Senior class celebrates senior day in style

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 30, 2016 in Volleyball

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University volleyball senior class celebrated senior day by picking up the 76th and 77th wins of their four-year careers on Saturday. After mopping the floor with Central Christian College (Kan.) in a straight-sets match that began in the morning, the Bulldogs outlasted Dakota Wesleyan in a five-set offensive showcase to cap the action inside Walz Arena.

Senior pin hitters Paige Getz and Tiegen Skains combined for 71 kills on the day and fellow senior Alayna Kavanaugh dished out a career best 76 assists in the Dakota Wesleyan match alone. That firepower helped fifth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad improve to 14-16 overall and to 5-8 in the GPAC.

“That’s a nice win over a really good team,” Mattera said following the Dakota Wesleyan match. “You absolutely see how they took Midland to five and they took Northwestern to five.”

The Bulldogs put away 82 total kills and hit .310 while edging Dakota Wesleyan (17-13, 3-11 GPAC). This match was all about offense. Skains hit .400 and floored a career high 26 kills. Getz attacked at a .328 clip and hammered a career best 24 kills. In the middle, Taylor Workman was nearly unstoppable, going for 16 kills on 28 swings.

The seniors just weren’t willing to lose on this day. Fittingly, the Bulldogs celebrated match point after Getz, serving for the first time all night, dropped in an ace that scraped the net and dropped in.

“I didn’t want to just shank it out on that one,” said Getz, who pointed out that it was the first ace of her career. Added Skains in a postgame exchange involving all four of the star seniors, “She got it over – but barely.”

The night cap had all the drama and entertainment anyone could ask for. Concordia nearly put together an improbable rally to win the third set after it trailed 24-19. But Dakota Wesleyan fended the Bulldogs off and won it, 33-31. Both teams hit better than .340 in that set. Even in defeat, Tigers Lauren Tadlock (29 kills) and Rebecca Frick (16 kills) posted gaudy numbers themselves.

Concordia persevered, dominated the fourth set (25-16) and set the stage for a tension-filled fifth. In that fifth game, the Bulldogs built a 10-6 lead only to watch Dakota Wesleyan come back to grab a 14-13 advantage. Enter Skains with her 26th kill followed by a Tiger attack error. Getz then surfaced with the match-clinching ace that no one expected.

“The biggest thing is that we had a lot of fun,” Kavanaugh said. “That’s the most fun we’ve had all year. We were all smiling and loose.”

The opening match of the day didn’t take long. Concordia took out Central Christian, 25-14, 25-15, 25-15. Skains starred by hitting .467 on her way to a match high 13 kills. With seven kills in the contest, Getz passed 300 for the season, something she’s accomplished every year as a Bulldog. Alex La Plant and Emmie Noyd also added eight kills apiece. The Bulldogs outhit Central Christian, .386 to .000.

After sitting out the Central Christian (8-22) match, Jocelyn Garcia piled up 32 digs versus Dakota Wesleyan to lead the defensive effort. Noyd also chipped in six total blocks.

The Bulldogs will close their home regular-season schedule on Wednesday when No. 2 Hastings (22-2, 13-1 GPAC) pays a visit to Walz Arena for a 7:30 p.m. first serve. The Broncos currently sit a game up on No. 3 Midland in the race for the GPAC regular-season title.