Bulldogs rekindle the fire at CSM

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 26, 2016 in Volleyball

OMAHA, Neb. – The Concordia University volleyball team needed a spark. The victorious dogfight of a second set gave the Bulldogs exactly the injection of confidence they sought and carried them to a 21-25, 29-27, 25-16, 32-30 win over host College of Saint Mary in Omaha on Wednesday night.

A weekend off gave fifth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad a chance to recalibrate and recharge while attempting to snap out of a funk. In a fight for its postseason life, Concordia rose to the occasion and improved to 12-16 overall and to 4-8 in conference play.

“We were together through the whole thing, and that’s something I wouldn’t have said last week with the way we played,” Mattera said. “Even though we weren’t playing very clean (in the first set), we had each other’s back during that. Because we stayed together we were able to figure it out and that was a really cool thing to see.”

It was a fine night for freshman middle Emmie Noyd whose eighth and final kill resulted in match point in an intense fourth set. Noyd finished with eight kills on 19 swings while adding seven total blocks (two solos). She was the ringleader for a defensive effort that stuffed College of Saint Mary with 13 blocks. The Flames hit only .067 for the match.

“How about Emmie tonight? She’s really starting to come into her own,” Mattera said. “This was her best blocking performance by far. She’s getting up on time and getting to the ball. They had no answer for her in the middle when we had her in rhythm.”

This version of Concordia looked more like the team it had hoped to be all season in terms of its play on the attack. Senior Alayna Kavanaugh, who snuck in set point in the second, put up 44 assists for an offense that hit .235. She found three different teammates for double-figure kill totals: Tiegen Skains (13), Paige Getz (12) and Alex La Plant (12).

In addition, Taylor Workman collaborated on six blocks and Jocelyn Garcia tracked down 25 attacks in the back row. Garcia’s work helped limit College of Saint Mary top hitter Dani Carlson to a .095 attack percentage. The Flames’ highest hitting percentage of any set was .143 in the first.

It was essential for Concordia to come through as it did in tight spots on Wednesday having entered the match with six-straight losses. The Bulldogs sit in seventh place as they continue their push to qualify for the eight-team GPAC tournament that begins on Nov. 8.

The Bulldogs will return home on Saturday for a pair of matches inside Walz Arena. The first will get underway at 11:30 a.m. CT with Central Christian College (Kan.) (7-20) serving as the opponent. Then at 5 p.m., Concordia will get back to league action and host Dakota Wesleyan (16-12, 3-10 GPAC). The capper of the varsity triangular will be used to celebrate senior day.