SEWARD, Neb. – With Claire White sidelined, junior outside hitter Paige Getz killed it on Saturday. The native of Paola, Kan., amassed 38 kills in a pair of victories as part of the Bulldog Bash which saw Concordia defeat Bethel College (Kan.), 25-14, 25-14, 25-14, and York College, 22-25, 25-9, 25-14, 25-20, inside Walz Arena.
Fourth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad improved to 8-1 overall and 19-3 over its last 22 home matches. The only disappointment on Saturday was the team’s approach to the opening set versus York.
“Lesson learned,” Mattera said. “We’re still trying to figure some things out. Nobody we’ve played against is a slouch. You saw how York played against Benedictine. They absolutely pushed them. We just came out flat. We reacted well to the challenge and stepped up.”
With Getz pelting bullets over the net, Concordia made quick work of Bethel in Saturday’s morning match. Getz committed just one error and needed only 26 attacks to produce a then career high 18 kills. Her powerful swings helped make up for the absence of White, a 2014 first team all-conference selection.
Getz felt a sense of responsibility to maximize her production without the services of White as well as senior Kelsey Dinkel.
“We lost one of our main leaders so I just felt like I should step up and take her place,” Getz said.
The duo of Getz and Tiegen Skains (12 kills) combined for 30 kills on 43 swings in the domination of the Threshers. The play of the dynamic duo led to Concordia hitting better than .400 in all three sets. It topped out at .571 in the second. On the other side, Bethel managed to hit only .056.
In the middle, sophomore Annie Friesen put together another dominant day, going for 24 kills on 37 total attacks. She attacked at a .500 clip in the first match and then hit a blistering .560 in the second. She was just one of the beneficiaries of the precision passing of junior setter Alayna Kavanaugh, who racked up 81 assists over Saturday’s seven sets.
Kavanaugh quarterbacked the Bulldog offense to an especially impressive second set versus York when Concordia hit .773 and finished 17 points on kills alone. Once again, Getz was unstoppable. She went off for 20 kills to burn the Panthers for another career best figure.
“She’s got some numbers this week,” Mattera said. “We sat down with her ahead of today and said look, ‘with Claire on the sideline, you’re going to have to step up.’ She absolutely accepted that challenge.”
Defensively, Friesen and sophomore Jocelyn Garcia made life tough on York. Friesen totaled seven block assists and Garcia ran down nearly everything in the back row. She ended up with 23 digs of Panther attacks.
Following Saturday’s action, Friesen’s season hitting percentage stands at an eye-popping .479. Getz pushed her season kill total to a team high 111.
The Bulldogs open up conference play on Wednesday when they host No. 22 Hastings (6-2). The Broncos own a pair of wins over top 25 opponents: No. 13 Davenport University (Mich.) and No. 23 Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho). Last season Concordia won two of three meetings with Hastings, including both matchups played inside Walz Arena.
“We’re ready,” Getz said. “We’re hoping there’ll be a lot of people in here.”