SEWARD, Neb. – The 2020 season will be a highly anticipated campaign for the Concordia University volleyball team. Fresh off the program’s first-ever advancement to the final site (round of 16 appearance) of the NAIA national tournament, the Bulldogs are slated to open up play on Aug. 21 with the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Fall Fling Tournament hosted by Tabor College. The complete 2020 varsity schedule features 22 regular-season dates (17 for junior varsity).
Head coach Ben Boldt’s squad concluded the 2019 season at 25-8 overall and was ranked 14th in the NAIA postseason coaches’ poll. The Bulldogs will return All-GPAC seniors-to-be in setter Tara Callahan (first team), defensive specialist Marissa Hoerman (honorable mention) and outside hitter Kara Stark (honorable mention) and the GPAC Freshman of the Year in outside hitter Camryn Opfer.
The 2020 home opener presents a showdown of in-state foes with Concordia welcoming a perennially strong Bellevue University program to Walz Arena as part of the annual Bulldog Bash (Aug. 28-29). The Bulldog Bash will include three 2019 national qualifiers in Concordia, Bellevue and the University of Saint Mary (Kan.), which was placed in the same pool play grouping as the Bulldogs at nationals back in December. Concordia is scheduled to have 11 home matches in the regular season.
Three two-day weekend events will make up the nonconference schedule. On the weekend of Sept. 4-5, Concordia will be in Bellevue for a classic hosted by the Bruins (ranked 19th in the 2019 NAIA postseason poll). Last season’s KCAC Fling had a field of teams such as host Tabor, College of Saint Mary, Panhandle State University, Peru State College and William Penn University.
Conference play will begin Aug. 26 with a match at Mount Marty. Last season, the GPAC qualified five teams for the national tournament. Four of those squads finished ranked in the NAIA top 25: No. 4 Jamestown, No. 6 Northwestern, No. 14 Concordia and No. 23 College of Saint Mary. Two other GPAC teams finished among those receiving votes.
Dates for the GPAC tournament are Nov. 7 for the quarterfinals, Nov. 11 for the semifinals and Nov. 14 for the championship. NAIA National Championships are slated for Nov. 21 for the opening round and Dec. 1-5 for the final site, which will again be the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.