Bulldogs and Flames to battle for spot in GPAC Championship match

By on Nov. 10, 2015 in Volleyball

Bulldogs and Flames to battle for spot in GPAC Championship match

SEWARD, Neb. – After defeating No. 17 Northwestern College, 13-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-21 last Saturday, the No. 20 Concordia volleyball squad will welcome the College of Saint Mary Flames to Walz Arena for a GPAC Semifinal match on Wednesday, Nov. 11. The winner of the match will play the winner of the Midland and Hastings semifinal match on Saturday, Nov. 14.

Fans are encouraged to wear red, white and blue in recognition of Veteran’s Day.

College of Saint Mary (14-16, 3-13) at (20) Concordia (25-7, 12-4)
Wenesday, Nov. 11 | 7:30 p.m.
Site: Seward, Neb.
Venue: Walz Arena
Radio: 104.9 Max Country (KTMX-FM)
Webcast: Concordia Sports Network 

The last time out, the Bulldogs downed the Red Raiders, 3-1. The first frame was a score the team hopes to not see again, losing 13-25. Head coach Scott Mattera’s mid-set huddle gave the girls enough motivation to go on a 10-1 run to begin the second set and eventually take sets two, three and four.

“What a match,” Mattera said. “We came out really sluggish and Northwestern played fantastic in that first game. I’m so proud of the way that girls responded and for staying even in games two, three and four. It would have been really easy to duck our heads after the whooping we took in game one. They stayed in it and stayed together.”

For the third time this season, setter Alayna Kavanaugh and libero Jocelyn Garcia picked up GPAC Player of the Week awards, announced Tuesday. Kavanaugh dished out 88 assists over seven sets. In the three set match at Nebraska Wesleyan, the junior’s 49 assists were a career high for a straight-sets contest. The setter ranks 12th nationally with an average of 10.8 assists per set. Garcia averaged 5, 7 digs per set over the week. The sophomore ranks sixth among GPAC players in digs per set with 4.4. The libero also helped lead a defense that held opponents to hitting percentages of .132 at Nebraska Wesleyan and .169 against No. 17 Northwestern.

The Flames of College of Saint Mary pulled a huge upset over first-seeded Dordt College in the opening round of the GPAC Tournament, defeating the Defenders in straight sets. The Flames, eighth-seeded in the tournament, are 13-16 on the season (3-13 GPAC). CSM ended the season with a victory over Dakota Wesleyan and a loss to No. 10 Midland before starting postseason play. The Flames lead the GPAC in digs (1,942) and digs per set (18.7) and rank 10th nationally in digs per set. Individually, Cassidy Yong ranks 32nd in assists per set (9.71). Mallory Babic is ranked 32nd in kills per set (3.7) in the nation. Samantha Hammond, head coach for College of Saint Mary, is in her sixth season with the Flames volleyball program.

This season, the Bulldogs and Flames have met up twice. In the first meeting on Sept. 19, Concordia prevailed, 3-1 in Omaha. Then on Oct. 21 in Seward, CUNE again defeated CSM in straight sets. In each of the matches, the Bulldogs held the Flames to low hitting percentages (.100 in Omaha and .122 in Seward).

Following the win over Northwestern, the Bulldogs notched win number 25. The 25 triumphs are the sixth most in program history and most wins since 2005 (24). Concordia’s winningest season was in 1995 when the team went 40-10 on the year. A list of the winningest teams is listed below.

The winner of the semifinal match will take on the winner of the Midland and Hastings match in the GPAC Championship game. A victory would give Concordia its first appearance in a GPAC Championship match. The contest will take place on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. Location of the tilt will be announced as information is available.

Winningest seasons in program history
1. 40-10 (1995)
2. 35-8 (1981)
3. 32-6 (1982)
4. 28-12 (1996)
5. 27-21 (1993)
6. 25-7 (2015)
T7. 24-11 (2005)
T7. 24-11 (1999) 

Individual milestones reached in 2015
Claire White – 1,000 career kills
Alayna Kavanaugh – 3,000 career assists
Paige Getz – three-straight seasons with 300+ kills

2015 GPAC Tournament Schedule

Saturday, Nov. 7 – Quarterfinals
(8) College of Saint Mary 3 at (1) Dordt 0
(5) Northwestern 1 at (4) Concordia 3
(6) Briar Cliff 0 at (3) Hastings 3 
(7) Doane 0 at (2) Midland 3 

Wednesday, Nov. 11 – Semifinals
(8) College of Saint Mary at (4) Concordia, 7:30 p.m.
(3) Hastings at (2) Midland, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 14 – Championship
Semifinal winners at highest seed, 7:30 p.m.