BELLEVUE, Neb. – Inside the cozy Gordon Lozier Athletic Center, host and 20th-ranked Bellevue University protected its home court impressively while up against the Concordia University volleyball team in Bellevue, Neb., on Wednesday night. The Bruins sent the Bulldogs on their way with a 25-21, 25-14, 25-15 defeat.
Fifth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad fell despite the return from injury of two key players in setter Alayna Kavanaugh and middle Emmie Noyd. The team’s eighth loss of the season at the hands of a ranked opponent put Concordia at 11-11 overall.
The Bulldogs were unable to maintain the level of play they had in Saturday’s home win over Briar Cliff.
“Every facet of our game needs to be better than that, especially our energy and our teamwork,” Mattera said. “The physical effort was there, but our mental effort was not at all. I’ve got to prepare them better. We’ll figure it out.”
Bellevue proved especially dominant over the second and third sets. A strong Bruin defensive effort resulted in Concordia putting up more attack errors (25) than kills (24) on the night. Concordia hit in the red (-.010) over the course of the match while being stonewalled by 11 Bellevue blocks.
Kavanaugh started and played the opening two sets before being replaced in the third by Emma Brand, who dished out 41 assists in the Bulldogs’ win three days earlier. On a tough night for Concordia attackers, Tiegen Skains topped the team with seven kills. Paige Getz added six. Defensively, Jocelyn Garcia tracked down 19 digs.
On the other side of the net, Pakalana Helekahi showed off a powerful swing on the outside, registering seven kills on 16 attempts for a Bellevue team that hit .200. Shayla Scanlan put down eight kills. Scanlon was also involved in six of the team’s 11 blocks. Verenice Chaparro paced the Bruin back row with 14 digs.
The Bulldogs now look forward to a challenging weekend. They will place twice in Orange City, Iowa, on Saturday, beginning with a 1 p.m. CT match versus host Northwestern (12-12, 4-3 GPAC). Concordia will then take on undefeated and second-ranked Westmont College (Calif.) (19-0) at 3 p.m. Both matches will be held on the Northwestern campus.