SEWARD, Neb. – A breakthrough regular season for the Concordia University volleyball team means head coach Scott Mattera’s squad has earned the right to host fifth-seeded Hastings in the GPAC quarterfinals. As the No. 4 seed, the Bulldogs placed among the league’s top-four teams for the first time since a second-place finish in 2001. Saturday’s first serve is set for 7:30 p.m. inside Walz Arena.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Mattera said. “We’ve got several performance goals. One of our volleyball performance goals is to be in that top four every year. Hosting first round was a big goal coming into this year as well as beating some teams we haven’t beaten for a long time so that other programs see us differently and we see ourselves differently.”
The match can be seen live via the Concordia Sports Network. Frank Greene will provide the play-by-play.
Concordia and Hastings met twice during the regular season. In both cases, the home team came out on top. Behind a spirited Walz crowd and a big fifth-set performance from junior Claire White, the Bulldogs defeated the then No. 18 Broncos, 22-25, 25-21, 25-20, 19-25, 15-12, on Sept. 24. Hastings returned the favor on Oct. 15 when it won it straight sets, 25-20, 26-24, 25-19, by outhitting Concordia, .252 to .107.
Head coach Matt Buttermore, a former Concordia assistant coach, has seen his squad get hot down the stretch. The Broncos enter postseason play with a three-match winning streak that has included victories over No. 9 Midland, Mount Marty and Doane. Hastings defeated Midland twice this season and also holds two other victories over ranked opponents.
White and the Bulldogs had won four-consecutive conference matches before running into No. 12 Midland on Wednesday night. A win could have lifted Concordia to the No. 3 seed, but it hit only .091 in the four-set loss.
The Bulldogs, now 9-2 at home this season, have wins over three ranked opponents: No. 14 Oklahoma Baptist, No. 18 Hastings and No. 21 Dordt. The only losses inside Walz Arena have come against top-25 foes: No. 15 (NCAA DIII) Nebraska Wesleyan and 12th-ranked Midland. The Broncos own a solid 7-4 record in true road matches.
Hitting %: .213 (4th in GPAC)
Kills/set: 13.0 (2nd)
Aces/set: 1.8 (2nd)
Blocks/set: 1.7 (9th)
Digs/set: 13.1 (10th)
Kills: Claire White – 357 (3.2/game)
Assists: Alayna Kavanaugh – 1,132 (10.29/game)
Digs: Carli Smith – 391 (3.6/game)
Blocks: Mariah Schamp – 76 (0.7/game)
Aces: Claire White – 50 (0.5/game)
Hitting %: Mariah Schamp – .302
Hitting %: .165 (9th)
Kills/set: 12.0 (8th)
Aces/set: 1.5 (6th)
Blocks/set: 2.4 (1st)
Digs/set: 14.5 (8th)
Kills: Katie Zoucha – 384 (3.4/game)
Assists: Katie Placke – 1,129 (9.7/game)
Digs: Jill Bax – 498 (4.3/game)
Blocks: Katie Placke – 89 (0.8/game)
Aces: Lindy Matthews – 49 (0.4/game)
Hitting %: Katie Placke – .251