SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – The air came out of the balloon for the Concordia University volleyball team on Saturday evening after it watched a late first-set lead slip away at 11th-ranked Dordt. The rally in the first set carried the Defenders to a 26-24, 25-18, 25-12, win over the upset-minded Bulldogs.
Fifth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad dropped a match versus a ranked opponent for the 11th time in 2016. Concordia slipped to 11-15 overall and to 3-7 in GPAC action.
“We played really well in the first game,” Mattera said. “We were having fun and going after it. We got stuck in a rotation at the end of it and they came back and stole the first game from us. Game two we played OK. Game three we lost our edge. Dordt played awesome. That’s definitely a top 10 team.
“It’s been the same story quite a bit lately. It’s getting frustrating to tell that story. We’re not playing bad volleyball, we’re just not winning right now. We still have some opportunities ahead of us.”
The Bulldogs appeared to take control of the first set when they rattled off six of seven points to break what had been a 17-17 tie. It was 23-18 after Tiegen Skains delivered a kill. Concordia still had a chance to stave off Dordt after Alex La Plant floored a kill that gave Concordia a 24-22 lead. That’s when Brooke Granstra did her best work. She put away point Nos. 23, 25 and 26 to turn the momentum.
One of the top attacking teams in the nation, Dordt ignited and hit .412 in the second set. It also showed it could stifle Bulldog hitters, who recorded only four kills in the third set. On the night, the Defenders outhit Concordia, .307 to -.100.
Statistically, junior Jocelyn Garcia enjoyed the best night of any Bulldog. She tracked down 20 Dordt attacks as Concordia did a commendable job limiting Granstra after her clutch play down the stretch in the opening set. Offensively, Concordia was paced by the six kills apiece from Paige Getz and Taylor Workman. La Plant chipped in five kills and Alayna Kavanaugh dished out 17 assists.
Julia Lindbergh topped Dordt (15-5, 8-2 GPAC) with 11 kills. Haley Moss registered seven kills on just 10 swings. The Defenders got six block assists from both Moss and Elizabeth Kiel and outnumbered the Bulldogs, 9-4, in blocks.
Another ranked opponent will invade Walz Arena on Wednesday when No. 15 Doane (18-5, 7-3 GPAC) pays a visit to Seward. The varsity contest is slated for 7:30 p.m. CT. It will be Concordia’s “Pink Out” match. Pink-Out T-shirts can be purchased at the student life office this coming Monday through Wednesday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Part of the proceeds from the shirt sales will go to Pink Bandanas, a non-profit that serves Nebraska families affected by breast cancer. The Bulldogs will attempt to earn a season split with the rival Tigers.