Concordia struggles with Doane attack in four-set defeat

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 18, 2018 in Volleyball

SEWARD, Neb. – Head coach Ben Boldt has talked about his team now learning how to win in the rugged GPAC. It’s still a process. After taking the first set, the Concordia University volleyball team struggled to contain Doane’s attack the rest of the way. The visiting Tigers walked away from Walz Arena with a 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-19, victory.

Boldt’s squad has dropped three conference matches in a row, all in four sets. The Bulldogs now stand at 12-3 overall and 2-3 in conference play.

“We came into this wanting to learn from the Morningside match,” Boldt said. “We need to compete better. Going into Thursday (at Hastings) we know we have to continue to keep our minds process-oriented and focusing on what we need to do. We need to embrace the mentality of being the woman. Go and be the woman. There were times during timeouts when I was looking into their eyes and I didn’t see the be-the-woman mentality. I want them to want the ball. We’re going to get that person the ball.”

Junior Alex La Plant seemed to be that person down the stretch of the first set. She floored kills for point Nos. 22, 23 and 24 in pushing Concordia into the lead. The Bulldogs had trailed 18-13 before going on a run of six points in a row. Doane hit .139 in the opening set, not necessarily foreshadowing what was to come.

Concordia notched a respectable 12 blocks, but that doesn’t come close to telling the entire story. The Tigers’ Madison VanHousen put an exclamation mark on her team’s victory by blistering six of her 18 kills in the fourth set that saw Doane (9-7, 2-2 GPAC) hit .378 with 19 kills. Prolific outside hitter Allison Kuenle added 20 kills and middle Alexis Dale pounded 14 kills while hitting .391. They were facilitated by setter Sarah Klobuchar (51 assists).

Those individuals helped the Tigers dictate the match through the final three sets. In the end, Doane outhit the Bulldogs, .243 to .121, and held advantages of 65-33 in kills and 69-51 in digs. The Tigers smashed 52 kills over the second, third and fourth sets. Their impressive play on the attack allowed them to overcome 18 service errors and 29 attack errors.

Concordia let a chance to take the upper hand in the third set slip away. The Bulldogs let it 21-15 and then watched Doane go on a 10-1 run to end the set. Concordia did not have the firepower on this night to keep up. It did not register double-digit kills in any of the final three sets.

Junior Emmie Noyd led the Bulldogs with 12 kills on .296 hitting. Noyd was also in on six blocks. Jenna Habegger added eight kills and La Plant posted seven. Jenna Eller topped the team with 15 digs.

A challenging week will continue on Thursday when the Bulldogs visit 13th-ranked Hastings (8-3, 3-1 GPAC) for a 7:30 p.m. CT match inside Lynn Farrell Arena. The Broncos, 2016 NAIA national champions, have defeated Concordia in each of the last six series meetings. They dropped their first conference match, in five sets, at No. 7 Midland on Tuesday.