Kavanaugh racks up career high assist total in five-set road loss

By on Oct. 2, 2014 in Volleyball

Kavanaugh racks up career high assist total in five-set road loss

OMAHA, Neb. – Last season the Concordia University volleyball team made quick work of College of Saint Mary, winning in straight sets in Seward. This year’s meeting proved much more treacherous for the Bulldogs, who fell to the host Flames in five sets, 25-18, 16-25, 27-25, 20-25, 19-21, in Omaha on Thursday night.

The second-straight road loss dropped head coach Scott Mattera’s Bulldogs to 12-7 overall.

“It certainly wasn’t our best match,” Mattera said. “We got beat by a team that played fantastic. It wasn’t that we weren’t prepared. We played really well in the first set and kind of got lulled to sleep. Saint Mary stepped up and we didn’t. We had 36 (attack) errors, which is outrageous. I’m not sure if we got tired or what.”

The fifth and deciding set saw Concordia take a 7-5 lead. The Flames later led 14-12, forcing a Concordia timeout. The Bulldogs came back with the next two points, resulting in a seesaw finish. The Flames ultimately won on a match point that was not without controversy.

“Game five was an example of great volleyball,” Mattera said. “As a coach, you hate to see it end that way. We felt like we should not have let it come down to that.”

The Bulldogs sparkled in the first set, hitting .355, to come out on top, 25-18. Unsurprisingly, sophomore setter Alayna Kavanaugh impressively spread the ball around. She piled up a career high 63 assists. Fellow sophomore Paige Getz led the team with 16 kills while Mariah Schamp (15 kills) and Annie Friesen (career high 15 kills) followed close behind.

But a Flames squad guided by Alexis Anderson (match high 19 kills) outplayed the Bulldogs after the first set. White-hot College of Saint Mary won for the 13th time in its last 14 matches.

“Honestly, everyone did a lot of good and bad for us tonight,” Mattera said. “We were just up and down.”

College of Saint Mary, a member of the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference, went 17-19 last season but entered Thursday night’s tilt at 12-3 overall in 2014. The Flames had already played two GPAC opponents this season, dropping four-set decisions to both Briar Cliff and Midland.

“Saint Mary is legit,” Mattera said. “They’ve beaten some good teams. But this is one that hurts a bit. We have higher expectations for who we can be.”

On the night, the Flames hit .207 compared to Concordia’s .176 clip and also had a 14-8 advantage in blocks. College of Saint Mary got 17 kills and 10 digs from Mallory Babic.

The Bulldogs jump back into GPAC play on Saturday as they host Dakota Wesleyan (5-11, 0-6 GPAC) as part of homecoming Saturday. First serve is set for 4:30 p.m. from Walz Arena. Concordia will attempt to extend its streak of 10-consecutive home victories. Included in that streak was a four-set win over Dakota Wesleyan on Nov. 2, 2013.