UPDATE: On Monday evening, the varsity and junior varsity matches scheduled for Tuesday (Nov. 3) at Hastings were postponed. A makeup date has not yet been determined.
SEWARD, Neb. – The GPAC regular season will conclude on Tuesday for the Concordia University Volleyball team. There have been some hiccups along the way in terms of postponements, but the Bulldogs are about to reach the finish line – for the fall anyway. Head Coach Ben Boldt’s squad is gearing up to play at Hastings on election night. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. CT.
Concordia (12-3, 12-3 GPAC) at Hastings (7-7, 6-6 GPAC)
Tuesday, Nov. 3 | 7:30 p.m. (junior varsity at 6 p.m.)
Lynn Farrell Arena | Hastings, Neb.
Webcast/Stats: Stretch Internet
Radio: 104.9 Max Country (Frank Greene)
Boldt’s crew had the weekend off after concluding a run of four matches in a row at home. During that home stand, Concordia defeated each of its opponents in straight sets – Briar Cliff, Morningside, College of Saint Mary and Doane. The Bulldogs went 8-1 at home in GPAC regular-season play with the only defeat coming at the hands of Northwestern. In last week’s action, Concordia outhit College of Saint Mary, .293 to .060, before Doane narrowly outhit the Bulldogs, .130 to .129, in a match that featured three very closely contested sets. Senior Kara Stark’s 19 combined kills paced the team in those victories.
The pair of wins last week ensured that the Bulldogs will be no lower than the No. 3 seed in the GPAC tournament that will take place during the spring 2021 semester (dates yet to be announced). Mathematically, Concordia still has a shot at winning/sharing the conference regular-season title, but it will require significant help from the opponents of Jamestown (11-0 GPAC) and Northwestern (11-2 GPAC). With 12 GPAC wins in hand, the Bulldogs have equaled a program single-season record for conference wins (tying the 2015 team that went 12-4). The program has reached the 10-win GPAC mark four times since the conference moved to a 16-match regular season in 2002.
Concordia continues to get the best of its foes in the areas of service and passing. Nationally, the Bulldogs rank sixth in total service aces (108) and 16th in aces per set (13.22). On the other hand, its opponents have totaled only 43 aces (compared to 100 errors). Those advantages have made a difference in instances when the attack has been a bit off. However, Concordia’s attack remains potent with the help of Tara Callahan (11.04 assists/set). Five Bulldogs have floored more than 115 kills: Gabi Nordaker (135), Kara Stark (133), Arleigh Costello (126), Camryn Opfer (122) and Kalee Wiltfong (116).
Hastings has never been beaten at home by the Bulldogs during the GPAC era. The Broncos are 3-2 this season at Lynn Farrell Arena. It’s been an up and down season for Hastings, which had a three-match win streak interrupted over the weekend when it fell in five sets at Briar Cliff. Head Coach Alexandra Allard boasts one of the nation’s top blocking squads, currently ranking fifth in the NAIA with an average of 2.75 blocks per set. Three Broncos have totaled 60 or more blocks: Amani Monroe (69), Sydney Mullin (65) and Lucy Skoch (62).
With a win at Hastings, Concordia would complete the fall at 8-0 against GPAC Nebraska foes. The Bulldogs have earned regular-season sweeps over College of Saint Mary, Doane and Midland.
In all likelihood, the Bulldogs will play a select number of nonconference matches leading up to the GPAC tournament in the spring. Additions to the 2021 spring schedule will be announced when appropriate. Dates for the NAIA national tournament are set for April 17, 2021, (opening round) and April 27 – May 1, 2021, (final site in Sioux City, Iowa).