Nordaker continues hot hitting, No. 8 Concordia extends GPAC win streak

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 21, 2022 in Volleyball

YANKTON, S.D. – A clean first set for Mount Marty made the Bulldogs sweat it out early on before the eighth-ranked Concordia University Volleyball team eventually took control of the match. Star middle Gabi Nordaker stayed air fryer hot on Wednesday (Sept. 21) in helping power the 25-23, 25-13, 25-16, win in Yankton, S.D., over the Lancers. Eight different Concordia players registered at least one kill for the evening.

Head Coach Ben Boldt’s squad has won three-straight conference matches while moving to 13-1 overall (4-1 GPAC). The Bulldogs cruised through the second and third sets on Wednesday, but they were forced to dig deep in the first.

“Our resolve through adversity – through a tough first set – I was happy with how our team responded,” Boldt said. “They stayed steady and didn’t get overwhelmed by anything. That’s what we’ll take away from this one. Any GPAC road win is a good win.”

In a match it was expected to win, Concordia still had to match the energy of the improved Lancers (6-7, 1-4 GPAC), who own a GPAC triumph over Doane. Mount Marty provides a different type of scout with a system unique from other GPAC opponents. The Lancers came out firing, hitting .289 (15 kills and two errors) in the opening set. It was 23-23 when Nordaker and Camryn Opfer when back-to-back with kills to end it.

The Bulldogs adjusted and did what they do best – come at you with power. Concordia outhit Mount Marty, .314 to .162, for the match behind 13 kills and .632 hitting from Nordaker. Opfer and Ashley Keck backed her up with nine kills apiece. Setter Bree Burtwistle racked up 39 assists (and 13 digs) while having a hand in the majority of the team’s 46 kills. Meanwhile, Rebecca Gebhardt chipped in with 12 digs and three aces and Carly Rodaway contributed to four of the team’s five total blocks.

Mount Marty got a team high nine kills apiece from Alexis Kirkman and Alex Ruth. Said Boldt of the Lancers, “I love how their team plays. They play hard. They were forcing us into some uncomfortable situations with their block and their defense and got us frustrated. They played very low error ball in that first set. It really forced us to earn our points.”

Earn it they did. A large lead in the third set paved the way for Boldt to make liberal substitutions. Concordia went to a package it calls “the force,” involving setter Bree Green and outside hitter Shelby Stark. Several Bulldogs took advantage of their playing time as Morgan Nibbe put away three kills and Stark and Mollie Grosshans were credited with a kill apiece. Green tallied three assists, including one on a Nibbe kill for match point.

The week on the road will continue on Saturday with a trip to Sioux Center, Iowa, and a matchup with No. 14 Dordt (8-3, 2-1 GPAC) inside De Witt Gymnasium. First serve of the varsity match is slated for 5 p.m. CT. The Defenders defeated the Bulldogs in five sets in last season’s lone meeting, which took place in Seward.