FREMONT, Neb. – The early-season gauntlet failed to ease up on the 20th-ranked Concordia University volleyball team, which opened up conference play on Wednesday night in Fremont, Neb. Sixth-ranked Midland remained unbeaten by handing the Bulldogs a 25-21, 25-21, 25-19 defeat.
Fifth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s program had hoped to right the ship and duplicate the upset it pulled at Midland during the 2015 regular season. Instead, Concordia dropped its sixth-straight match and slumped to 1-6 overall.
The Bulldogs struggled all night to contain Priscilla O’Dowd, who registered 15 kills on just 25 attacks. In addition, the Warriors’ Krystina Koepke hammered seven kills on nine swings. O’Dowd and Koepke were the ringleaders, facilitated by setter Jessica Peters, behind an attack that hit .327 for the match. Five Midland players booked five or more kills.
On the other side of the net, Concordia hit .215. Middle Taylor Workman had the most success among Bulldog hitters, collecting six kills on 11 attempts. Alayna Kavanaugh piled up 26 assists. Defensively, junior Jocelyn Garcia led the way with 13 digs. Despite the six-point gap in the third set, the Bulldogs hit .357 while putting away 13 points on kills.
Concordia appeared as though it may snap its stretch of consecutive set losses in the second game when it held an 18-14 lead following a Workman kill. Midland then responded with eight-straight points – six by kill – to take control and a 22-18 lead.
Each of Concordia’s last three defeats have come against teams ranked inside the top 15 of the NAIA preseason coaches’ poll. Two of those losses came during a four-match weekend stay in Butte, Mont., at the Big Sky Challenge.
The Bulldogs will be back at Walz Arena for another four-match weekend. Concordia will play twice on Friday and twice more on Saturday as part of the Bulldog Bash (schedule below), which features six volleyball programs (including two NCAA Division II institutions).
Friday, Sept. 2
York vs. Lindenwood Belleville, 11 a.m.
Concordia vs. Bemidji State, 1 p.m.
Minot State vs. Lindenwood Belleville, 4 p.m.
Bemidji State vs. York, 6 p.m.
Concordia vs. Minot State, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 3
Concordia vs. Lindenwood Belleville, 9 a.m.
Bemidji State vs. Bethany (Kan.), 11 a.m.
York vs. Minot State, 1 p.m.
Bemidji State vs. Lindenwood Belleville, 4 p.m.
Minot State vs. Bethany, 6 p.m.
Concordia vs. York, 8 p.m.