SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University volleyball program and head coach Scott Mattera have unveiled the entire class of 10 incoming 2016 Bulldogs. The list includes seven recruits from Nebraska and one apiece from the states of Michigan, Missouri and Texas.
With a strong group of seniors-to-be on the 2016 roster, the program looked to fill both present and future needs.
“We always knew that our 2016 class needed to be a big one both size wise and talent wise and we feel like we accomplished that,” Mattera said. “Most important though is the character level of this class. They are so likeable and self-motivated that I have no doubt that they will carry on the culture that our athletes have built these past few years.
“We’ve come back home a bit with this class. While there are three big ones from out of state, seven of them are from Nebraska including several all-state and state tourney performers.”
The Bulldogs are coming off a 26-9 season in 2015 that included the program’s first-ever national tournament appearance. Concordia’s record has improved each of the past three seasons under Mattera, who will enter his fifth year as head coach in 2016.
Kelsey Baarck | 5-10 | OH | Frankenmuth, Mich.
Mattera’s take: Kelsey is the first junior college transfer we’ve signed in several years and she brings NJCAA all region credentials with her. She sought us out for our Lutheran teaching degree program and when she came to visit, it was an obvious fit. Her explosive swings on the outside will be a welcome addition as we reload at the pin hitter positions.
Emma Brand | 5-9 | S | Springfield, Mo.
Mattera’s take: Emma is a CUNE legacy as her mom is a Bulldog alum – and good thing for us. A multiple time all-state selection at Glendale High School, Emma starred for a very strong club team coached by Husker legend and former Olympian Lori Endicott. Friendly, goofy, smart and a really hard worker; she’s a perfect fit for who we are and who we want to be.
Lauren Cope | 5-11 | RS | Lincoln, Neb.
Mattera’s take: You may have seen this future Bulldog at state this year. She started at middle for a Lincoln Southwest team that made it to the Class A tourney. We met Lauren through camps and club ball and just knew she’d be great here at CUNE. She’s a hard worker with great perspective and a big future in front of her on and off the court.
Kaylie Dengel | 5-7 | DS | Bellevue, Neb.
Mattera’s take: Kaylie was an honorable mention all-stater for Bellevue East who we met at camp last summer. She impressed everyone with her hard work and energy to the point that we pretty much offered her on the spot. We are excited to see her develop in our program and could be a major back row asset in the future.
Jenna Eller | 5-8 | OH/DS | David City, Neb.
Mattera’s take: Another honorable mention all-stater, Jenna has been a star for David City Aquinas the last few years and has been a regular in our gym through camps and club ball. She’s such a natural fit, that everyone just kind of assumed she was going to be a Bulldog for a while. Jenna is a powerful hitter with a wicked serve. Her development in passing and defense have us most excited.
Katie Funk | 5-6 | S | Clearwater, Neb.
Mattera’s take: Katie was named honorable mention all-state this year for Clearwater-Orchard and will provide valuable depth to our setting corps. We met her a couple of years back when she came in for a couple of private lessons. She was so fun to work with and showed some nice potential, making it easy to see how she would fit in with us. We won’t argue with her much as she will be involved in speech and debate here at CUNE as well.
Harlie Himmelberg | 5-2 | DS | Lawrence-Nelson, Neb.
Mattera’s take: Harlie is an under the radar kid from a D2 school but anyone who had to play against her the past few years knows why she was first team all-state. We knew we had to have her after meeting her on a school visit and then seeing her play and interact with our girls at camp. She’s quick as a hiccup, passes nails and plays with big time energy and passion. She’ll be a ton of fun to watch in a Bulldog uniform.
Alex LaPlant | 5-10 | OH | Cypress, Texas
Mattera’s take: A true six rotation outside for a major club in Texas, she hones her all-around skills playing beach as well. Her recruitment was one of the most random stories of doors opening as we came across her video online and made a cold call email down to Texas. We hit it off in our communications and things just kept falling into place for Alex to become a Bulldog.
Emmie Noyd | 6-2 | M | Shelby, Neb.
Mattera’s take: We met Emmie during her sophomore season after Darcy White (Claire’s mom) told us that Shelby had some tall kids that could develop. Develop she has as she dominated at the state tourney this year and was named first team all-state. She’s been training in our gym through club and camps and should be a natural fit in the middle for us as she pursues a future in teaching.
Bailey Parr | 5-8 | S | Grand Island, Neb.
Mattera’s take: We were targeting setters in this class and when Bailey, who set for the powerhouse program at Northwest High School, was recommended to me, I immediately contacted her in the hopes of exploring the fit. Her visit went extremely well as she really bought in to who we are and how we do things. After that, things went pretty fast and we had another all-stater added to the program who can bring quality setting, defense and leadership to the table.