Volleyball hosts Doane Friday, aims for season sweep of Tigers

By on Oct. 9, 2014 in Volleyball

Volleyball hosts Doane Friday, aims for season sweep of Tigers

SEWARD, Neb.  Winner of two in a row, the Concordia University volleyball team returns home Friday night (7:30 p.m.) for another in-state clash against a GPAC rival. The red-hot Doane Tigers will serve as the opponent. The Doane will enter play with plenty of confidence coming off of wins over No. 16 Dordt on Oct. 3 and then No. 15 (NCAA DIII) Nebraska Wesleyan on Wednesday.

“This match just became huge,” Bulldog head volleyball coach Scott Mattera said at Tuesday’s booster club gathering. “They beat Dordt. They’re really improving so we have to be ready.”

Concordia has won 11-straight matches played inside Walz Arena. In this season’s first meeting with Doane, the Bulldogs won 25-20, 13-25, 26-24, 25-22 in Crete, marking the first time Concordia had beaten the Tigers since 2007.

Friday, Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m. (JV at 6 p.m.)
Doane (11-12, 4-4) at Concordia (14-7, 5-3)
Site: Seward, Neb.
Arena: Walz Arena
Webcast: Concordia Sports Network
Play-by-play: Frank Greene 

Head Coach: Scott Mattera (41-42, 3rd year)
Kills: Claire White – 247 (3.25/game)
Assists: Alayna Kavanaugh – 790 (10.53/game)
Digs: Carli Smith – 261 (3.48/game)
Blocks: Mariah Schamp – 49 (0.66/game)
Aces: Claire White – 34 (0.45/game) 

Head Coach: Gwen Egbert (27-30, 2nd year)
Kills: Shelbi Mlynczak – 301 (3.38/game)
Assists: Haley Norvell – 465 (5.22/game)
Digs: Julie Els – 363 (4.08/game)
Blocks: Breanna Fye – 59 (0.67/game)
Aces: Haley Norvell – 32 (0.36/game) 

Taking care of business
After suffering back-to-back road losses at the hand of No. 22 Nebraska Wesleyan and College of Saint Mary, the Bulldogs defeated Dakota Wesleyan in four sets (Oct. 4) and York in straight sets on Tuesday. The loss to College of Saint Mary was just the second this season that came against an unranked opponent. Head coach Scott Mattera’s squad is 9-2 when going up against unranked opponents in 2014. In those nine wins, the Bulldogs have taken three in straight sets and the other six in four.

Top 20 NAIA attack
Concordia has maintained one of the NAIA’s top 20 offensive attacks, in terms of kills per game and hitting percentage, throughout this season. The Bulldogs rank 12th nationally with 13.33 kills per game and 19th with a hitting percentage of .233. They bumped the hitting percentage up a couple ticks over the past two matches by posting clips of .333 and .323, respectively, in the wins over Dakota Wesleyan and York.

Home streaking
Concordia’s 11-match home win streak now includes five victories over GPAC opponents (see below). Over those 11 matches, the Bulldogs have dropped just four combined sets.

11-straight home wins
Oct. 8, 2013 – York College, 3-0
Oct. 18, 2013 – Dakota State University, 3-0
Oct. 19, 2013 – Mount Marty, 3-0
Oct. 29, 2013 – College of Saint Mary, 3-0
Nov. 2, 2013 – Dakota Wesleyan, 3-1
Aug. 26, 2014 – Faith Baptist Bible College, 3-0
Sept. 13, 2014 – Peru State College, 3-0
Sept. 13, 2014 – Friends University, 3-0
Sept. 20, 2014 – Mount Marty, 3-0
Sept. 24, 2014 – No. 18 Hastings, 3-2
Oct. 4, 2014 – Dakota Wesleyan, 3-1 

White out
Junior Claire White’s second season as a Bulldog has been even more productive than her first in terms of raw kill numbers. The native of Exeter, Neb., is averaging a career best 3.25 kills per game (sixth in the GPAC) and is on pace to outnumber her 339 kills in 2013. In the win over Dakota Wesleyan, White floored 21 kills to tie a single-match career high. She has reached the 20-kill plateau on five occasions in her career.

Kavanaugh continues impressive production
Last week sophomore setter Alayna Kavanaugh topped a career high by dishing out 63 assists in the loss at College of Saint Mary. Her statistical production is up across the board and her 10.53 assists per game rank as the 13th best average in the NAIA and rate second among GPAC players. The Lincoln native has 790 total assists, putting her on track to blow past the 866 assists she recorded as a freshman. Only five players in program history have eclipsed 1,000 assists in a single season.

Scouting Doane
The Tigers have reversed their fortunes by winning four of their last five matches since falling to seventh-ranked Northwestern on Sept. 19. The only loss during the current hot streak was a four set decision at No. 10 Midland. Despite a below .500 overall mark, Doane has shown an ability to pull the upset, registering wins this season over No. 15 (NCAA DIII) Nebraska Wesleyan, No. 16 Dordt and No. 16 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.). The Tigers needed only three sets to take care of Nebraska Wesleyan behind 15 kills and 15 digs from star Shelbi Mlynczak (36th in the NAIA with 3.38 kills per game). Head coach Gwen Egbert’s squad appears to be hitting its stride at an opportune time. The race for top-four seeding and the right to host in the GPAC tournament remains wide open.