White-hot Bulldogs smother Flames

By on Oct. 21, 2015 in Volleyball

White-hot Bulldogs smother Flames

SEWARD, Neb. – There were no signs of a hangover after last week’s victory over previously unbeaten Midland. On Wednesday the 15th-ranked Concordia University volleyball team smoldered in the opening set, hitting .441 on the way to trouncing visiting College of Saint Mary, 25-11, 25-20, 25-15, inside Walz Arena.

Fourth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad took care of business for the 25th time in its last 29 home matches. The Bulldogs improved to 21-5 overall, marking a new high-water mark for wins in a season during Mattera’s tenure. Concordia is now 9-2 in conference play.

“I’m really, really happy with that effort,” Mattera said. “That’s a team that has given us fits so many times. They’re scrappy. They make plays and they get stuff up that most teams don’t get up against us.

“First and third (sets) I’m very happy with.”

Now in seventh place on the program’s all-time kills list, senior Claire White burned College of Saint Mary (10-14, 1-11 GPAC) with a match high 16 kills on 32 attacks. She pasted five first-set kills and then came through with a booming strike when the Flames threatened to eat away at Concordia’s control of the match in the second game. White crushed the CSM upset hopes with another powerful swing for set point in the second.

Fittingly, White also hammered down match point to complete 11th straight-sets victory of the year. With the Flames focused on stopping the Bulldog duo of Annie Friesen and Taylor Workman in the middle, White had a field day.

“We talked about the middles holding the block and that really helped open up the outside for me,” White said.

Concordia put the contest away with a 10-2 splurge in the third set, breaking what had been a 9-9 tie. A Katie Peterson ace during the run forced a Flames timeout, but the visitors failed to make a serious threat. During the fifth set, White put down four more kills and Workman and Paige Getz added three apiece.

For the evening, Concordia outhit College of Saint Mary, .320 to .122. Sophomore Jocelyn Garcia came up with a match high 21 digs in the back row to key the defensive effort for the Bulldogs, who limited College of Saint Mary to only 27 kills. On the other hand, Concordia put away 48 points via kill – one third of that total came from White alone.

“You saw it open up and look what Claire did,” Mattera said. “She was hitting on an open net half the night. She was strong. She hit good shots and also brought the heat when it was time to bring the heat.”

Coming off a special performance in the win at Midland, Workman added nine kills on 16 attempts. Getz and Tiegen Skains chipped in eight kills apiece and Annie Friesen had six. Junior Alayna Kavanaugh set up all but four of the team’s 48 kills. In addition, five different Bulldogs combined for eight aces, including two each for Kendra Dinkel, Kavanaugh and Libby Zagel.

College of Saint Mary, led by 15 kills from Mallory Babic, provided the most resistance in the second set when it fought back from a seven-point deficit and led 17-15. But White and the Bulldogs went on a 10-3 spurt to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

The Bulldogs continue a busy four-day stretch with a trip to South Dakota for a match apiece on Friday and Saturday. Up next is Friday’s 7:30 p.m. contest at Dakota Wesleyan (11-14, 2-9 GPAC). The Bulldogs will then play Mount Marty (7-16, 2-10 GPAC) at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.