Nordaker, Opfer repeat as First Team All-GPAC selections; six Bulldogs honored

By Jacob Knabel on Nov. 15, 2022 in Volleyball

2022 All-GPAC Volleyball Team

First Team: Gabi Nordaker, Camryn Opfer
Second Team: Bree Burtwistle, Carly Rodaway
Honorable Mention: Rebecca Gebhardt, Ashley Keck (Freshman of the Year)

SEWARD, Neb. – The national tournament bound Concordia University Volleyball squad has landed half a dozen Bulldogs on the 2022 All-GPAC honor roll announced on Tuesday (Nov. 15). For the second year in a row, both Gabi Nordaker and Camryn Opfer have been recognized on the first team. Meanwhile, Bree Burtwistle and Carly Rodaway reeled in second team awards and Rebecca Gebhardt and Ashley Keck received honorable mention status. Keck was also honored as the GPAC Freshman of the Year.

The six honorees have helped Head Coach Ben Boldt’s squad reach the national tournament with a 23-5 overall record and No. 4 NAIA national ranking. Concordia placed third in the GPAC regular season standings and finished as the conference tournament runner up.

The Millard West High School alum Nordaker has earned All-GPAC honors in each of her three collegiate seasons, moving from the second team in 2020 to the first team in both 2021 and 2022. Through 28 matches this season, the star middle leads the team with 296 kills (3.05 per set) and 101 blocks (1.04 per set) while hitting .350. Nordaker put together one of her finest matches of the season just recently when she collected 16 kills and 13 blocks and hit .593 in the GPAC semifinal win over Midland. In 82 career collegiate matches (297 sets), Nordaker has totaled 861 kills and 329 blocks.

A key figure in four-straight national tournament appearances, Opfer has been named an all-conference award winner for the fourth time. She garnered second team honors in both 2019 and 2020 and then first team accolades in 2021 and 2022. The Seward High School product has recorded 279 kills (2.94 per set), 340 digs (3.58 per set), 42 blocks and 17 aces in 28 matches this season. Opfer has reached double figures in kills 16 times in 2022. Early in the campaign, Opfer eclipsed 1,000 career kills. Heading into the national tournament, Opfer has achieved career totals of 1,227 kills, 1,277 digs, 168 blocks and 61 aces. She ranks fifth in program history for career kills.

This was a breakout season for Burtwistle, who twice earned NAIA National Setter of the Week honors this fall. The Stanton, Neb., native and Stanton High School alum will enter the national tournament having accumulated 1,083 assists (11.16 per set) in addition to 254 digs, 34 blocks and 25 aces in 28 matches. Burtwistle ranks fourth nationally in terms of assists per set and quarterbacks an attack that ranks No. 2 in the NAIA in hitting percentage (.264). Burtwistle’s high for assists in one match this season was 55 in the four-set win over Dakota State University.

A Lincoln Pius X High School graduate, Rodaway has taken her game to a new level in 2022. On the year, Rodaway has totaled 246 kills (2.54 per set) while hitting .248 from the right side. She’s also added 63 blocks (0.65 per set) and 68 digs in 28 matches. Rodaway enjoyed a stretch in October when she reached double figures in kills in five-straight matches. She notched 15 kills and hit .433 in the five-set win over then seventh-ranked Northwestern on Oct. 15. Rodaway was named Honorable Mention All-GPAC in 2021.

In her second year as a libero, Gebhardt has stepped up her game. The Lutheran High School Northeast graduate and Norfolk, Neb., native has paced the team with 445 digs (4.59 per set) while passing serve receive at a 97.0 percent rate. She has also contributed 24 aces and 31 assists in 28 matches. Over two collegiate campaigns, Gebhardt has posted 740 digs and 40 aces.

The arrival of Keck added another weapon on the outside for Concordia’s attack. The Kearney, Neb., native and Kearney Catholic High School alum has racked up 250 kills (2.60 per set), 94 digs and 18 blocks while hitting .221. Keck has reached double figures in kills 10 times this season, including her 19-kill performance in the five-set win at Southern Oregon early in the year. Keck is the first Bulldog to be named the GPAC Freshman of the Year since Opfer took that award in 2019.

The season will continue on Saturday as the Bulldogs will host Florida College at 1 p.m. CT as part of the NAIA National Championship Opening Round. The winner will advance to play at the final site.