Bulldogs fall in four sets to top-ranked Midland

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 12, 2016 in Volleyball

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University volleyball team blazed in the second set, but failed to maintain their level of play while up against top-ranked Midland on Wednesday night. The Warriors cooled down the Bulldogs and waltzed out of Walz Arena with a 25-16, 15-25, 25-20, 25-20 victory.

The contest marked the 10th of the season against a ranked opponent for fifth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad. The Bulldogs fell to 11-14 overall and 3-6 in conference play.

“It seems to be that we can pull that off for one (set) and it really looks good and we show what we’re capable of,” Mattera said. “But we’re just not tough enough right now to do it all the time. We’ve got to get back to the gym and work harder. We’ve shown that we can play with anybody, but just playing with them doesn’t put wins on the board.”

Concordia displayed how dangerous it can be when it plays at its peak. That’s exactly what happened in the second set when the Bulldogs hit .400 behind five kills apiece by seniors Paige Getz and Tiegen Skains. The Bulldogs flustered the Warriors by jumping out to a 6-0 lead after dropping the first set. Included in that run were three Taylor Workman aces. Skains ended the second with a kill to bring Walz to an uproar.

Though it was off its game at times on Wednesday, Midland (19-1, 9-1 GPAC) showed why it rose to a No. 1 national ranking. The Warriors again leaned upon one of the nation’s top hitters in Priscilla O’Dowd, who pulverized 19 kills on 35 swings. She had more than one-third of the team’s 47 kills. Midland outhit Concordia, .223 to .179.

“Midland’s very good,” Mattera said. “They didn’t play their best tonight, but they made plays when they needed to. That’s the mark of that maturity and consistency that we need to get to. I think our ‘A’ game is just about as good as anybody.”

Getz was hot early on, putting down 10 of her team high 12 kills over the opening two sets. In doing so, Getz climbed to No. 4 on Concordia’s all-time kills list with 1,231. She also contributed two blocks to the team’s total of nine. Skains was also solid at the net, producing 10 kills and five blocks.

The Warriors completed a regular-season sweep of the Bulldogs. Midland also topped Concordia in straight sets in Fremont as part of the GPAC opener for both sides. Head coach Paul Giesselmann’s squad suffered its only loss of the season on Oct. 5 versus No. 3 Hastings.

Alayna Kavanaugh dished out a total of 38 assists. Workman and freshman Jenna Eller combined for all seven of Concordia’s aces. Junior Jocelyn Garcia paced the team with 15 digs.

The Bulldogs get another shot at a ranked opponent on Saturday when they head east for a matchup with No. 11 Dordt (14-5, 7-2 GPAC). First serve is set for 5 p.m. CT from Sioux Center, Iowa.