4-0 Bulldogs prepare for home cooking

By Jacob Knabel on Aug. 28, 2018 in Volleyball

SEWARD, Neb. – Now 4-0 without succumbing in a single set so far this season, the Concordia University volleyball team will get cozy within its home digs this week. The Bulldogs will begin a string of six-straight home matches when action gets underway at 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday when Kansas Wesleyan University will serves as the opponent. Head coach Ben Boldt’s squad will then play three times inside Walz Arena as part of this weekend’s Bulldog Bash.

This week
Wednesday, Aug. 29 vs. Kansas Wesleyan, 7 p.m.
Bulldog Bash
Friday, Aug. 31 | Bethany vs. Valley City State, 3 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 31 | Benedictine vs. Valley City State, 5 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 31 | Concordia vs. Bethany, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 1 | Concordia vs. Valley City State, 11 a.m.
Saturday, Sept. 1 | Benedictine vs. St. Mary, 1 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 1 | St. Mary vs. Valley City State, 3 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 1 | Concordia vs. Benedictine, 5 p.m.

Each of the eight matches listed above will be streamed live via the Concordia Sports Network. Wednesday’s match will also have radio coverage provided by 104.9 Max Country, the radio home of Bulldog athletics.

Concordia has gotten out to its first 4-0 start since the 2015 national tournament squad opened up at 6-0. Boldt’s bunch has stayed unbeaten by using an attack that has ranked as one of the nation’s most efficient thus far. The Bulldogs are hitting .271 (11th best among NAIA teams) while being spurred by breakthrough senior Jenna Habegger, who leads the team with 46 kills and a .374 hitting percentage. Setters Tara Callahan and Kaci Hohenthaner have plenty of other options at their disposal. Freshman Arleigh Costello (29 kills, .345) has already turned some heads with her hard-hitting style and then there are dependable veterans Alex La Plant (30 kills, .247) and Emmie Noyd (23 kills, .283).

Concordia will go all the way until Sept. 13 without playing its first true road match. The Bulldogs did venture outside of Nebraska over the weekend for a trio of neutral contests in Orange City, Iowa, where they knocked off Waldorf University (Iowa), Baker University (Kan.) and MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.). The victory over Baker marked a complete reversal compared to last season’s result when the Wildcats stormed into Walz Arena and left with a straight-sets win in the 2017 season opener. The win over MidAmerica Nazarene may be the most impressive to date. The Pioneers have won at least 20 matches each season since 2010.

Two of this week’s opponents captured more than 20 wins last season: Kansas Wesleyan (26-10) and Benedictine (21-9). Collectively, Concordia’s next four foes are a combined 4-11 in 2018. The Bulldogs and Kansas Wesleyan already have two common opponents. The Coyotes fell in straight sets to MidAmerica Nazarene and defeated York College in four sets. Five teams, including Concordia, make up the field of teams in the third annual Bulldog Bash. The Bulldogs went 7-1 over the first two years of the event.

Concordia will open up conference play next week with home tilts versus College of Saint Mary on Sept. 4 and Mount Marty on Sept. 7. The Bulldogs will also play two nonconference foes at the Five Points Bank Classic hosted by Hastings on Sept. 8 (10 a.m. and 2 p.m.).