YORK, Neb. – The Concordia University volleyball team looked sharp on Tuesday night in carrying over its hot hitting in the final set of a win three days earlier over Dakota Wesleyan. The Bulldogs hit .414 in the opening set on the way to blazing past host York College, 25-16, 25-21, 25-18.
In picking up its third true road win of the season, head coach Scott Mattera’s squad moved to 14-7 overall.
“It was a pretty solid performance tonight,” Mattera said. “We got the straight-sets win in under an hour, hit well, served extremely well and were able to get a lot of people significant playing time.”
York (4-14) pushed the Bulldogs in the second set, during which the Panthers claimed an 18-14 lead. While mixing up its lineup, Concordia battled back to take a 20-19 advantage and eventually won it when Mariah Schamp hammered down a free ball for set point.
The first and third sets were dominated by the Bulldogs. They hit .343 in the final set to ensure that they put away the Panthers in swift fashion. Junior Claire White crushed six of her match-high 12 kills in the third, including match point off the assist from setter Libby Zagel.
Schamp did her best work in the second set to help the Bulldogs rally. The senior middle went for five of her 10 kills during this stretch. She floored point Nos. 18, 23 and 25. The native of Arvada, Colo., also came up with a pair of blocks on the night.
Said Mattera, “Schamp was really good on transition quick stuff in the middle and Claire was such a stabilizing force, keeping things under control when we were mixing and matching people.”
White and Schamp were two of eight Bulldogs with at least one kill. Sophomore Tiegen Skains needed only eight swings to put up five kills. Freshman middle Annie Friesen produced six kills and three blocks. Junior Kelsey Dinkel came off the bench and posted three kills on four attempts.
Sophomore setter Alayna Kavanaugh racked up 34 assists before giving way to Zagel (five assists) in the third set. Defensively, senior Carli Smith led the way with 11 digs. Freshman Jocelyn Garica added seven digs while also making life tough on the Panther serve receive.
“Only six aces don’t even begin to tell the story of how well we served again tonight,” Mattera said. “Jocelyn was really sending some BB’s over there and taking them out of system.”
The Panthers got a team best nine kills from Sarah Mertens. Setter Melanie Baxa dished out 21 assists for a York attack that Concordia limited to a .163 hitting percentage.
Ten of Concordia’s first 21 matches have been decided in straight sets. The Bulldogs are now 6-4 on those occasions.
The Bulldogs get back to conference play on Friday when they host Doane (10-12, 3-4 GPAC) at 7:30 p.m. (JV at 6 p.m.). Concordia will look to defend Walz Arena, a place where it has won 11-straight matches. Also in play is a chance to sweep the rival Tigers having already won at Doane on Sept. 17.
The Bulldogs would love to entertain a super-charged crowd like the one they saw on Sept. 24 when they knocked off No. 18 Hastings.
“Overall I’m pretty happy with tonight and really excited to get in the gym and get ready for a very big match at home on Friday night,” Mattera said.