Third-set rally highlights fifth-straight victory

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 7, 2016 in Volleyball

ATCHISON, Kan. – The Concordia University volleyball team righted itself last week with four-consecutive home wins, but on Wednesday it sought to prove that it could face adversity on the road and then persevere. Consider it done. The Bulldogs climbed out of a significant hole in the third set and picked up a hard-earned win, 25-22, 23-25, 27-25, 25-17, at Benedictine College (Kan.) in avenging a home loss from 2015.

Led by reigning GPAC defensive player of the week Jocelyn Garcia (31 digs), Concordia held the Ravens to a .145 hitting percentage on the way to its fifth-straight win. Fifth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad evened up at 6-6 overall on the year. But the win didn’t come without resistance.

“It was eerily similar to last year’s match against them,” Mattera said. “They played unbelievably hard and fast. It was frustrating for a while. This match wasn’t about stats. It was about the whole team and individual kids stepping up after they had some struggles. In games three and four, Alex (La Plant) turned a switch on and that was really big for us. You saw Tiegen (Skains) miss a ball and then say give me the next one. You saw over and over, kids step up after making a mistake.”

Miscues played a part in Benedictine rolling out to a 14-7 lead in the third set. Consecutive kills followed from Paige Getz, Skains and La Plant to get Concordia back on track. Still, the Bulldogs did not gain the lead in that set until Skains’ kill made it 23-22. Moments later, even at 25-25, Skains and La Plant offered up a kill apiece – a back-breaker for the Ravens.

Concordia’s attack wore out Benedictine in the fourth set by hitting .344. Fifteen kills were spread out between eight different Bulldogs. La Plant, Emmie Noyd and Skains blasted three kills each while Garcia gave Raven attackers fits with eight fourth-set digs.

It was a return to her home state for Getz, a native of Paola, Kan. She posted 12 kills on 29 swings. Her partner in crime Skains led the team with 14 kills (34 attempts). Noyd (nine kills) and La Plant (eight kills, 16 digs) were also significant contributors for an offense spearheaded by Alayna Kavanaugh (42 assists).

Concordia ended up hitting .218 for the match with 55 kills to Benedictine’s 42. The Ravens a slight blocking advantage of 10-8. A member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference, Benedictine slumped to 4-6 overall. A year ago the Ravens stunned the Bulldogs with a four-set win inside Walz Arena.

The Bulldogs have another hectic weekend ahead with three matches scheduled at the Hastings College Classic. Concordia will play once on Friday and twice on Saturday. Friday’s lone match will take place at 7 p.m. CT versus Missouri Valley College (10-1).