SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University volleyball team will push the reset button after a regular season that fell short of the lofty standard set by the 2015 group that advanced to the national tournament for the first time in program history. Tuesday’s GPAC quarterfinal matchup in Fremont, Neb., will feature the third meeting of the season between the seventh-seeded Bulldogs (15-18) and second-seeded Midland (24-2), which shared the GPAC regular-season title with Hastings.
Tuesday’s first serve is set for 7:30 p.m. CT from the Wikert Event Center on the Midland University campus.
“We are not hanging our heads at all,” Mattera said after Saturday’s regular-season finale at Morningside. “We are pumped to have a great practice on Monday and go compete with whomever our matchup is with in the first round. We know we can play with anyone and none of us are ready for this to be over.”
Concordia will need to be at its best to finally produce the victory over a ranked opponent that has eluded it throughout this season. The Bulldogs followed a six-match losing streak by winning four of their final contests of the regular season as part of a much needed uptick. After collecting three wins during the week of Oct. 24, Concordia swept GPAC player of the week awards that went to Jocelyn Garcia (defense), Alayna Kavanaugh (setter) and Tiegen Skains (attacker). Kavanuagh was named the national setter of the week.
On the other side of the net, Midland has reason to believe it can go deep into the GPAC and national tournaments. The Warriors are ranked fifth in the national coaches’ poll after holding down the No. 1 spot earlier this season. Middle Priscilla O’Dowd is one of the nation’s most potent attackers. She ranks seventh in the NAIA in hitting percentage (.384). As a team, Midland ranks 14th in hitting percentage (.251) and 16th in kills per game (13.5).
Foremost among Concordia attackers is senior Paige Getz, who has played some of the best volleyball of her career late in the season. Last week she moved up to No. 3 on the program’s all-time kills list and now has 1,323 kills in her four seasons as a Bulldog. Last week Getz hit .324 with 40 kills over three GPAC matches.
Concordia and Midland met in last year’s GPAC tournament championship match which ended with a straight-sets Warrior win. The fourth-seeded Bulldogs had advanced to the final with home wins over Northwestern and College of Saint Mary.
The winner of Tuesday’s match will advance to play in the GPAC semifinals on Thursday (see schedule below).
Tuesday, Nov. 8 (GPAC quarterfinals)
No. 8 Briar Cliff at No. 1 Hastings, 7:30 p.m.
No. 5 Northwestern at No. 4 Doane, 7:30 p.m.
No. 6 Morningside at No. 3 Dordt, 7:30 p.m.
No. 7 Concordia at No. 2 Midland, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 10 (GPAC semifinals)
No. 1/8 winner vs. No. 4/5 winner, 7:30 p.m. (highest seed hosts)
No. 3/6 winner vs. No. 2/7 winner, 7:30 p.m. (highest seed hosts)
Saturday, Nov. 12 (GPAC championship)