SEWARD, Neb. – After a weekend inside the friendly confines of Walz Arena, the Concordia University volleyball team will play four times away from home this week. First up is a trip to Atchison, Kan., for a date with Benedictine College on Wednesday. The Bulldogs will also get another crack at a nationally-ranked opponent on Saturday as part of the Hastings College Classic (this week’s schedule listed at bottom).
Head coach Scott Mattera’s squad has regained its mojo thanks to a 4-0 run through the Bulldog Bash. It was a much-needed hot streak that followed a stretch of six-straight losses. At the Bulldog Bash, Concordia hit .320 and defeated three of four opponents in straight sets, including a pair of NCAA Division II foes. Setter Alayna Kavanaugh sprayed the ball around, registering 146 assists over 13 sets at the weekend event.
Senior outside hitter Paige Getz was one of the great beneficiaries of Kavanaugh’s precision passing. Getz continues to climb Concordia’s list of all-time kills leaders. She now stands sixth on the list with 1,064 kills, a total that surpasses former teammate Claire White. Getz pounded more than 300 kills in each of her first three seasons with the Bulldogs.
Defensively, junior Jocelyn Garcia has taken her game to new heights as a rangy defensive specialist. On Tuesday the GPAC named her the conference’s defensive player of the week. She’s currently averaging career bests for digs per set (4.85) and service receptions per set (4.71). She’s beginning to close in on 1,000 career digs. She sits at 912 through 262 sets played in her collegiate career.
Wednesday’s contest at Benedictine is a rematch from 2015 when the Ravens stunned Concordia in Seward with a four-set victory. The Bulldogs fell despite 15 kills from middle Annie Friesen. The weekend slate is highlighted by the Saturday afternoon showdown with No. 8 MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.). Concordia is 0-3 so far this season against ranked opponents, but went 6-4 in 2015 against top-25 foes.
Friesen’s status for the remainder of the season is still uncertain. She went down with a knee injury in Concordia’s straight-sets loss to Peru State College on Aug. 23. Emmie Noyd and Taylor Workman have held down the middle in her absence.
In the top-25 poll released on Tuesday by the NAIA, Concordia, previously ranked 20th, dropped from the rankings. It snapped a run of 11-straight national poll appearances for the Bulldogs, who peaked at No. 15 during a 2015 campaign that saw them earn a berth in the national tournament for the first time in program history.
This week’s schedule
^Wed., Sept. 7 at Benedictine College (4-5), 7:30 p.m.
*Fri., Sept. 9 vs. Missouri Valley College (9-1), 7 p.m.
*Sat., Sept. 10 vs. University of Montana Western (4-4), 12 p.m.
*Sat., Sept. 10 vs. (8) MidAmerica Nazarene University (10-1), 4 p.m.
*Friday and Saturday matches will take place at Hastings College
^Wednesday’s match is the lone outing this week that will be carried live by 104.9 Max Country radio. Frank Greene will call the action.