Spirited effort falls short versus No. 2 Hastings

By Jacob Knabel on Nov. 3, 2016 in Volleyball

SEWARD, Neb. – The recent run of hot hitting carried over to the first set of Wednesday’s tussle with GPAC frontrunner and second-ranked Hastings on Wednesday night. Riding a three-match win streak, the Bulldogs hit .355 in the opening set before the visiting Broncos responded and earned a 16-25, 25-14, 27-25, 25-19 win inside Walz Arena.

The match carried significant weight for Hastings (23-2, 14-1 GPAC), which remains one game up on second-place Midland in the race for the conference regular-season title. Meanwhile, fifth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad stands at 14-17 overall and 5-9 in the GPAC. Concordia still has hopes of rising as high as the No. 6 seed in the GPAC tournament.

“We had our shots. We had swings for it. That’s why they’re No. 2 in the country,” Mattera said.

“We’re at a point where we’re just playing for each other.”

The match turned after Hastings rallied to eke out a white knuckler of a third set. After senior Paige Getz thundered down one of her 19 kills on the night, the Bulldogs held a 22-19 advantage in the third. That’s where the Broncos showed championship mettle on a night that looked as though it might not go their way. They also got some help when three-straight Concordia errors ended the set.

Playing in her final home match as a Bulldog, Getz did her best to lift her side to an upset. Concordia dominated the opening set against a stunned Hastings team. During the opening set, Getz floored a team best five kills. Walz was rocking when Taylor Workman point down set point with an ace.

But the balanced Broncos retorted with double digit kills from four different players. They outhit the Bulldogs, .286 to .211.

Named NAIA National Setter of the Week on Tuesday, Alayna Kavanaugh dished out 45 assists on Wednesday. Concordia had to make up for the absence of freshman outside hitter Alex La Plant. Mikayla Higgins saw increased playing time and notched eight kills. Tiegen Skains also had eight kills. Defensively, Jocelyn Garcia totaled 19 digs.

The regular season will conclude this weekend with a pair of GPAC road trips. The Bulldogs will be at Mount Marty (7-22, 0-15 GPAC) on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. first serve before playing at Morningside (18-12, 7-8 GPAC) for a 3 p.m. start time on Saturday. Concordia will also be on the road against an opponent to be determined for the GPAC tournament quarterfinals on Tuesday, Nov. 8.