GAME NOTES: Bulldogs prime for full home schedule

By on Sep. 28, 2015 in Volleyball

GAME NOTES: Bulldogs prime for full home schedule

SEWARD, Neb. – The No. 18 Concordia University volleyball team will be competing in three home matches this week. Tuesday, Sept. 29 will mark the last non-conference tilt of the season as the Bulldogs welcome Central Christian College to Walz Arena for a 7 p.m. start time. On Friday, Oct. 2 Morningside College will be visiting Seward with the first serve at 7:30 p.m. To round out the week of competition, CUNE will face Briar Cliff University at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3 at home.

Central Christian College (Kan.) (12-5, 1-0 AII) at No. 18 Concordia University (15-3, 4-1 GPAC) 
Tuesday, Sept. 29 | 7 p.m. CT 
Site: Walz Arena (1,400) 
Webcast: Concordia Sports Network 
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Live Stats: Dakstats

Morningside College (4-11, 0-5 GPAC) at No. 18 Concordia University (15-3, 4-1 GPAC) 
Friday, Oct. 2 | 7:30 p.m. CT (JV at 6 p.m.)
Site: Walz Arena (1,400) 
Webcast: Concordia Sports Network 
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Live Stats: Dakstats

Briar Cliff University (9-5, 2-3 GPAC) at No. 18 Concordia University (15-3, 4-1 GPAC) 
Saturday, Oct. 3 | 3 p.m. CT (JV at 1:30 p.m.)
Site: Walz Arena (1,400) 
Webcast: Concordia Sports Network 
Live Stats: Dakstats


Last time out
Last week, the No. 18 Bulldogs split a pair of GPAC matches, both to ranked teams, defeating No. 11 Northwestern College 3-2 and dropping a match 0-3 to No. 4 Midland University. A day after receiving the program’s first national ranking since 2001, the Concordia University volleyball team faced its stiffest challenge yet in 2015. The eighteenth-ranked Bulldogs succumbed to undefeated and fourth-ranked Midland, 25-20, 26-24, 25-18 on Wednesday, Sept. 23. Then on Saturday, Sept. 26 the Concordia volleyball team defeated GPAC foe No. 11 Northwestern College in five sets (19-25, 26-24, 24-26, 25-19, 15-9). The Bulldogs took the second, fourth and fifth sets in the match, hitting .333 in the last set.

In the rankings
For the first time since the preseason poll in 2001, the Concordia volleyball team has been ranked in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll. Announced Tuesday, Sept. 22, the Bulldogs are ranked No. 18 in the nation after defeating three top 25 ranked teams this season. The Bulldogs remain at No. 4 in the GPAC after defeating No. 11 Northwestern College and losing to No. 4 Midland University last week. As a team in the GPAC, the Bulldogs rank second in kills per set (13.8) and assists per set (12.5), third in hitting percentage (.246), total assists (853), total service aces (121) and total kills (942), fourth in service aces per set (1.8) and sixth in total blocks (113). Nationally, the squad ranks 10th in total kills (942) and in kills per game (13.85), 11th in total assists (853) and 12th in assists per game (12.54).

Kavanaugh and Garcia tabbed with weekly GPAC honors
Following a 3-0 week for Concordia University volleyball, sophomore Jocelyn Garcia and junior Alayna Kavanaugh earned weekly recognition from the GPAC. On Tuesday the league named Garcia the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Defensive Player of the Week and Kavanaugh the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Setter of the Week.

This marks the second time that Kavanaugh has received a weekly honor from the GPAC during her three seasons as a Bulldog. The Lincoln Christian High School product is the quarterback of a Concordia squad that now ranks No. 1 in the NAIA in kills per game (14.23). Last week Kavanaugh amassed 122 assists (12.2 per set) while adding 16 digs and nine kills. She dished out 37 assists in the straight-sets win at No. 24 Doane on Sept. 16. Kavanaugh, who has 2,723 career assists, currently ranks seventh nationally in assists per game (11.13).

In the back row, Garcia continued her stellar play last week by averaging 4.3 digs per set. She dug up 17 attacks in the signature win at Doane and then 18 more in another GPAC road win over College of Saint Mary on Sept. 19. In last week’s three victories, Garcia and company limited their opponents to hitting percentages of .035, .100 and .077, respectively. The native of Brighton, Colo., ranks ninth among GPAC players with an average of 4.0 digs per set.

Individual rankings in the GPAC
Annie Friesen: hitting percentage, first (.397); total blocks, tied for seventh (57)

Jocelyn Garcia: service aces per set, third (0.5); total service aces, second (33); digs per set, 10th (4.1); total digs, tied for third (277)

Paige Getz: total kills, seventh (200)

Alayna Kavanaugh: assists per set, second (10.8); total assists, second (733)

Claire White: service aces per set, fifth (0.4); total service aces, tied for sixth (25)

National individual rankings
Annie Friesen: hitting percentage, sixth (.397)

Jocelyn Garcia: total service aces, 20th (33)

Alayna Kavanaugh: total assists, sixth (733); assisters per set, 10th (10.78)

Concordia vs. the top 25
In 2014 Concordia broke through with its first win over a ranked opponent since 2007. The Bulldogs wound up with three top 25 wins in 2014, making victims of No. 14 Oklahoma Baptist, No. 18 Hastings and No. 21 Dordt. Concordia went 3-7 overall against ranked teams last season. Five of those seven losses were against squads rated inside the top 10. This season, the Bulldogs are 4-1 vs ranked opponents after defeating No. 19 Hastings at home, 3-0, No. 20 Montana Tech University, 3-2 in Hastings, No. 24 Doane, 3-0 and No. 11 Northwestern, 3-2 on the road. The lone loss to a ranked team this season was to No. 4 Midland University, 3-0.

“Wow, what a match. It really had everything both good and bad for both teams, but the most important thing it had was huge heart and toughness from these Bulldogs. We had so many chances to give in but they just fought back every time. This place has been a place of nightmares for us over the years so to pull this one out against No. 11 in the country is awfully special.”

-Head Coach Scott Mattera on the win vs No. 11 Northwestern College

Scouting Central Christian College
The Tigers of Central Christian College are carrying a 12-5 (1-0 AII) record into Tuesday’s match. The Tigers’ lone conference match this far was against Haskell University which was a win for CCC in four sets. As a team, the Tigers are ranked 12th in the nation in digs per set (18.16) and 33rd in service aces per game (2.02). Holding their opponents to an attacking percentage of .145 this season, the Tigers own a serving percentage of .894 and record 12.53 kills per set. The Tigers are led by head coach Christina Ludwick who is in her third season at Central Christian College. Ludwick is assisted by Cayleena Koehn.

Scouting Morningside College
The Mustangs of Morningside College have a record of 4-11 (0-5 GPAC) this season. All four of the wins have been decided in three sets. The Mustangs are ranked sixth in blocks per set (1.9), ninth in the GPAC in service aces per set (1.2), total service aces (63) and total bocks (96.9). As a team, Morningside has a .904 serving percentage. The Mustangs are led by head coach Beth Donnelly who is in her first year at Morningside College. Donnelly is assisted by Leah Nielsen.

Scouting Briar Cliff University
The Chargers of Briar Cliff University are currently holding a 9-5 (2-3 GPAC) record this year. Against three ranked teams this season, the Chargers have won at least one set in two of those matches. Briar Cliff has also defeated three teams that have received votes in the national poll. As a team in the GPAC, the Chargers are ranked fifth in hitting percentage .230 and fourth in blocks per set (2.1). With a .985 serving percentage, the Chargers average 1.17 services aces a set. The Chargers are led by head coach Trevor Schirman who is in his third season at Briar Cliff University. Schirman is assisted by Andrea Jensen, Olivia Terzo, Josh Anderson and Hannah Scholten.

Up next for the Bulldogs
The No. 18 Concordia Bulldogs will visit No. 21 Hastings College on Wednesday, Oct. 7. First serve is slated for 7:30 p.m. for the varsity match. For the 2015 Homecoming match, the Bulldogs will welcome Nebraska Wesleyan University to Walz Arena for a start time of 6 p.m.