GAME NOTES: Concordia volleyball readies for senior night

By on Oct. 26, 2015 in Volleyball

GAME NOTES: Concordia volleyball readies for senior night

SEWARD, Neb. – The No. 15 Concordia volleyball team, who is in a four way tie for first place in the GPAC, is set to host two conference competitors this week. On Wednesday, Oct. 28 the Bulldogs will take on (RV) Doane College at 7:30 in Walz Arena. The Tigers have been defeated by CUNE earlier this season in straight sets. On Saturday, Oct. 31 the volleyball squad will recognize the seniors before the varsity game. The contest will feature Concordia and No. 6 Dordt College at 5 p.m.

(RV) Doane College (18-10, 8-5 GPAC) at No. 15 Concordia University (23-5, 11-2 GPAC)
Wednesday, Oct. 28 | 7:30 p.m. CT 
Site: Walz Arena (1,400)
Webcast: Concordia Sports Network 
Radio: 104.9 Max Country

No. 6 Dordt College (20-4, 11-2 GPAC) at No. 15 Concordia University (23-5, 11-2 GPAC)
Saturday, Oct. 31 | 5 p.m. CT 
Senior Night
Site: Walz Arena (1,400)
Webcast: Concordia Sports Network 
Radio: 104.9 Max Country


Senior Night
On Saturday, Oct. 31, the seniors of the Concordia volleyball team will be recognized during pregame of the varsity match versus Dordt College. The seniors this year have helped the Bulldog squad to a record breaking 11 GPAC wins so far this season. The highest amount of conference wins before this season was in 2000 when CUNE reached nine wins in the GPAC.

Last time out
There were no signs of a hangover after last week’s victory over previously unbeaten Midland. On Wednesday, Oct. 21, the 15th-ranked Concordia University volleyball team smoldered in the opening set, hitting .441 on the way to trouncing visiting College of Saint Mary, 25-11, 25-20, 25-15, inside Walz Arena.

Sophomore defensive specialist Jocelyn Garcia frustrated the Dakota Wesleyan attack all night and the 15th-ranked Concordia University volleyball team dispatched of the host Tigers, 25-14, 25-22, 25-17, on Friday, Oct. 23. The Bulldogs outhit Dakota Wesleyan handily, .202 to .038.

The No. 15 Concordia volleyball team defeated its fifth straight opponent on Saturday, Oct. 24. The Bulldogs made the Lancers their most recent victim, topping them 3-1 (25-21, 20-25, 25-17 and 25-20). The team hit .238 through four sets.

Garcia, Kavanaugh GPAC repeat
No strangers to weekly awards, Concordia sophomore Jocelyn Garcia and junior Alayna Kavanaugh have again earned recognition from the GPAC. On Tuesday Garcia earned GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports defensive player of the week while Kavanaugh received GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports setter of the week honors. The duo has five combined weekly conference awards on the season.

Garcia, also tabbed the GPAC defensive player of the week on Sept. 22, put together one of the most productive three-match stretches of her career last week for the 15th-ranked Bulldogs. The native of Brighton, Colo., averaged 6.5 digs per set while racking up more than 20 digs in each of Concordia’s three wins. Garcia added four aces on the week and currently ranks 30th among all NAIA players with 47 aces in 2015.

Meanwhile, Kavanaugh has continued to drive a powerful offensive attack. Over last week’s trio of GPAC wins, the Lincoln Christian High School product dished out a total of 116 assists (11.6 per set) while also adding 22 digs and nine kills. One of the nation’s top setters, the 2014 first team all-conference honoree currently ranks 11th among all NAIA players with an average of 10.7 assists per set. Last week she eclipsed 3,000 assists for her collegiate career. Kavanaugh has been named GPAC setter of the week three times this season and four times in her career.

In the rankings
For the first time since the preseason poll in 2001, the Concordia volleyball team was ranked in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll. Announced Tuesday, Sept. 22, the Bulldogs were ranked No. 18 in the nation after defeating three top 25 ranked teams this season. On Tuesday, Oct. 6, the Bulldogs improved to No. 17. The Bulldogs then went on to defeat No. 2 Midland University in five sets, helping boost themselves to No. 15 in the Oct. 20 poll.

As a team in the GPAC, the Bulldogs rank second in kills per set (13.5), total kills (1,354) and total assists (1,220), third in hitting percentage (.237), assists per set (12.2), service aces per set (1.7) and total service aces (172) and fifth in total digs (1,485).

Nationally, the squad ranks 16th in kills per set (13.54), 22nd in assists per set (12.2), 23rd in hitting percentage (0.237) and 38th in total kills (1,354).

Individual rankings in the GPAC
Annie Friesen: blocks per set, ninth (.90); total blocks, tied for fifth (88)

Jocelyn Garcia: service aces per set, second (0.5); total service aces, second (47); digs per set, eighth (4.3); total digs, sixth (432)

Alayna Kavanaugh: assists per set, second (10.7); total assists, second (1,060)

Claire White: service aces per set, tied for fifth (0.4); total service aces, tied for seventh (34)

National individual rankings
Jocelyn Garcia: total service aces, 30th (47); service aces per set, 48th (.47)

Alayna Kavanaugh: assists per set, 11th (10.71); total assists, 18th (1,060)

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 5-2 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, No. 11 Northwestern, 3-2 and No. 2 Midland on the road. The losses to ranked teams this season were to No. 4 Midland University, 0-3 and No. 21 Hastings College, 0-3.

“We watched a lot of video on them and they’re a much improved team. You come up to their place on a Friday night – senior night – and their digging balls and flying around the court. We knew this was going to be a tough match. We’re really happy with what we did tonight.”

-Head Coach Scott Mattera on the win over Dakota Wesleyan University

Scouting the (RV) Doane College Tigers
The Tigers of Doane College hold an 18-10 (8-5 GPAC) record going into Wednesday’s match. Earlier this season, the Bulldogs defeated the Tigers in straight sets, handing Doane its first conference loss of the season. The Tigers have held their opponents to a .160 hitting percentage while owning a .211 percentage for themselves. Doane is ranked second in the GPAC in service aces per set (1.8) and in total service aces (181). The Tigers are led by head coach Gwen Egbert who is in her third season at Doane College. Egbert is assisted by Ryan Gray and Hannah Vadakin.

Scouting the No. 6 Dordt College Defenders
The Defenders of Dordt College are 20-4 (11-2 GPAC) on the season. Northwestern and Hastings have given the Defenders their two conference losses of the season. Dordt had an impressive week in October when they took down the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country, Viterbo (3-1) and Midland (3-2) on Oct. 13 and 17, respectively. The Defenders are ranked second in hitting percentage (.246) and third in kills per set (13.5), total blocks (210) and blocks per set (2.4) in the GPAC. The Defenders are led by head coach Chad Hanson who is in his fifth year at Dordt College. Hanson is assisted by Brent Zomer, Kristin Brouwer and Rylee Morris.

Up next for the Bulldogs
The No. 15 Bulldog volleyball team will compete in one last regular season match at Nebraska Wesleyan University on Wednesday, Nov. 4. The tilt is slated for 7:30 p.m. in Lincoln, Neb. On Saturday, Nov. 7 the GPAC tournament will begin and continue through Saturday, Nov. 14 when the championship game will be played. Details about game times will be announced as they become available. GPAC standings through Monday, Oct. 26 are listed below.

Team                            GPAC   Overall
(6) Dordt                       11-2      20-4
(15) Concordia              11-2      23-5
(12) Northwestern          11-2      23-5
(21) Hastings                 11-2      20-6
(10) Midland                  10-3      23-3
(RV) Doane                   8-5        18-10
Briar Cliff                      6-7        14-10
Morningside                  3-10      8-17
College of Saint Mary    2-11      11-14
Dakota Wesleyan          2-11      11-16
Mount Marty                  2-11      7-20
Nebraska Wesleyan       1-12      7-18