Five different Bulldogs slam nine or more kills to fuel GPAC win

By on Oct. 2, 2015 in Volleyball

Five different Bulldogs slam nine or more kills to fuel GPAC win

SEWARD, Neb. – Even on an ‘off’ night, the 18th-ranked Concordia University volleyball team regrouped and sharpened up by hitting .350 in the fourth and final set. The Bulldogs fought off the pesky blocking of Morningside to earn a 25-17, 21-25, 25-18, 25-16 victory over the Mustangs inside Walz Arena on Friday night.

Fourth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad bumped their records to 17-4 overall and 5-1 in conference play. Concordia has now won nine of its last 11 GPAC regular-season contests and is 22-4 over its past 26 home matches.

“We played well enough to win and we’re not going to complain about a win over Morningside,” Mattera said. “But to get out-blocked, 11-3, and to have 25 hitting errors – that’s not going to get it done. We’ll do better next time.”

Morningside used a staunch defensive effort at the net to slow down a Bulldog attack that ranks as one of the NAIA’s best (11th nationally in kills per game). The Mustangs seized momentum behind five second-set blocks, including three block assists apiece from Jennifer Buyert and Gabi French. Morningside finished with 11 total blocks and held Concordia to a .183 hitting percentage through the first three sets.

While the Mustangs (4-13, 0-7 GPAC) did impressive defensive work in the front row, they managed to floor only 35 kills compared to 56 by the Bulldogs. More than one-third of Morningside’s kills came courtesy of Buyert (13). However, the Mustangs benefited by having nine fewer combined attack/service errors than Concordia. Said Mattera, “We have to clean up a lot of the little stuff.”

It still wasn’t enough to completely stymie the Bulldogs’ bevy of skilled hitters. Five different players racked up nine kills or more. Junior Tiegen Skains crushed 14 kills, including seven during the second set. Fellow junior Paige Getz heated up with six kills in the fourth game and finished with 13 overall. Three Bulldogs recorded exactly nine kills: Annie Friesen, Claire White and Taylor Workman. They were set up by Alayna Kavanaugh’s 43 assists.

Their collective work helped overcome a spirited performance by the Mustangs, who roared back from an 8-2 deficit in the third set and led, 9-8. Aneisha Ford stifled an attack with one of her seven blocks to punctuate the run. The Bulldogs took timeout and then got on a roll. They built a 22-14 lead with a 14-5 run that left Morningside in the dust.

Concordia finished the match with a .233 to .121 advantage in hitting percentage. The Bulldog defense was led by sophomore Jocelyn Garcia, who had 17 digs. She also added a match high four aces. Friesen was in on all three of Concordia’s blocks.

Just 4-13 overall, Morningside has played an exceptionally challenging schedule. The Mustangs have suffered seven losses to ranked opponents and another at the hands of a team receiving votes in the national poll.

The Bulldogs remain at home on Saturday when they will host Briar Cliff (10-5, 3-3 GPAC) at 3 p.m. Concordia won last year’s meeting with the Chargers in five sets in Seward.