Dawgs split pair of nonconference matches in Hastings

By on Sep. 11, 2015 in Volleyball

Dawgs split pair of nonconference matches in Hastings

HASTINGS, Neb. – Fresh off its biggest win this season, the Concordia University volleyball team returned to action and split a pair of matches on Friday at the Five Points Bank Invitational hosted by Hastings College. After falling in a competitive straight-sets decision, 27-25, 25-22, 27-25, to MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.), the Bulldogs responded with a 25-16, 25-20, 25-20 victory over Montana Western University in an evening tilt.

Fourth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad moved to 10-2 overall. Last season Concordia waited until Sept. 20 to record its 10th win of the campaign.

“The first match we played OK, but just not well enough to beat a team that good,” Mattera said. “We probably brought our ‘B’ game. If you’re relying on breaks to go your way, it’s not enough against teams like that. We didn’t play poorly, just not good enough to win.

“We came out fast against Montana Western. That’s a great defensive team. They just dug balls all night. We had to keep bringing it and bringing it. It got frustrating at times, but we handled it pretty well. They beat us in Hastings at last year’s tournament. It was one we had marked down and wanted to go out and get them this year.”

Coming off a monster night in Wednesday’s triumph over No. 19 Hastings on Wednesday, senior Claire White floored a combined 23 kills on Friday. Meanwhile, sophomore Annie Friesen emerged as the biggest star in the win over Montana Western (3-6). She racked up 10 kills and seven total blocks from her spot in the middle. Friesen led a stifling front row defense that totaled 11 blocks in the evening match.

Concordia seized early momentum by tallying the first five points of the match against Montana Western, a member of the NAIA’s Frontier Conference. Also nicknamed the Bulldogs, the foe from Big Sky Country hit only .070 for the evening and did not attack at a clip higher than .167 in any individual set.

Junior setter Alayna Kavanaugh (69 assists on Friday) kept Montana Western off balance by dishing the ball from pin to pin. Four Bulldogs had between seven and 10 kills in the win: Paige Getz (10), Friesen (10), White (eight) and Tiegen Skains (seven).

When Friday’s opponents hit around Concordia blockers, sophomore defensive specialist Jocelyn Garcia cleaned up in the back row. She averaged five digs per set on the day by totaling 12 and 18 digs, respectively, in the two matches. She also dumped in two aces in both contests.

MidAmerica Nazarene (8-5), affiliated with the Heart of America Athletic Conference, entered this week listed among “others receiving votes,” just like Concordia. The Pioneers picked up their eighth win of the season on the strength of 12 kills from Sofija Berezovska and 11 from Gisele Silva. MidAmerica Nazarene outhit Concordia, .243 to .192.

The Bulldogs continue action from the Five Points Bank Invitational at Hastings on Saturday when they take on Carroll College (Mont.) (3-6) at 1 p.m. and No. 20 Montana Tech University (12-5) at 5 p.m.

“We’re testing our toughness and we’re going up against some real good teams,” Mattera said. “This is the type of competition we need to play. We can definitely win matches at this level and that’s the next step in the development of the program.”