CRETE, Neb. – In a period of less than 11 months, the Concordia University volleyball team has twice emerged victorious from the Haddix Center in Crete, Neb. The Bulldogs absorbed an early push from host Doane and stormed to a straight-sets decision, 25-22, 25-17, 25-12, on Wednesday (Sept. 25) night. Emmie Noyd powered down 12 kills and totaled seven blocks in another stellar outing.
Head coach Ben Boldt’s squad has passed the test in two of its first three GPAC road matches. Concordia is now 14-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
“Doane came out firing,” Boldt said. “They were swinging hard. There was an adjustment period for us, but I never really felt like it was out of control. We settled down and we got back into it.
“It was our serve I think that got them out of their rhythm. There was a series where we missed four serves in a row. I told them that we have to stay aggressive and the serves that were in bounds were getting them out of system. We got on a run on a couple of serves and it snowballed after that.”
It certainly appeared at times during the first set that the Bulldogs would have to dig out of a 1-0 deficit. Doane built a 17-10 advantage in the first set before Concordia got humming. The fans in navy and white came to life late in that set when a 4-0 scoring run on four-straight Bulldog kills put Concordia in the lead, 22-21. Noyd and Tara Callahan combined on the block that polished off the first set.
The Tigers (11-7, 2-3 GPAC) were stifled the rest of the way. When Noyd wasn’t denying Doane attacks at the net, Marissa Hoerman (match high 20 digs) and company cleaned up in the back row. The Tigers hit .000 in the second set, then -.024 in the third and .044 for the match. Star Allison Kuenle had the most success for Doane. She managed 10 kills (five errors) on 29 attacks.
“One of our keys to success tonight was own the net,” Boldt said. “That comes down to blocking and attacking. Doane has a good block. When you pull it down, they’re going to block you. We have to get our feet to the ball when we attack and put ourselves in good positions to attack. We started doing a much better job of that (as the match went on).”
In her return to the lineup, junior Kara Stark pummeled five of her 10 kills in the third set. Three of them came consecutively early in the sequence to help crush the spirits of Doane. Freshman Kalee Wiltfong chipped in seven kills while setter Tara Callahan notched 28 assists and 11 digs.
Every win on the road within the GPAC is a good one. Doane (11-7, 2-3 GPAC) had beaten Morningside in straight sets in its only other home contest of 2019. The Tigers received votes in the most recent NAIA national poll (released on Sept. 11).
It will have been two weeks since the Bulldogs have played at home by the time the first serve flies inside Walz Arena at 4:30 p.m. CT on Saturday. Concordia will aim for a regular season sweep of No. 25 College of Saint Mary (15-7, 1-4 GPAC), a team it beat in Omaha in four sets on Sept. 11.