Season ends on home court of defending national champs

By Jacob Knabel on Nov. 4, 2017 in Volleyball

HASTINGS, Neb. – The 2017 campaign has come to an end. It’s one the program hopes it can look back to someday as a season of growing pains that led to bigger and better things. In Saturday’s (Nov. 4) GPAC quarterfinal tilt, the Concordia University volleyball team fell in straight sets, 25-20, 25-17, 25-17, while on the road against third-ranked Hastings, which shared the GPAC regular-season title.

Sixth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad concluded the season with a 9-19 overall record. A young team took its lumps in the face of one of the nation’s most challenging schedules.

“Even though the scores might not look it, we battled like Bulldogs today,” Mattera said. “It was an effort that we can be proud of against a national champion who played lights out. Every point was a battle but they just eventually wore us down with consistency.”

The Broncos hit .414 in the opening set and then .433 in the second set. Sage Meyer dropped 13 kills on 31 swings for the victors who improved to 23-2 overall this season. Concordia did a solid job limiting star Katie Placke. She had eight kills and 20 assists and hit .261.

On the other side of the net, senior Annie Friesen went out with a fine performance that included a team high seven kills on nine attacks. Fellow senior Jocelyn Garcia topped the Bulldogs with 11 digs while freshman Tara Callahan added 22 assists and four kills. Concordia was outhit by Hastings, .351 to .106.

This fall’s squad featured just three seniors who regularly suited up: Friesen, Garcia and Courtney Jurgens. They contributed to a national tournament appearance in 2015. The bulk of the 2017 nucleus was made up of first- and second-year players. The expected offseason growth of a young core including standouts such as Callahan and Emmie Noyd provides hope of a rebound season in 2018.

Said Mattera, “We are going to miss this group of seniors so much, but anyone who saw us knows how bright the future of Bulldog Volleyball is. We are learning how to fight and we can't wait to get into our offseason training.”