SEWARD, Neb. – The No. 18 Concordia University volleyball team will be hosting No.4 Midland University Wednesday, Sept. 23. The match marks the first time since 2000 that two ranked teams will play in Walz Arena. The redneck themed match will begin at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Sept. 26 the Bulldogs will travel to No. 11 Northwestern College for another GPAC tilt beginning at 3 p.m.
No. 4 Midland University (15-0, 2-0 GPAC) at No. 18 Concordia University (14-3, 3-0 GPAC)
Wednesday, Sept. 23 | 7:30 p.m. CT (JV at 6 p.m.)
Site: Walz Arena (1,400)
Webcast: Concordia Sports Network
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Live Stats: Dakstats
No. 18 Concordia University (11-3, 1-0 GPAC) at No. 11 Northwestern College
Saturday, Sept. 26 | 3 p.m. CT (JV at 1:30 p.m.)
Site: Bultman Center (2,200)
Webcast: Stretch Internet
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Last time out
Fresh off its third win of the season over a top 25 opponent, the Concordia University volleyball team sizzled on Saturday afternoon, winning a pair of matches on the College of Saint Mary campus in Omaha. The Bulldogs began the day with a 25-13, 21-25, 25-21, 25-19 win over the host Flames and capped it by throttling Waldorf College (Iowa), 25-16, 25-8, 25-9. Fourth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad bumped its winning streak to three and improved to 14-3 overall, including a perfect 3-0 conference mark.
In the rankings
For the first time since the preseason poll in 2001, the Concordia volleyball team has been ranked in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll. Announced Tuesday, Sept. 22, the Bulldogs are ranked No. 18 in the nation after defeating three top 25 ranked teams this season. The Bulldogs improved to No. 4 in this week’s official GPAC ratings after defeating No. 24 Doane and College of Saint Mary last week. As a team, the Bulldogs lead the GPAC and nation in kills per set at 14.23. In the GPAC, CUNE leads in hitting percentage (.262) and assists per set (13). Nationally, the squad also ranks fifth in assists per game (12.98), sixth in total assists (779) and total kills (854) and 11th in hitting percentage (.262).
Kavanaugh and Garcia tabbed with weekly GPAC honors
Following a 3-0 week for Concordia University volleyball, sophomore Jocelyn Garcia and junior Alayna Kavanaugh earned weekly recognition from the GPAC. On Tuesday the league named Garcia the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Defensive Player of the Week and Kavanaugh the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Setter of the Week.
This marks the second time that Kavanaugh has received a weekly honor from the GPAC during her three seasons as a Bulldog. The Lincoln Christian High School product is the quarterback of a Concordia squad that now ranks No. 1 in the NAIA in kills per game (14.23). Last week Kavanaugh amassed 122 assists (12.2 per set) while adding 16 digs and nine kills. She dished out 37 assists in the straight-sets win at No. 24 Doane on Sept. 16. Kavanaugh, who has 2,723 career assists, currently ranks seventh nationally in assists per game (11.13).
In the back row, Garcia continued her stellar play last week by averaging 4.3 digs per set. She dug up 17 attacks in the signature win at Doane and then 18 more in another GPAC road win over College of Saint Mary on Sept. 19. In last week’s three victories, Garcia and company limited their opponents to hitting percentages of .035, .100 and .077, respectively. The native of Brighton, Colo., ranks ninth among GPAC players with an average of 4.0 digs per set.
Individual rankings in the GPAC
Annie Friesen: hitting percentage, first (.434); total kills, tied for 10th (164); total blocks, eighth (49)
Jocelyn Garcia: service aces per set, second (0.5); total service aces, second d (31); digs per set, ninth (4.0); total digs, fourth (242)
Paige Getz: kills per set, ninth (3.1); total kills, sixth (187)
Alayna Kavanaugh: assists per set, second (11.1); total assists, second (668)
Tiegen Skains: hitting percentage, tied for ninth (.263)
Claire White: service aces per set, fourth (0.4); total service aces, tied for fourth (24)
National individual rankings
Annie Friesen: hitting percentage, first (.434)
Jocelyn Garcia: total service aces, 17th (31)
Alayna Kavanaugh: total assists, sixth (668); assisters per set, seventh (11.13)
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 3-0 vs ranked opponents after defeating No. 19 Hastings at home, 3-0, No. 20 Montana Tech University, 3-2 in Hastings and No. 24 Doane, 3-0 on the road. This upcoming week, Concordia will face two ranked opponents, No. 4 Midland University and No. 11 Northwestern College.
“The match against CSM was really up and down. We had some serve receive and connection inconsistency and they dug a lot of balls against us. We almost won too easily in the first and we let up a bit. You can't do that against a high momentum team like CSM.”
-Head Coach Scott Mattera
Scouting No. 4 Midland University
The Warriors of Midland University are currently 15-0 (2-0 GPAC) on the 2015 season. The unblemished record of the Warriors has been earned through six top 25 contests and three receiving votes teams tilts. Midland leads the GPAC in blocks per set (2.7) and ranks fifth nationally in the same category. MU also ranks ninth in total blocks in the nation (153.5). Priscilla O’Dowd leads the Warriors in kills with 202 off 400 attacks, equaling a hitting percentage of .383 which ranks 10th in the nation. Setter Jessica Peters has averaged 10.38 assists per set. The Warriors are led by head coach Paul Giesselmann who is in sixth season at Midland University. Giesselmann is assisted by Nicole Venditte, Rod Richardson, Nate Mongan and Megan Farley.
Scouting No. 11 Northwestern College
The Red Raiders of Northwestern College are bringing a record of 15-3 (3-0 GPAC) into Saturday’s match. With all three losses to top 25 ranked teams, the Raiders are second behind Concordia in team hitting percentage (.255) and total kills (852). NW is ranked seventh national in total kills and ninth in total assists (761). The Raiders have out killed their opponents 852-633 this season with Karlie Schut leading the way with 257 kills this year. As a team, the squad is serving 91.5 percent. The Red Raiders are led by head coach Kyle Van Den Bosch who is in his 11th year at Northwestern College. Van Den Bosch is assisted by Wayne Westenberg and Kaitlin Floerchinger.
Up next for the Bulldogs
The Concordia Bulldogs stay home for the next three matches, hosting Central Christian College (10-5, 1-0 AII) Tuesday, Sept. 29 for the last non-conference tilt of the season at 7 p.m. On Friday, Oct. 2 Morningside College (4-9, 0-3 GPAC) will pay a visit to Walz Arena with the first serve scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Briar Cliff University (8-4, 1-2 GPAC) will travel to Seward on Saturday, Oct. 3 for a 3 p.m. start time. All matches will have a webcast available on the Concordia Sports Network.