Bulldogs ride rollercoaster to win in GPAC nailbiter

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 17, 2016 in Volleyball

SEWARD, Neb. – Defeat seemed almost certain with Morningside leading the third set 24-19 on the heels of victories in the first and second sets. But the momentum shifted with an improbable comeback as the Concordia University volleyball team made it a night to remember inside Walz Arena. Paige Getz smashed 20 kills and Taylor Workman shined in big moments as the Bulldogs rallied for a 20-25, 23-25, 29-27, 25-18, 16-14 win.

Fifth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad has now won nine of its last 10 matches and stands at 10-7 overall and 2-1 in conference action. Concordia is 34-8 over its past 42 home contests.

“I’ll be honest. We’re down in game three and I’m thinking, ‘What am I going to say to them?’” Mattera said. “We were really digging a hole for ourselves. We found a way. We’re not high fiving ourselves over what we did early in that match, but you have to credit Morningside, too. They played some great volleyball.”

No one gained much in the way of separation in the dramatic fifth set. With the Bulldogs trailing 14-13, setter Alayna Kavanaugh went to her No. 1 option in Getz, who pounded the ball to the floor. A Workman ace and Mustang attack error followed and Concordia celebrated a mentally-exhausting win.

The Bulldogs fought back from the dead with an incredible third-set sequence. Getz, a senior from Paola, Kan., showed the way by blistering three-straight kills for point Nos. 23, 24 and 25, suddenly forcing a tie. Ultimately, the third set concluded when Workman surfaced with a crucial block.

This match had it all in terms of swings of emotion.

“I’m pretty wiped,” Mattera said. “It was such an emotional rollercoaster, but to pull through there was pretty special. It reminds of at Northwestern last year when we were down in that third game and came back and won. We said, ‘Boy, if we can pull this off it could be a season changer.’ This has the potential to do that same thing.”

Concordia hit .218 compared to the .205 attacking clip posted by Morningside (10-3, 2-2 GPAC). On a night when Getz received a ball commemorating her 1,000th career kill, she needed just 43 swings to pile up 20 kills. Fellow senior Tiegen Skains went for 12 kills, Alex La Plant added 11, Emmie Noyd nine and Workman eight. Alayna Kavanaugh dished out 56 assists. Workman also dropped in six aces. Defensively, Jocelyn Garcia booked 23 digs.

The improved Mustang squad was topped by the 15 kills of Jayde Bergmann. Morningside owns conference wins over Dakota Wesleyan and Briar Cliff.

The Bulldogs continue conference play on Wednesday when they make the short drive to Crete to take on 20th-ranked Doane (12-4, 2-2 GPAC). First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. CT. Doane evened up its GPAC mark on Saturday with a four-set triumph over Northwestern.