Regular season to conclude at Doane

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 30, 2018 in Volleyball

SEWARD, Neb. – Still alive for a berth in the GPAC tournament, the Concordia University volleyball team is preparing to conclude the regular season at Doane on Wednesday. It will be a rematch of the Sept. 18 meeting that took place inside Walz Arena. Wednesday’s contest will get started at 7:30 p.m. CT from the Haddix Center in Crete, Neb.

The match will be aired live on 104.9 Max Country radio. It can also be streamed via Doane’s YouTube channel.

First-year head coach Ben Boldt’s squad is coming off of one of its best weeks of play within the conference. In their final home match of 2018, the Bulldogs (14-11, 4-11 GPAC) brushed off a defeat in set one and took the final three to topple Morningside on Oct. 24. Three days later Concordia came up one point short of shocking 12th-ranked Midland in Fremont. The Bulldogs went up 2-0 in the match and then led the third set 25-24. Now they try to carry that high level of play into this week.

With her collegiate career winding down, senior Jenna Habegger played with urgency last week. Over the Morningside/Midland outings, Habegger floored a combined 29 kills while hitting .299. The Pawnee City, Neb., native has had her best season as a senior. Her 2018 numbers of 261 kills, 3.07 kills per set and a .232 hitting percentage are all career highs. Boldt also wants to make sure his team doesn’t forget about the duo in the middle: junior Emmie Noyd and freshman Morgan Nibbe, who notched a career high 14 kills in the win over Morningside.

As it appears right now, the GPAC standings are a big cluster after the top five. The next six teams in the standings are all within two games of each other. There are a number of scenarios that could play out, but Concordia knows it has to win in straight sets over Doane in order to have a shot at winning a tiebreaker for one of the last seeds in the eight-team GPAC tournament. Six of the eight bids have been clinched.

This is also a must game for the Tigers (13-15, 5-10 GPAC), who are part of the scramble in the race for the final two spots in the conference tournament. They took a hit this past weekend with a four-set loss at College of Saint Mary. In Doane’s win at Walz in September, it got 20 kills from Alison Kuenle and 18 from Madison VanHousen. The Tigers opened up the campaign ranked 18th nationally in the preseason poll. Gwen Egbert is in her sixth season as head coach.

Conference tournament pairings will be set on Wednesday night after all GPAC matches have gone final. Should the Bulldogs extend their season, they will be on the road on Saturday for the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament.