they are a national threat.”

The Warriors turned to star Ashley Wheeler to get back on track. She posted a match high 15 kills in allowing Midland to avoid falling victim to Concordia’s upset bid. Wheeler also got plenty of help from a balanced attack that included Mackenzie Scheef (11 kills) and KC Heimann (10 kills).

For a team whose only three losses have come to teams ranked inside the nation’s top 10, Saturday’s contest may have pushed Midland a bit more than it expected.

“We didn't back down one bit,” Mattera said. “It hurts knowing the season is over but the way we played tonight should give us both confidence and hunger as we move forward.”

Statistically, Concordia was paced by the 12 kills of Paige Getz, who budded into a star in the second half of the season. Sophomore Claire White chipped in 10 kills and Workman added eight.

Freshman setter Alayna Kavanaugh dished out 34 assists and junior Carli Smith tallied 15 digs.

The Bulldogs will not graduate a single individual who saw significant time on the court in 2013. After making a jump from 10 wins in 2012 to 17 in 2013, Mattera expects the program to make great strides again heading into the 2014 campaign.

Schamp collects GPAC second team accolades

20 NOV 2013

GPAC Release

SEWARD, Neb. – Junior middle Mariah Schamp’s best season in a Bulldog uniform has landed her on the GPAC’s second team, as announced by the conference on Wednesday. In addition, junior defensive specialist Carli Smith and sophomore outside hitter Claire White picked up honorable mention all-conference recognition.

Schamp gave head coach Scott Mattera a supremely athletic force in the middle. The Arvada, Colo., native contributed significantly in 2013 both offensively and defensively. She led the Bulldogs in both blocks (91) and aces (42) and ranked third with 274 kills in 110 sets. Her .272 hitting percentage placed eighth among all GPAC players.

Smith, a second team choice in 2012, enjoyed another stellar season as the team’s libero. The native of Temecula, Calif., posted a career high 4.63 digs per set (third in the GPAC) while successfully handling 93.5 percent of her serve receive chances. She piled up 491 total digs in 106 sets.

White, a transfer from Washburn University who hails from Exeter, Neb., proved a potent attacker on the outside in her first season with Concordia. She led the team with 339 kills (3.1 per set – 10th in the GPAC) and combined with Smith for a terrific serve receive combo. She added 302 digs and 36 aces in 110 sets.

Last season Amanda Kisker earned first team all-conference laurels. Schamp moved up to second team this year after honorable mention honors as a sophomore.

Bulldog volleyball ties national best with seven scholar-athletes

6 DEC 2013

View complete list of NAIA volleyball Scholar-Athletes

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia volleyball placed seven representatives on the list of 2013 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes, tying for the most among all NAIA institutions. The release, announced Friday by the NAIA, marks the second-straight year the program has had exactly seven scholar-athletes. Senior Jennifer Smith is Concordia’s lone repeat selection as six juniors earn scholar-athlete recognition for the first time (list below).

In order to be nominated by an institution’s head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status.

Concordia ranks as the NAIA’s all-time leader in number of Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes with 949 and counting. During the 2012-13 academic year, Concordia had 71 Scholar-Athletes and 17 NAIA Scholar-Teams.

A total of 391 volleyball student-athletes across the nation were named scholar-athletes by the NAIA. Only one program nationally had more than Concordia’s seven scholar-athletes.

Concordia University, Nebraska, founded in 1894, is a fully accredited, coeducational university located in Seward, Neb., that currently serves over 2,200 students. Concordia offers more than 50 professional and liberal arts programs in an excellent academic and Christ-centered community that equips men and women for lives of learning, service and leadership in the church and world.

2013 Concordia volleyball scholar-athletes

  • Amanda Abbott, Jr. | Temecula, Calif. | Elementary Education
  • Kayla James, Jr. | Kearney, Neb. | Biology
  • Michala Maurer, Jr. | Columbus, Neb. | Middle Level Education - Math & Language Arts
  • Audrey Mehl, Jr. | Concordia, Mo. | Secondary Education
  • Emily Metschke, Jr. | Lincoln, Neb. | Exercise Science
  • Mariah Schamp, Jr. | Arvada, Colo. | Director of Christian Education and Psychology
  • Jennifer Smith, Sr. | Grafton, Neb. | Studio Art

Smith, White receive OWH NAIA all-Nebraska honorable mention

26 DEC 2013

Article from Omaha World-Herald

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia volleyball standouts in junior Carli Smith and sophomore Claire White have been named Omaha World-Herald NAIA All-Nebraska honorable mention selections, as announced on Christmas day.

Both Smith and White were also honorable mention all-GPAC choices after leading the Bulldogs to a 17-14 record in 2013.

Smith, a second team choice in 2012, enjoyed another stellar season as the team’s libero. The native of Temecula, Calif., posted a career high 4.63 digs per set (third in the GPAC) while successfully handling 93.5 percent of her serve receive chances. She piled up 491 total digs in 106 sets.

White, a transfer from Washburn University who hails from Exeter, Neb., proved a potent attacker on the outside in her first season with Concordia. She led the team with 339 kills (3.1 per set – 10th in the GPAC) and combined with Smith for a terrific serve receive combo. She added 302 digs and 36 aces in 110 sets.

2013 Omaha World-Herald NAIA All-Nebraska Volleyball Team

H: Annie Benson, Bellevue, Sr.
H: Symone Faulkner, Bellevue, So.
H: Ashley Axmann, Doane, Sr.
H: Mackenzie Scheef, Midland, Jr.
H: Shayna Schacher, Hastings, Sr.
H: Ashlee Harms, Midland, Fr.
S: Megan Farley, Midland, So.
L: Meghan Evans, Bellevue, Sr.
L: Mackenzie Hite, Nebraska Wesleyan, Sr.

Honorary captain: Megan Farley, Midland

Honorable mention: Sydney DeBoer, Caitlyn Rueth, Beth Walker, Bellevue; Mallory Babic, Jamie Carlson, Baylee Collins, Jessica Kuehner, College of St. Mary; Carli Smith, Claire White, Concordia; Abby Sorensen, Karissa Blank, Doane; Libby Kissinger, Jess Osterhaus, Katie Zoucha, Hastings; KC Heimann, Molly Pettit, Heather Pribyl, Ashley Wheeler, Midland; Malory Dahl, Alyssa Stanek, Katelyn Walsh, Nebraska Wesleyan; Bre Brandt, Mallory Hull, Peru State; Tatiana Arvie, Nicole Gates, York