No. 17 Concordia advances to GPAC Championship for first time

By on Nov. 11, 2015 in Volleyball

No. 17 Concordia advances to GPAC Championship for first time

SEWARD, Neb. – The No. 17 Concordia women’s volleyball team is heading to the GPAC Championship match after defeating College of Saint Mary Wednesday night, 3-1 (21-25, 25-16, 25-16, 28-26). The conference final will take place at No. 8 Midland on Saturday, Nov. 14 with first serve set for 3 p.m. This will be the first time that the Bulldogs will appear in the GPAC Championship round.

The Bulldogs improve to 26-7 on the season and need one more win to tie for the fifth most wins in program history. The College of Saint Mary Flames fall to 13-17 on their first year in the GPAC.

Head coach Scott Mattera said, “That wasn’t pretty, again we just came out tight. We talked about it and we identified it but it was still just tight. We knew Saint Mary was going to do that, that’s how they beat Dordt. Their coach is doing an incredible job and those girls played their hearts out.”

In the first set, the Bulldogs committed just under half of their total attacking errors and hit just .093 in the frame. The set was tied eight different times but saw multiple runs by the Flames. CSM went on an 8-3 run to take a 19-14 lead. The Bulldogs came back to score three in a row later in the set to give the Flames’ three chances to take the set. The Flames killed it to end the first set, 25-21.

Said senior Claire White, “A lot of times we come out tight. I don’t know if it’s mentally preparing for the first set is kind of hard, you don’t know what you’re body is going to do or what they’re going to do that night. After the first set you kind of get a better feel and realize you have to win three sets to win the whole thing. The first set doesn’t mean anything so we tried to come out with a fresh start and work hard.”

The second frame saw a big defensive effort from the Bulldogs, holding the Flames to a -.103 hitting percentage. Concordia hit just under three times better in the second set with a percentage of .276. Mattera’s squad hit just three attack errors in 31 attempts in the second set to give them a 25-16 win.

The Bulldogs improved their hitting percentage again in the third set to. 279 with four errors in 43 attempts. Concordia never trailed in the frame, leading by as much as nine. Three out of the final four points in the set were kills from three different Bulldogs. CUNE took the third set again, 25-16.

The fourth and longest set was in the Bulldogs favor, 28-26. There were 16 ties throughout the set with the largest Concordia lead at four. CUNE had five chances to take the set, but the Flames battled back from a 21-24 deficit to make the Bulldogs fight for it. The ‘Dogs hit a match high .313 in the final frame with 20 kills. A kill from Tiegen Skains and an attack error from the Flames sealed the victory for the Bulldogs.

“How great were we in those points?” Mattera noted on the last set. “Yeah, we could kick ourselves for letting them get back in there when we had a couple of match points. If you look at every point that we scored after it was even, those were all big kills. I can’t say enough about the way we competed down the stretch.”

Concordia’s defensive game showed up big, putting up six blocks and 82 digs, holding the Flames to a .075 hitting percentage. The Bulldogs hit .230 over the four sets and recorded 60 kills. Each team registered five service aces while.

White tallied 15 kills and 23 digs. The senior hit .235 on the night and dished out one assist.

“I’m just playing hard,” White said. “It’s post season, if you lose you’re done. I’m a senior and I definitely want to go out with no regrets. I’ve been playing every game like it’s my last and I want to keep doing that consistently.”

Paige Getz led the Bulldogs with 16 kills and just four errors in 50 attempts. She hit .240 in the semifinal match. Alayna Kavanaugh set up 46 kills and recorded four kills herself. The junior also recorded one service ace. Libero Jocelyn Garcia dug up 22 Flames’ attacks and served up two aces. Annie Friesen added nine kills and three blocks to her line while Taylor workman put up seven kills.

“It was a good game, we played hard, White added. “College of Saint Mary always plays good defense…we knew it was going to be a battle and that we would have to push through those long points, but a lot of those fell in our favor and it really helped us.”

The No. 17 Bulldogs will travel to No. 8 Midland University for the GPAC Championship match on Saturday, Nov. 14. The tilt is slated for 3 p.m. from Fremont, Neb.

Said Mattera, “It isn’t over yet, we have a long way to go.”