SEWARD, Neb. – The No. 20 Concordia volleyball team will close out its regular season at Nebraska Wesleyan University on Wednesday, Nov. 4. The two teams have met earlier this season when the Bulldogs defeated the Prairie Wolves in straight sets.
No. 20 Concordia University (23-7, 11-4 GPAC) at Nebraska Wesleyan University (9-18, 2-13 GPAC)
Wednesday, Nov. 4 | 7:30 p.m. CT
Site: Snyder Arena (2,350)
Webcast: Stretch Internet
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Last time out
The Bulldogs’ quest for their first GPAC title since 2000 took a blow on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Visiting Doane ensured its second meeting with the 16th-ranked Concordia University volleyball team would be different. The Tigers sizzled in the opening set and played a significantly cleaner match than its opposition on the way to a 25-19, 25-22, 18-25, 25-14, win inside Walz Arena.
Senior Claire White grabbed her 1,000th career kill in a gritted out battle with Dordt College Saturday, Oct. 31. The No. 8 Defenders edged the No. 16 Bulldogs, 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-23) on Senior Night inside Walz Arena.
White reaches milestone
Senior Claire White reached 1,000 career kills on Senior Night last Saturday. The kill came in the third set against No. 8 Dordt College. This season the Exeter, Neb. native has 271 kills so far. In the match against Saint Xavier early this season, the senior hit a season high 20 kills. Her season high in kills was during the 2014 season with 375.
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. After a tough week in GPAC play, the Bulldogs dropped to 20 after losses to Doane and Dordt.
As a team in the GPAC, the Bulldogs rank second in total kills (1,440) and total assists (1,299), third in hitting percentage (.230), kills per set (13.5), service aces per set (1.7) and total service aces (182) and fourth in assists per set (12.1).
Nationally, the squad ranks 17th in kills per set (13.46), 26th in assists per set (12.14), 27th in hitting percentage (.23) and 39th in total kills (1.440).
Individual rankings in the GPAC
Annie Friesen: blocks per set, eighth (.90); total blocks, sixth (93)
Jocelyn Garcia: service aces per set, second (0.5); total service aces, second (49); digs per set, eighth (4.4); total digs, sixth (465)
Alayna Kavanaugh: assists per set, second (10.7); total assists, second (1,136)
Claire White: service aces per set, seventh (0.4); total service aces, seventh (37)
National individual rankings
Jocelyn Garcia: total service aces, 32nd (49); service aces per set, 47th (.46)
Alayna Kavanaugh: assists per set, 12th (10.72); total assists, 16th (1,136)
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 5-3 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, No. 21 Hastings College, 0-3 and No. 8 Dordt, 0-3.
“That’s really good volleyball, if anyone wants to see what NAIA volleyball is all about at the top level, that’s all that was. Great job by them, great job by us, they came out on top.”
-Head Coach Scott Mattera on the loss from No. 8 Dordt
Scouting the Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves
The Prairie Wolves of Nebraska Wesleyan University own a 9-18, 3-12 GPAC record coming into Wednesday night’s match. The Wolves are on a three game win streak after defeating Dakota Wesleyan 3-1, College of Saint Mary 3-1 and Mount Marty 3-0. The win against DWU snapped an eight game losing streak. NWU visited Concordia on Oct. 10 when the Bulldogs prevailed in straight sets. The Prairie Wolves rank 28th in the nation and second in the GPAC in digs per set (17.0). Individually, Kennedy Hegert ranks 16th in digs per set (5.55). Nebraska Wesleyan has been hitting .138 on the season and serves up 1.53 aces per set. The Prairie Wolves are led by head coach Rayna Cain who is in her fourth year at Nebraska Wesleyan. Cain is assisted by Theresa Naumann and Angie Boldt.
Up next for the Bulldogs
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, Nov. 2 are listed below.
Team GPAC Overall
7 Dordt 13-2 22-4
10 Midland 12-3 25-3
17 Northwestern 12-3 24-6
25 Hastings 12-3 21-7
20 Concordia 11-4 23-7
RV Doane 9-6 19-11
Briar Cliff 8-7 16-10
College of Saint Mary 3-12 12-15
Nebraska Wesleyan 3-12 9-18
Morningside 3-12 8-19
Dakota Wesleyan 2-13 11-19
Mount Marty 2-13 7-22