Volleyball to celebrate seniors Wednesday, travel to Midland Saturday

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 22, 2018 in Volleyball

SEWARD, Neb. – The final chance to watch the 2018 Concordia University volleyball team inside Walz Arena is coming up on Wednesday when the Bulldogs host Morningside. First-year head coach Ben Boldt’s squad also has in-state rivals Midland and Doane left on the regular-season slate. Concordia will use Wednesday night to honor its senior class.

This week
Wednesday, Oct. 24 vs. Morningside (12-11, 6-7), 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 24 at No. 12 Midland (19-4, 11-2), 3 p.m.

Coverage of Wednesday’s match will be provided by the Concordia Sports Network and 104.9 Max Country radio. For a live stream on Saturday, check out Midland’s Stretch Internet portal.

The senior class is a small one in terms of varsity performers. Seniors Kelsey Baarck and Jenna Habegger are among the Bulldogs who will be recognized on Wednesday. Concordia will also honor three senior team managers: Kesley Higgins, Madison Horne and Annie Schmidt. Habegger has been a varsity contributor each of her four seasons. Last week she went over 500 career kills (501). The native of Pawnee City, Neb., has totaled a career high 232 kills this season. Meanwhile, Baarck is in her second season playing for the Bulldogs after transferring from Mott Community College.

Concordia faces an uphill battle in regards to its GPAC tournament chances. The top eight teams in the final standings qualify for the conference’s postseason, which begins with the quarterfinal round on Saturday, Nov. 3. As it stands, the Bulldogs (13-10, 3-10 GPAC) are tied with College of Saint Mary and Dakota Wesleyan for ninth place in the GPAC. Concordia is two wins behind both seventh-place Doane (5-8 GPAC) and eighth-place Briar Cliff (5-9 GPAC).

Junior middle blocker Emmie Noyd and company will attempt to shake off three straight-sets conference defeats in a row. Noyd experienced the most success in last week’s loss at College of Saint Mary. Noyd floored 10 kills while hitting .563. Her career high of 23 kills also came against the Flames. Among all players nationally, Noyd ranks 30th in blocks per game (1.11) and 49th in hitting percentage (.301). As a team, the Bulldogs rank 21st nationally in blocks per game (2.20).

Morningside and Concordia met in Sioux City, Iowa, on Sept. 13 with the result being a win in four sets for the Mustangs. Despite four GPAC defeats in a row, Morningside still stands a strong chance of qualifying for the GPAC tournament. Its most recent conference win was a five-set upset of then No. 15 Northwestern on Oct. 2. The team’s leading attacker is Krista Zenk, who has piled up 275 kills.

Midland is a near lock for another bid to the national tournament and could realistically finish as high as second in the GPAC. The Warriors just defeated Morningside in four sets last week, bouncing back from a straight-sets loss to Northwestern on Oct. 13. Head coach Paul Giesselmann’s squad boasts one of the nation’s top players in middle blocker Priscilla O’Dowd, who ranks No. 1 in the NAIA in hitting percentage (.456). Setter Jessica Peters is the quarterback for an offense that is hitting .231 (19th in the nation).

The regular season will conclude on Wednesday, Oct. 31 with a match at Doane (13-13, 5-8 GPAC).