2016 Season ends in GPAC quarterfinals

By Jacob Knabel on Nov. 9, 2016 in Volleyball

FREMONT, Neb. – The Concordia University volleyball team outlasted No. 5 Midland in the second set, but its hopes of a postseason run were put to rest by the likes of Warrior stars Priscilla O’Dowd and Krystina Koepke. The second set was merely a speed bump for co-GPAC regular season champion Midland, which turned away the Bulldogs, 25-17, 27-29, 25-15, 25-20, in Tuesday’s GPAC quarterfinal match in Fremont.

A season that began with a No. 20 national ranking ended with a 15-19 overall mark for fifth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad, which struggled all year to get over the hump against top-notch competition like it saw on Tuesday night.

“We played really well defensively tonight, which has been up and down this season,” Mattera said. “We’ve given up some pretty large hitting percentages to some really good teams, but we really played a lot more disciplined and together, especially in the back row. I was really proud of that.”

Concordia’s defensive work was airtight in a second set that saw it hold powerfully built Midland hit .077. Senior Taylor Workman put an end to that set by pulverizing one of her team high nine kills. The second set was also one characterized by mistakes on both sides – 11 attack errors by Concordia and 10 by Midland.

But the Warriors heated back up, hitting .412 in the third set and .324 in the fourth while moving on to the semifinals. O’Dowd crushed 15 kills on only 27 swings. Koepke put down her 10 kills on 16 attempts. On the outside KC Heimann nailed 14 kills.

Their efforts were superior on the attack when compared to Concordia. The Bulldogs hit .133 for the match. Playing in the final matches of their careers, Paige Getz and Tiegen Skains both hit .033 on Tuesday. Getz finished her career with 1,331 career kills, good for third on the program’s all-time list. Fellow senior Alayna Kavanaugh dished out 35 assists while putting the finishing touches on another impressive four-year run.

While an accomplished senior class has seen its time run out, Mattera sees a talented group in the fold for 2017. Many underclassmen played significant roles in 2016, either by design or necessity.

“You can go down the list with a bunch of kids. Even though we’re losing so much, we still have a lot coming back,” Mattera said. “The bottom line is we have to come together and reaffirm who we are on and off the court and take that into the spring.”