BELLEVUE, Neb. - Scott Mattera netted his first victory as head volleyball coach of the Bulldogs on Friday as Concordia salvaged a split on day one of the Bellevue Labor Day Classic in Bellevue, Neb. The Bulldogs began the 2012 campaign Friday with a loss to Baker (Kan.), but rebounded by trumping Benedictine (Kan.) to cap the evening.
“It's great to see the work rewarded with a nice win,” Mattera said. “We've only been together for two weeks and we are way ahead of where we should be system wise. I couldn't be happier with our play today as at times it displayed how good we can be. We've got a long ways to go but the future looks fantastic.”
Senior outside hitter Amanda Kisker hit only .148 in the loss to Baker, but she came on strong with a sizzling .382 attack percentage and a match-high 16 kills in the night cap. Kisker was complimented by the great work of setters Kayla James (21 assists) and Jami Nekoliczak (15 assists). The trio fueled the 25-14, 19-25, 25-19, 25-23 win.
Concordia set the tone in the victory over the Ravens by scorching the ball to the tune of a .414 hitting percentage in the opening set. The Bulldogs cooled off after the first game, but continued to control play and held off hard-charging Benedictine in the deciding fourth set. For the match, Concordia earned a .196-.144 advantage on the attack.
In the team’s first match of the day, the Bulldogs played well despite losing in straight sets, 25-21, 25-16, 25-20, to a Baker team that received votes in the NAIA preseason coaches’ poll. Concordia dictated much of the action with many points put away on Bulldog kills or errors.
Sophomore Amanda Abbott paced Concordia with 13 kills behind a solid .300 hitting percentage, while sophomore defensive specialist Carli Smith notched a match-high 21 digs. However, Mattera and company could not overcome 31 total errors and were out-hit .255-.211.
“We did a lot of very good things in this match,” Mattera said. “We are not OK with losing matches, but we certainly were happy with several aspects of our play. We looked like a team playing its first match of the year in a totally new system against a team playing its fifth match of the year, which is exactly what this matchup was.”
The Wildcats of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, who entered play at 2-2 overall, got seven kills each from Danielle French and Savannah Smith.
The Bulldogs continue action in Bellevue on Saturday when they take on a pair of top-20 teams. They begin the day with No. 13 Grand View (Iowa) at 1:30 p.m. before finishing up with host and No. 19 Bellevue at 5:30 p.m.