SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University volleyball program’s annual pink night is set for Wednesday night when No. 15 Doane visits Walz Arena for a rivalry clash. The varsity match at 7:30 p.m. CT will follow the junior varsity contest.
Pink-Out T-shirts can be purchased at the student life office until Wednesday at 5 p.m. Shirts will also be sold on the concourse before and during the match. Part of the proceeds from the shirt sales will go to Pink Bandanas, a non-profit that serves Nebraska families affected by breast cancer.
Fifth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad hopes to put behind its recent struggles against nationally-ranked opponents. The Bulldogs have dropped eight of their last nine outings with seven of those losses coming at the hands of teams ranked inside the top 20. At times Concordia has flashed the type of powerful play that helped it reach the national tournament in 2015. Since Sept. 28, the Bulldogs have managed to take one set each from No. 1 Midland, No. 2 Westmont College (Calif.) and No. 4 Hastings.
From an individual perspective, senior outside hitter Paige Getz has been a constant for the Bulldogs. She is on track for her fourth-straight season of more than 300 kills. The native of Paola, Kan., has risen to No. 4 on the program’s list of all-time kills leaders. Her 1,237 career kills trail only Becky Ernstmeyer (1,740), Katie Werner (1,600) and Rachel Kirchner (1,315). Kirchner (now Rachel Miller) is a member of Mattera’s staff and was previously Concordia’s head coach.
Last week freshman Alex La Plant became the third Bulldog to eclipse 200 kills on the year. Getz is the team leader with 281 kills. Tiegen Skains (223 kills) has a shot to reach 300 kills in a season for the first time in her career. Her 764 career kills are second only to Getz among current Bulldogs. Taylor Workman needs 25 more kills to get to 200 for the second year in a row.
The Bulldogs nearly took down Doane in Crete in this season’s first meeting, which took place on Sept. 21. Concordia took the first two sets before the Tigers got on a roll behind Kaitlin Bradley (25 kills on 51 swings). Doane won in five sets despite 15 kills from Getz and 13 from Skains.
The Tigers (19-5, 8-3 GPAC) are aiming for their first national tournament berth since 2012. Bradley averages 3.5 kills per set (46th in the nation) for a squad that ranks 28th in the NAIA in hitting percentage (.229).
Over the past nine outings, Concordia has dropped matches against teams that were ranked Nos. 1, 2, 4, 9, 11, 17 and 20 at the date of play. Of the Bulldogs’ 15 defeats, 11 have come against top 25 foes. Seven of those 11 were ranked inside the top 10. Heading into this week’s action, MasseyRatings.com lists Concordia’s schedule as the eighth toughest out of 222 NAIA volleyball programs.
The Bulldogs (11-15, 3-7 GPAC) have a rare weekend off before returning to action on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at College of Saint Mary (6-12, 2-8 GPAC). First serve is set for 7 p.m. CT.
This Wednesday’s match will be carried by the Concordia Sports Network and by 104.9 Max Country.